Author Topic: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)  (Read 14726 times)

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crella

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Hi, crella here, this is my first time to post  a topic. My annual Christmas coffee for the neighbors got out of hand this year. Some of it was people who meant well (but who wouldn't listen), and some was rudeness and I'm already in a snit as what to do about this year's party  ;D

It started out simply enough. We moved into a house that many of the ladies in the neighborhood were curious about. It's sort of a Victorian, common enough in the US, but rare here. I walk my dog with a nice group of ladies, I thought I'd have them over for coffee at Christmas, it would give me 4 months after moving to get us settled, and the house is prettiest when decorated. I invited my dog walking friends the first year, we had 10 people. Great. The second year, one of the dog-walking friends invited one of her friends ('I'), that's fine too, she asked me, I knew the lady and said 'Sure'...

The third year 'I' asked if the neighborhood chorus could come.  I knew 6 out of 8 members and those 6 have always come anyway, so again I said 'Oh sure'. They asked if they could sing, and did. They sang two songs, it was a nice time.

This year....hoo boy. The chorus group has grown to 13 members and they all came (I'm not in chorus and didn't know).  Some of them I hardly know. Past members also came. Others people brought their kids (school was out). We had almost 30 people, it was a squeeze, but still doable.

However, the chorus group took over as if it were their event. The head of the chorus asked me about new neighbors maybe not knowing everyone's names , I explained that I would make sure everyone got introduced ( I was the hostess!). She ignored what I said, stopped everyone in mid-conversation , clapped loudly to get everyone's attention and ordered everyone into the living room for self-introductions. She also announced that I was going to make a speech to 'greet' everyone and 'officially start the party' which had been chugging along quite well on it's own for some time. Put on the spot, I made a brief speech, then everyone introduced themselves and then drifted off to where they were before. The chorus got up, lined up and started singing, passing out sheet music. Not a bad thing, but they sang 7 songs, performing for 40 minutes, effectively stopping conversation.  I was not informed that they planned to perform their whole repertoire.

The older chorus members then sat down at the sweets table, and two of younger ones went into the kitchen and said they'd get the coffee.  I could use the help, but they didn't ask who wanted coffee but just started filled all the cups I had out on the counter and leaving them all over all the tables, too many for the number of people actually there who wanted coffee. Each person had more than one cup in front of them. Partway through all this I told them (sweetly) that it looked like we had everyone taken care of when I saw everyone had a cup , but they kept filling cups ("so we don't have to keep getting coffee") . I kept having to throw away cold coffee and washing the cups, which they started filling again, I could not get them to stop. They effectively took over the kitchen.

When they were going home, two other chorus members pulled out Ziplock bags( the women I don't know)saying "I can't bake at all, I never have a chance to eat cake and cookies this good!". With other guests still to come, one woman took home five pieces of coffee cake and half a dozen of each of the cookies and another took home two Ziplocks of cookies, as well as enough Christmas paper plates and napkins for her family. I was flabbergasted.

I do not want the chorus to come anymore, or to be exact, the five that were pushy. They were polite at first , but this year their attitude was that it was their event. I was really put out to be ignored in my own house, to be told when and how I would speak to my guests, along with the antics of the Ziplock twins, the first time they're in my home.  I worry about the repercussions though....it's a small neighborhood, they've been coming for 3 years now and some of the chorus members are women who are personal friends( the chorus and the dog walker's groups overlap). I know word will get around if I have the party without the chorus, but I couldn't stand another party like this last one. What's a girl to do?

Edited for clarity, I was spluttering  ;D
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 04:41:18 AM by crella »

katycoo

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 04:49:58 AM »
Oh dear.  I wonder if there's any way you can encourage someone else to host the event this year, and you can have a smaller gathering with only your walking buddies on the quiet?

crella

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 05:08:06 AM »
I could say I'm just having my immediate neighbors, that would cut out the problem ones, they all coincidentally live way down the hill...

mechtilde

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 05:08:26 AM »
"The party last year just got out of control with so many people, so I've had to cut back on the friends of friends invitations (assuming this would cut out the pushy ones)?

Maybe someone else can word it a little better?

"Yes- last year's party did get a bit too big- there just isn't room in the house, so this year I've had to cut back"
NE England

MsMarjorie

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 05:45:05 AM »
I'm so sorry you had to endure that.  That was just awful behaviour.

I'd either not have a party this year, stating that last year's party got too large and then start again next year with a new guest list - your immediate neighbours as you suggested.  Or as other PPs have said - tell people you are cutting back this year and having a more intimate gathering. 

If you do invite chorus members, don't invite them as members of the chorus, just as individual guests and make sure to tell them they are not expected to perform.

If you see even a hint of a ziploc bag, say "I'm sorry, you seem to be taking my food, please leave that where it is" as you guide them to the door.

crella

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 06:34:59 AM »
I had toyed with the idea of not having it this year.  All of it put together just really bothered me.

Ms_Shell

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2011, 06:41:37 AM »
In years past, have you sent out actual invitations or was it a casual word of mouth invite?  You might be able to get around it by sending paper invitations with the names on it, and you could add a P.S. along the lines of, "Due to space considerations, we are only able to host the people listed on the envelope."  Hopefully someone can word it better than I did, but I think you'll need to say something if you want to host it again.

"I've never been a millionaire, but I just know I'd be darling at it." - Dorothy Parker

crella

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2011, 08:24:41 AM »
Quote
If you see even a hint of a ziploc bag, say "I'm sorry, you seem to be taking my food, please leave that where it is" as you guide them to the door.

I would have loved to. I'm a fluent Japanese speaker, but this was a sticky situation and I could not think of how to word it well enough not to send out shock waves....gotta preserve the 'wa' (harmony) ;D

At first I went 'round door to door, or told them about it on dog walks. I started printing up invites on my computer and putting them in mailboxes. I guess the people who quit chorus thought it was ok as they were former chorus members. I didn't expect the new ones and the ones who had quit to all come.

shhh its me

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2011, 08:47:11 AM »
   I would proably skip the part for a year.

still in va

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 08:49:09 AM »
   I would proably skip the part for a year.

so would i.  hopefully the chorus will decide to have their own gathering for current and past members next year, and you can resume your small neighborhood gathering the year after that.

Bethalize

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 09:19:56 AM »
You can say "It's wonderful that the chorus is so successful, but there are far to many people for me to host. I think they are having their own Christmas party."


Two Ravens

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 09:30:01 AM »
Instead of skipping it, perhaps you could change it up this year?  Instead of a coffee, have a small brunch or a cocktail hour?  That way could could honestly say, "Oh, I am not doing the coffee/concert this year" but still have people you like and want to come.

Visiting Crazy Town

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 09:34:02 AM »
 I think that  i would skip the party this year as well . that  way i could reformat it next year

Shay

high dudgeon

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 09:55:16 AM »
It would be perfectly fine to skip a year. But you don't have to do that if you don't want to. You're the host, you get to choose the guest list. If people who aren't invited ask about the event, you can tell them you've changed it or you need to keep it small or you didn't plan to have a choral event this year. If they show up uninvited, you don't have to let them in.

But I think the easiest thing to do is to change the event just enough so that it's not exactly the same event. Instead of a Christmas coffee, you could have a New Years tea, or Christmas cookie snacks, or board game night or holiday movie night or whatever. Then if anyone asks, you can tell them you decided not to have the Christmas coffee any more. And then you can invite the people you really want to see for your new event (and mention who's on the guest list, so they don't bring along any extras or talk about the party in front of those who aren't invited.)

One Goat to Rule Them All

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Re: The Christmas Party Conundrum-Long (It's been simmering a while)
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 12:43:51 PM »
It's time to get back to your roots. Next Christmas, host your "walking group party". Call it that, too. Hand out printed invitations, and if anyone asks about inviting the choir, say "This year I'd like to keep it small, just our walking group."