I am never going to complain about a holiday party. Give me an invite and I am there sometimes literally with bells on (or at least tiny bell earrings) to bring the festivity. And also whatever food or alcohol item I'm requested to bring if it's a potluck.
This year I've gone to a bunch of different holiday parties and I still haven't had people over for mine yet -- we're planning for the day after Christmas because it's a Friday. Every party has been different and they've all been fun in their own way.
The party that happens at a conveniently located bar is a classic, of course. It works because people buy their own booze and no one is left cleaning red solo cups out of the bath tub. Or puke out of other unfortunate places. And you can usually at least get bar food.
But the drawbacks! Booze is just so much more expensive when you aren't pouring it for yourself. There are other people there that you didn't invite because bars are public spaces. (I'm sure they're all lovely people but were they invited to your party? I think not.) Bars aren't very friendly spaces for people who are avoiding bars for whatever reason. Parking is a pain (I'm just bitter because I had parking issues recently) and so is making sure you've got a designated driver to pick everyone up and take everyone home.
Then there's the holiday house party. I can never tell if I'm heading to a sedate potluck or if it's going to turn into a long night of socializing as people keep showing up with more to eat and drink. (Either result is enjoyable -- some just make the next day a little harder to deal with.)
I can't decide if the ability to crash out at the scene of the house party if necessary is a pro or a con. In any event, you've still got to figure out who's driving and what you're bringing -- because if I'm going to someone's house for a party, I'm bringing at least a little bitty hostess gift of some sort. Recent gifts include: the dish the food I brought came in, a nice bottle of wine, a tiny succulent plant in a seashell on a hanger.
Side note: What's your favorite hostess gift to take? Is it something you even bother with? I like doing it for parties or if I'm crashing with someone but I'll sub it out for paying for dinner, too, if the situation calls for it.
My office does a party during the workday -- it's a potluck and it's a chance to hang out with people who are on other teams, folks we don't work with on a usual basis. I work for a small company and I know pretty much every single person who works there. It's a little harder at a larger company, but it's still good to mingle and put names to emails if nothing else.
Of course, if you're going to an after-work holiday do like something out of the beginning of Die Hard, your office party is obviously superior. (As long as it's a party without the being held hostage and explosions and stuff.)
My own plans for having people over involve a lot of food -- a honey-baked ham and mashed potatoes and spinach salad and maybe some stuffed mushrooms. I like cooking for a crowd.
The goal is to play some games, so I've ordered Geek Out!, which is a nerdy trivia game. I got to play it during the aforementioned work holiday party and we eventually stopped keeping score and just picked the hardest questions for each other because we were having more fun answering things collaboratively. I didn't order Superfight! in time, alas -- and now no one can get it here in time for Christmas. I'll order it later though and save it for another party.
My own personal Christmas party style is relaxed and comfortable. It involves food and drink and people being happy and chill. Hopefully it will also involve having enough seating. We'll see how that goes.
What about you? What's your favorite kind of holiday party? Are you having a gathering of any kind?