Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Alternative Christmas Party

It is generally agreed by everyone at work that the office christmas party tomorrow night is going to be shit. The venue is too small, and has recently changed hands. The new owners are refurbishing it, and it is closed until February. They wanted to cancel our booking, but we had nowhere else to go so they agreed to open for one night only. The planned sit down meal has turned into a buffet, and it's not looking promising. I haven't been inspired to find something to wear (other than the new shoes), and I didn't fancy the annual battle to get home at the end.
I sometimes like socialising with work people. I went to the ballet with some of them at the weekend, and when I'm in the mood I can have a good time. There are also some who it's painful to spend time with, but when you're in the mood you can put up with that.
I'm not in the mood. Quite possibly the last thing I want to do at the moment is stand around in a rubbish venue, nibbling on rubbish food, drinking cheap alcohol, and pretending I'm having a good time. Grandma died on Monday night, and although it wasn't exactly unexpected, it still hasn't put me in the mood for faking festive spirit. The only spirits I'd be interested in would be neat, in a futile attempt to make myself more sociable.
At one point earlier this month I wanted christmas to be cancelled altogether. There are various christmassy things that set me off (I was glad it was dark at the ballet, as the opening scenes of the Nutcracker reminded me of family christmases when I was little, and when she was the best grandma in the world), and the sight of other people being happy, or at least pretending to be, irritated me. I'm coming round a little. There are some parts of christmas that will be more important than ever this year, like spending time with family and letting them know how much I love them. It's just the commercialisation and forced socialising and merriment I'm struggling with a bit. Christmas isn't about how much money you spend on a present, how much you drink, or whether your coffee comes in a red cup.
There are people I would happily go for a night out with, I'd enjoy myself, and it would be fun. I went to running club last night and was glad of the opportunity for a bit of fresh air and a chat (I might be a comfort eater, but I've also now discovered comfort running to balance it out. After I do a santa dash for a local hospice on Sunday I'm planning a run along the canal, partly because the canal is somewhere I feel close to her). I would happily go to the christmas lights run if it didn't clash with the funeral (and I might go to the drinks afterwards if I get back to Leeds in time). But the people I want to spend time with aren't the people I work with, and I have better uses of my time than going to the party.
It might sound a bit sad of me, but I'm planning the ultimate weepy night in instead. This morning I bought myself a stack of dvds, which include some guaranteed tear jerkers. I'm going to get the lounge set up complete with duvet, chocolate, candles, tissues, mulled wine, takeaway menus and warm socks. I might even get the wood burning stove ready to light. I'm going to sit, watch dvds, relax and get everything out of my system. I was considering inviting some of the running girls round to keep me company, then decided that I'd be better off just being on my own so I don't need to apologise if I want a good cry, or feel like I should be keeping their drinks topped up if I don't want to move.
I've been rushing around so much for the past three or four months that I want to have a night that's just about doing nothing. Not heading into town to try to find something to wear, dashing home to get changed, then trudging back into town for something I won't enjoy. Not thinking about the chores which have gone undone. Not even cooking (although I'm sure that whatever I order, I'll end up whingeing that I could have made something cheaper, better and healthier). Yes, there may be blatant comfort eating, but for one night only anything goes (and in any event, I'm scaling back my plans realising that I probably wouldn't actually be able to get through everything I planned to buy! Even if I do, compared to what I'd probably eat and drink at the party, it's probably not a huge amount worse).
And I'm re-naming it. Instead of thinking that I'm missing the christmas party, and feeling a teeny bit guilty for it, I'm starting to think of my night in as my alternative christmas (pity) party. Of all the things I could do on Friday, it is probably the one that will give me most pleasure, or at least comfort, so it's my night, my party. Who cares if no-one else is invited?


Blogger t__m__i said...

One of the wisest things that anyone ever said to me was, "it's your life, nobody else's, and you won't get it again" - or words to that effect (it *was* over 20 years ago). Have a good party and I hope that you have many happy memories of your Gran.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Rev said...

Your party idea is SPLENDID. I think it sounds loads better than being at a work party, and is a good chance for you to honor your feelings about your grandmother. I'm all for the idea of a night in like this in general, and you have even more reason for it. No, um, have a nice night in then.

12:45 AM  
Blogger JessiferSeabs said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I lost my grandmother 2 years ago around this time, and I felt much the same way.

I think your "party" idea is a great one... it is a great moment when you realize what you need ot take care of yourself properly. I was supposed to be out on a date tonight, but cancelled, realizing that a night home alone on the sofa, with the TV, the dog, some peppermint tea and fuzzy slippers is exactly what the doctor ordered on this cold, snowy night...

Hang in there,

2:12 AM  
Blogger Zandile said...

Rock on, I could use one of those parties right about now. We should probably all work harder on making a date with ourselves periodically. Anyway, here's hoping your alternative party brings you some peace.

7:25 PM  
Blogger K Harley & Queen B said...

It's your party, you can cry if you want to! :)

And it's probably the best thing in the world you could do for yourself... yay you!

11:06 PM  

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