Tag Archives: parties

New Year’s Sweaters I Have Known

Christmas sweaters, both ugly and pretty, have come and gone for this year. But for me, sweaters are inevitably evocative of New Year’s. Let me explain.

Once upon a time, I worked in an office that didn’t go in for Christmas sweaters. The telemarketing department wore Christmas sweatshirts, mostly handcrafted. My department, fortunately, left the exercise to them. I’m not at my best with hot glue, sequins, and ribbon. Not to say I end up wearing the appliques, but let’s just say they adhere to something other than the sweatshirt.

Later, I did work in an office where Christmas sweaters were a Thing. (Ugly sweaters were not a Thing. Yet.) Everyone, it seemed had a closet- or drawer-full of festive holiday wear.

I had exactly one handed-down-from-a-friend Christmas vest. That was fine, as far as it went, but it didn’t go very far. Everyone else had complete wardrobes of Christmas sweaters, perhaps not one for each of the 12 Days of Christmas, but enough for the entire week before. I had a hard enough time fitting in with the work crowd, so I decided I would play the sweater game too.

Being frugal (that is to say cheap), I saw no point in paying good money for a sweater or multiple sweaters that I could wear only once a year. I had a dilemma. The answer soon came to me. I would shop on New Year’s Day, when the Christmas sweaters had all been put on the clearance sale table. I scooped up about five, including one I particularly liked. Instead of being red or green, it was dark blue, a night scene with Santa and his sleigh flying over rooftops and across the moon. I tucked them away in a drawer, anticipating how I would wow the office the next year.

Inevitably, and given my luck, I was let go before the next Christmas season. I went freelance, which meant that my usual work clothes were pajamas. My beautiful sweaters languished in a drawer and so did my snowflake and wrapped presents earrings (I picked up some of those too at the sales). One year I tried to be festive and dressed up for Christmas, but no one at the Chinese restaurant was impressed.

I did have one other adventure involving New Year’s sweaters. One year, some of my friends and I were determined to crash a fancy party in a local hotel. I did have a black sweater with gold and silver beading around the yoke. (I forget why. Maybe my friend, she of the Christmas vest, gave it to me.) At any rate, it was simple enough to buy some shiny gold fabric and ask my mother to sew it into a simple skirt. My friend had a similar outfit, and the guy accompanying us rented a tux, which I thought was overkill. But it was fun to stand next to him in my white faux fur coat and shed all over him.

We had it planned just right. We wandered into the hotel ballroom precisely at 11:30 p.m., when no one else was expected to arrive, and mingled. (We knew one of the band members and decided to claim we were with him if challenged.) Then we indulged in the open bar (this was many years ago, when I sometimes indulged in dodgy behavior) and I spent part of the evening necking with one of the waiters. (He was trying to convince me to take a hotel room. I declined.)

Afterward, we went to a nearby diner in our finery and sobered up on coffee and waffles. We tried to hold down our obnoxious glee, but I suspect we failed. 

This year for Christmas, my husband presented me with an assortment of sweaters – the kind meant to keep one warm. Not a sequin or reindeer in sight. He did also give me a pair of Christmas earrings (cats in stockings), which I made sure to wear when we went to the store to pick up a bottle of champagne for our New Year’s celebration. Maybe next year I can get him to dress up as a waiter.

I Hate Party Games!

I hate sales “parties” – those occasions when friends and acquaintances invite you over and try to sell you candles or kitchen supplies or lingerie. They shouldn’t be called parties at all. It offends my sense of proper definitions.

(I dodge these on principle anyway. At one place I worked, there was a lot of “You went to Norma’s make-up party but you didn’t come to my bath products party.” If I didn’t go to any of them, everybody could get pissed off at me equally.)

I hate shower “parties” too – weddings, impending parenthood and the like. They cause me massive anxiety, especially when they involve gift giving.

I did go to one wedding shower that I enjoyed. It consisted of cake, drinks, presents, and conversation. We had fun instead of being forced to simulate fun.

Most all, I hate party games. They are boring. They are dopey. Often they are embarrassing. Once I started refusing to play the games, people stopped inviting me to those sorts of parties, which was fine with me.

It’s impossible to escape party games entirely, of course, if you work for a company that goes in for mandatory collegial jollity. I work freelance at home now. I have my own little parties for me, my husband, and the cats.

One party game I encountered at an unavoidable party simply astonished me. The hostess had hidden toothpicks around the house in various unobtrusive locations – lurking on window ledges, nestled in lamp bases, perched on baseboards – and the guests were challenged to find all of them in a certain amount of time.

She is the only person I know who ever had guests play that particular game. She’s the only person I know who would even think of playing that game. The mind boggles.

Even if I gave parties, I would never have stupid games. Even if I did have games, I would never have the toothpick game.That game will never be played in my house. (I bet you can guess why.)

P.S. I also hate that thing they do at business meetings where everyone has to introduce themselves and say some personally significant tidbit such as what they like about themselves. I always swear the next time that happens, I’m going to say, “I really love my peaches and I’m capable of shaking my own tree.” Just to listen to the resounding silence afterward.