It's getting to be that time of year, where every part of your life has a celebration. To me, it seems like everybody ends up going to the same kind of parties over and over again. They're always fun, and festive, and very, VERY different.

1.  The Extended Holiday Party.

It's out somewhere in the county. You probably have to take a lettered highway to get there, and every year you wonder if you're going the right way. It's usually in a barn or lofted building. You will see more pickup trucks here than almost any other event. There are dozens of people there, and you probably know about five that all sit with you at your table. Everyone brings a side dish, and it's a pot luck of hit or miss stuff. Someone's "Famous" meatballs are in a slow cooker. Someone else brings venison jerky. You can have chips and queso and try not to get the cheese in the coleslaw. There's Miller Lights and smoke everywhere, and the kids run around hollerin when they're not trying to lift a cookie off the dessert table.

2.  The Office Party. 

It's usually in a restaurant, and pretty segregated. You're pretty much only hanging out with the people who you normally talk with at work. There's a gift exchange, and in that exchange there is always a soap and lotion set. The boss gives a "we had a great 2017, let's all work hard for a great 2018" speech that goes on about ten minutes too long.  Larry has one beer too many and says we should do this more often, and everyone ignores him. There's always a surprise or two as to who is going to actually attend, and who ditches everyone.  It's a good time, but the party's over once the gift exchange is done.

3.  The Church Party. 

It's usually in the basement or side building. Miss Anna talks to you for about twenty minutes about someone she's convinced is your brother, but you've never met him. The kids try to sneak off to go to the Horace Mann playground, and some of them succeed for a few minutes. Everyone eats the catering that somebody ordered from Kehde's and pretended was homemade. They didn't outright lie about it, but they didn't correct you if someone asks if it's a family recipe.  The kool aid is a little on the sweet side, but nobody minds. There's usually an awkward encounter with the preacher, when they ask why you're not in church more often. You're busy.  That's why. Busy.

4.  The Friends Get Drunk Party. 

This one is off the chain. Usually held somewhere like Fitter's Fifth Street. Everyone orders pizza and nachos, and drinks beer while talking about their stupid exes. If people are feeling festive, they wear some ugly sweaters. There's always the guy who can't stay late but has some chicken wings anyway. There's also your friend who doesn't drink much and ends up ferschnickety after one Bud Light. The friend that is a professional drinker gets a little too into the PDA with his DD girlfriend. At some point someone buys shots, and if you take it at the wrong time Robert will smack your empty shot glass out of your hand and scold you. As long as you keep Tom off of Snapchat and Facebook live, you'll be good. You don't want a repeat of last time.

5.  The Extra Curricular Party.

You volunteer somewhere, with a charity group or the PTA or Neighborhood Watch. They get together for a couple of appetizers at El Espolon. You never really seem to talk to anybody but the two people you're sat across from, usually the same people you tend to sit by in the meetings. You see everyone that comes in and you wave, but you don't end up mingling much. There's a quick collection for a donation to a family in need, and everybody puts in a few bucks. At some point you see there are a few people here you don't know at all. Half the place is either talking too loudly, or not talking loudly enough because someone hasn't turned up their hearing aid. The invite was put out for a big wig in the organization, but they didn't come. Nobody's surprised. There's a little bit of gossip thrown around about so and so who didn't do much on the whatsit committee, and it gets shut down pretty quickly by Pete (who had about three Long Island Iced Teas).  Everyone is a little relieved, because it's the freggin holidays, SHARON.

What would you add to the Holiday Party list?

Holidayingly yours,

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