At the Still Point of the Turning World
Residency is over, NOW what? (While I'm waiting for the answer, I'll get some spinning done....)

Monday, December 01, 2003


Okay, no Night Float recap today, I've got something else on my mind. The thing is this: Recently I was asked to organize the residency holiday party. In the past, we've held this at the residency director's home on a Saturday, but practically no residents were able to attend because--let's face it--who wants to spend time with co-workers on a Saturday when you've FINALLY got a weekend off? So I was asked to come up with a plan to get as many of us to attend as possible.

Now, you have to understand something about me. I am not a party person. My idea of a great evening is to crawl back home, feed the cats, and knit. I do not like to socialize. I hate small talk and noisy rooms. I especially detest holiday-themed celebrations, perhaps because I don't understand them well (my family never celebrated the major holidays in any formal way). I am basically a shy person who does not like to be "on" at a social event. And, to make it worse, I have absolutely no Martha Stewart skills. I do not know how to choose cute invitations, arrange flowers, concoct a menu, or prepare a seating plan. On those rare occasions when I have people over to dinner, I tell them, "Show up around six" and serve salad in a metal mixing bowl.

So here I am, in charge of the holiday bash. I've reserved a banquet room a local Mexican restaurant, wheedled a budget out of the residency director, and organized a Secret Santa exchange among the residents. Next I have to flog a head count from the residents and the faculty, figure out how many kids are coming along for the ride, and figure out which three entrees to offer in the buffet (I'm leaning towards chicken fajitas, cheese enchiladas, and either chile colorado or chile verde.)

But what else should I be doing? Specifically:

--There's a bigscreen TV in the banquet room, with DVD and video. Should I loop a holiday video to keep the kids transfixed?

--In addition to kids and faculty, we've inviting people interviewing for the residency that week to the party. What kind of (inexpensive) gifts can I have ready for them? For the faculty?

--Party favors for the kids?

--Should I make a big deal out of the gift exchange? You know--come up, holler out names, each person has to run up and get their present, give a big hug to their Santa, etc. etc.?



--Seating plan. Long table vs. individual tables vs. a big U-shaped arrangement. I'm favoring the U because the long table means that people at either end won't talk to each other. Ditto individual tables.

(And--do I HAFTA go?)

Any and all thoughts from expert party organizers will be appreciated.