By Pam Prather
Ahhhh, office holiday parties. The stuff of legends – or at least movies, jokes and salacious tales. We here at Bashyam Shah have run the gamut from EXTREMELY casual get-togethers (a pony keg in the conference room) to the more sophisticated. Because Murali and I are the ones who’ve attended the most, he recently asked me which party was my favorite. Humor me while I ponder my response.
The pony keg year was actually really fun. Or it was for me, because I love to play games. I introduced my younger co-employees to a favorite from my tween-hood, Truth or Dare. We learned WAAAAYYYYY too much about each other that night. We also played Pictionary on the big easels, and a little bit of Charades. That would’ve been quite enough for me, but the younger ones decided we needed to play Quarters. ‘Nuf said…..
Another year I had everyone over to my house for “Dirty Santa”, which you may know by its many other names – Chinese Auction (not appropriate for an immigration firm!), Yankee Swap, Black Santa, Naughty Santa, Thieving Secret Santa, Parcel Pass, Christmas Swamp Thing, Greedfest, or Pollyanna. In south central Pennsylvania it is also called “Kamikaze Gift Exchange” (from Wikipedia, my source for all things factual). What’s not to like about a game where you have an equal chance of getting a pair of size 3X white nylon granny panties or a rubber chicken that makes a loud, screaming cackle???
For some reason, the games thing died off for a few years after that. I don’t know why, but people groaned and rolled their eyes when I would enquire “what should we play THIS year”??! Apparently there was some line (of which I was unaware) that we had crossed over. Crossed over, stomped on past, and continued on crossing for so long that we went around a corner and came up to it again.
There was another time when we rented a limousine to take us to a nice dinner, and then haul us from bar to dance club to bar. The problem was, we liked the limo ride more than we liked the bars, so we ended up telling the driver to just drive around the Beltline (the 20-or-so mile highway that loops around Raleigh) while we acted like idiots, and – yes – stood up with our heads through the sunroof.
(Okay, here’s an aside. Why is it called a BELT LINE? That is a contradiction in terms. You can’t be a belt and a line at the same time!! I’m from Northern Virginia where we have the Beltway around D.C. That makes much more sense. Of course it’s not really a “way” around the city because it’s always at a standstill, but that’s another story).
Many times we’ve simply had dinner out at a nice restaurant. Everyone likes to eat good food and enjoy great wine, but those years just aren’t quite as memorable as, for example, the time we rented the upstairs loft of a dive bar called Slims in downtown Raleigh. We catered in Indian food (delish!), and shot pool at the one ripped-up table. It was wonderful until we realized that ALL the cigarette smoke from this lively watering hole wafted up into the loft and hung thickly around our faces like a beekeeper’s helmet net. That was the year I learned how difficult it is to get the smell of smoke out of a leather jacket.
I don’t know, it’s hard to pick a favorite holiday party out of the last 13. I suppose they’re all favorites in a way. They start to blend together, and I’m left with simply fond memories of camaraderie and laughter so hard I almost wet myself. It doesn’t really matter what we do, it’s just being together away from the office and celebrating our successes that makes each get-together special. So, I’ll tell Murali that my favorite party of all time is the one coming up!!
A warm, happy holiday wish to all of you. Thanks for your interest in and support of our law firm. Now get out there and be festive!