okay, wetblanket, i've never considered you the bad guy in this, but i have some additional thoughts here:
1) it might look easy, but i've been one of those organizers, and it's a heck of a lot of work. i don't know how long you've worked for this company, but it sounds to me like they've done this for a long time, almost by default. and THEY probably don't enjoy it either, because they know that someone will be unhappy with whatever they decide to do.
2) is the office completely closing for this two hour party? if not, and someone will have to stay back, can you volunteer to cover the phones and let the receptionist go to the party? you can always say that she's worked hard too, and you'd like her to attend the party. then you can forget the entire thing, AND be seen as a good guy.
3) if you really hate the people you work with so very much (i thought about using the capital letters and periods that you did, but didn't want to seem snarky), how soon will you be looking for a new job? because, really, life is too short to work with people that you HATE.
i'm sorry that you didn't get the answers that you wanted. that's the risk you run when you post a question here, as we're a pretty outspoken bunch with varied life and work experiences. you will get some support, you will get some dissent. we figure that if you ask a question, we'll answer honestly. if you don't want an honest answer, don't ask the question.