Be of good cheer

Bruce is devoting himself to matters of the season this week, so here's an encore from 1997.

How about a few hosannas for that much-maligned institution of the Christmas office party? They can often be terrific socials, yet we seem to complain an awful lot about them, as though we'd really rather we watching Wheel of Fortune instead of talking, drinking, eating and cavorting with our friends and colleagues.

One thing I've found about doing the Yuletide Slide is, contrary to what you may read elsewhere, the best parties those where people get liquored up. You read the primers about How to Survive the Office Party and tip No. 1 is always the same: “Whatever you do, you must not get blotto on alcohol, because you'll commit some ghastly faux pas that will blow your chances for that big raise, wreck your shot for that lusty office affair, or have your colleagues think you're a weirdo.” Well, hell, party on, Garth, and when do we get to pin the tail on the donkey? If you can't spot the weirdos, or see who's got hormone fever, or witness somebody completely blow it with the boss, what's the point?

Christmas parties, like all parties, need liquor and music, and we've known this now since the dawn of humanity. This is especially true if people are planning to sing Christmas carols. So make sure your event has good booze and good speakers on the stereo.

You know what good booze is. It's the stuff that's more expensive than the swill you usually drag home. Get lots of good beer and good wine. For a nice seasonal touch, make up a batch of mulled wine, especial if you want people to tear their clothes off with the wanton heat of 500 wicked gypsies.

As for tunes, make sure you have the following selections on hand, to be played only when the folks are hitting their party peaks, usually about two or three hours into the evening.

• Stones, “Brown Sugar”: By now billions of earthlings recognize this one as a massive achievement in party music. Positively kills the boomers, and holds its own with Gen X.

• Trammps, “Disco Inferno”: This song put its boogie finger on humanity's innate desire to “burn that muthuh down.” It never fails to get the gals shrieking and shaking and high-fivin', which is something you want at a Christmas party.

• Patsy Cline, “Crazy”: Good lord, don't forget to have some great slow music on hand. Gives the lusters a great chance to kiss and squeeze in front of everybody. Works for boomers, Gen X, WWII, and the occasional gothic teen.

And please, after all this party action, don't forget to give yourself ample time to cool down to about a .02 blood alcohol level. We thank you, your car thanks you, and local emergency rooms thank you.