Attending holiday parties can be a perfunctory, listless chore. There are so many to attend, they all blend together into a mess of tinsel and trimming, and they all inevitably fall within a 10-day span that inevitably becomes a spree of punches and nogs, bad sweaters and worse conversations, and way too many holiday cookies. Even the holly-jolliest of fellows can't withstand this marathon of seasonal cheer.
But there's a solution. Instead of going along with the holiday party routine of happiness and joy, I recommend going the opposite route. You should comport yourself like a proper villain at all of your holiday parties.
What exactly does this mean, to comport yourself like a proper villain? Well, we did explain the concept last week, when we went over the right way to wear a scarf. Mostly, it consists of a fairly dark disposition — one unconcerned with larger societal norms, but somehow extremely correct at the same time. As we put it last week, it's the ability and inclination to comport yourself in a way that is both intrinsically wrong and yet deeply, beautifully right.
To apply this to holiday parties is quite the operation, because there are various types. But let's begin with perhaps the most important one: the obligatory office holiday party.
Your Office Holiday Party
You're getting dressed. It's very important that you wear no Christmastime insignia whatsoever. You know what we're talking about. Pins, ribbons, hats — none of that. And certainly no red or green. No color at all is preferable. Maybe just wear a black trench coat to really get the point across. Black pants, black socks, black shoes.
Upon arrival, it's essential that you extend a curt but not cold greeting to your boss, then respectfully move on. Do not dwell on anything petty that might have happened during the day. You're better than that.
Now we move on to the food. Politely decline the food. Most likely it will not be very good, and scarfing down free canapés — those little styrofoam-like wafers topped with a glob of something that looks like tartare, but certainly isn't — is a decidedly bad look. Dinner, as it were, should be strictly liquid.
You will see your colleagues here as well. For the most part, ignore them. You have your allies in the office, and they will serve as people to converse with here. But that mid-level staffer who holds the door for you as you walk in? You do not need to acknowledge his existence simply for the sake of St. Nick.
If possible, get in and get out. Make an impression and then be off, back to anywhere but your office holiday party. You need to have your presence felt, but you don't, by any means, need to actually be present.
The Holiday House Party
The holiday house party is slightly different. You are there, presumably, because you have been invited by a friend, so you can attend without the overwhelming urge to exit that you felt at your holiday party. Still, it is important to make a quick and lasting impression. This can be achieved by a particularly statuesque date, or a loud sports car that you can pull up in. A Jaguar, say — that should do the trick. And maybe there's a small but expensive token of your appreciation you can bring for the host, then place on display for the other, less considerate guests to see. Is this host someone you can use for a favor at some point in the new year? Bring a smaller, yet somehow more expensive gift. Nice work.
Another note: the food may very well be better than it was at your office party, but don't eat the food. You're better than that.
Your Girlfriend's Office Party
Do you have a girlfriend? Has she asked you to her office holiday party? You already have plans. They're unbreakable.
The Charity Holiday Party
The last permutation of the holiday party you might want to consider is the host committee party. You know the ones: you get invited by a friend, or perhaps an acquaintance, who has been recruited and given "host" status, which sounds vaguely important, but isn't. It's at a bar that was maybe cool a year ago, it costs $50 for an hour-long vodka-only open bar, and the proceeds go to some sort of charity.
You have plans. They're unbreakable.
So, consider this a primer on how to attend all the holiday parties you have this week like a proper villain. You'll certainly make an impression, feel excellent all vacation long, and be lavished with praise and a raise upon your return to the office. But, really, no cute little Christmas hats. No red and green sweaters. No jingle bells sewn into your sleeves. And no canapés — you're better than that.
Image by Michael Erazo-Kase