Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Office Christmas Parties Past

This past Sunday, Monkeyrotica and I took Rosie and Dash to a Christmas party at our friend Kathryn's apartment. She served Jul Glögg, a traditional Swedish Christmas punch, and the guests trimmed the tree. Or, to be more accurate, my kids (they were the only under-20 contingent) decorated the bottom half of the tree by themselves and several other guests added ornaments to the upper half. We had a lovely time, catching up with friends we haven't seen in forever, like Ed (been staying on the down-low), or Carri and William (down from NYC). The glögg was tasty, but I preferred the champagne cocktails; Monkey, can you get that recipe from Fritz?

Even though the setting was nothing like Christmas parties from my childhood, it nevertheless felt familiar. I remember holiday parties with my dad's coworkers, all researchers and scientists at Argonne National Labs, where my sister and I were virtually the only kids there. The parties would be very casual and open-ended. We would be mingling with intellectual adults, listening in and attempting to keep up with their conversations (my, aren't your children precocious, Jim!), playing pool (there was always a billiards table), sampling from the buffet, and there would always be the singing!

Back then, it was the '70s and folk music was king, but today I don't know anyone who brings a guitar to a party and gets everyone to sing along, do you? At those parties, a couple of those scientists would bring along lyric sheet copies (mimeographed?), start strumming away, and we would all carol our hearts out. M. and I were fair singers at the time (or at least our parents liked to volunteer us) and occasionally we would sing a duet of a favorite tune we'd learned in grade school for the group.

Ok, there wasn't any singing at Fritz and Kathryn's party, but just the same, the kids were the entertainment, with an audience of adults watching them, carefully, with focus and enthusiasm, perform a creative task well. They were complimented on what a good job they were doing, hanging those tiny, delicate ornaments, and how well behaved they were! I'll see if I can get some photos of K & F's tree and post later! It looked gorgeous!!

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