Holiday Parties Are Dumb

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Daughter To Mother

When I was in grade school, I dreaded the holiday classroom parties. For one thing, we never got to move from our desks unless given permission. The teacher would instruct us to “row by row” get into a line and proceed to the treat table. She would tell us that we were allowed one napkin, one plate, one drink box and one baked good.

Of course, there would always be the one kid who would take two baked goods. When that would happen, the teacher, having 20/20 vision, would scope that kid out, emit a battle cry and then send them to the principal’s office. Were that not enough, she’d instruct the rest of us to sit down and give us a lesson on how to properly act during a holiday classroom party. Feeling we had been schooled enough, she’d start the line where it had ended and watch each one of us very closely. Being the nervous child that I was, I’d always show her my plate for her approval.

Once we all had our treats, we’d be told to sit quietly and eat. If the teacher was feeling particularly festive, she’d play some music with the volume down very low. We were not allowed to move. We were allowed to speak as long as we whispered. If one of us dared to spill our drink box, the party would end there and she’d have us clean the classroom.

Another reason why I didn’t like these parties was because we would judge each other on what item our mom sent us in with. If your mom baked something, but didn’t frost it or if it wasn’t chocolate, you’d be teased. If your mom sent you in with a store bought baked good, you’d be teased. If your mom neglected to send something, you’d be an outcast for the day. You really couldn’t win in grade school.

A couple of years ago, my mom switched from teaching back to business. It seems like practically every week her office is having another party. Her boss believes that parties equal bonding equal better work. I think it’s ridiculous.

For her first party, my mom came to me for advice on what she should bring. It was the night before and stores were closed. How could she leave this to the last minute? Angry, I searched through the refrigerator for something that we could make. There was nothing appropriate. I spotted a can of unopened peanuts on the table. I told her to bring those in because something is better than nothing. The following day when she came home she was upset. Apparently, some of the rude men in the office laughed at her for bringing in peanuts. Suddenly, I was my mother.

“Did they eat the peanuts?” I asked her, hands on hips.

“Yes.” She replied, sighing.

“Well, if they ate them, they have nothing to laugh about. What did they bring in?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?!? Well then, they should keep their mouths shut!”

I was livid. What right did they have to criticize her? Lazy jerks! I promised her that for the next party we’d be more prepared. As her boss is a nitwit, the next party was two weeks later. I sat her down and asked her what she’d like to make.

“I don’t know.” she said, shrugging.

“I’ll figure something out. You go do your forms.” I said, patting her on the shoulder.

For that party, she brought in a cheese platter. It was beautiful. Everyone loved it. My Mom was a popular kid…I mean employee. When her Christmas party rolled around, she was given the office pool money to buy the party items. I was so proud of her. For each party since, her plate has been the item people look forward to. If the party is for a special holiday, she’s the one they go to. Amazing!

Last night, as I watched her cut up items for the Valentine’s Day party cheese platter, I couldn’t help, but remember the peanut incident. With everything I had experienced at my holiday parties, how could I turn her into an object of ridicule? My mother made sure to send me in with all of the good stuff and that is how I repaid her? I’m ashamed.

I’ve always heard that the parent/child roles reverse as you grow older. I never believed it would happen to me. Whether I like it or not, it is now my job now to make sure that my mom remains the cool kid. Try laughing now, Lazy Jerks!

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amrog 7 years ago

LOL. i got a kick out of reading your article because it is completely true. Plus I can relate because my mother calls me up to ask me what she should bring in to her work parties as well...and I end up doing the cooking. In fact the more she ages the more she seems to call so I would say the child parent reversal roles are healthy and strong among woman today!

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