Rating your Christmas parties
|If you threw a party, the worst thing you could have done was throw the kind of party where your guests, the next day, call you up to say they had a nice time. Now you'll be expected to throw another great party next year.

What you should have done was throw the kind of party where your guests wake up several days from now and call their lawyers to find out if they've been indicted for anything. You want your guests to be so anxious to avoid a recurrence of your party that they immediately start planning parties of their own, a year in advance, just to prevent you from having another one.

So next time, make sure your party reaches the correct Festivity Level:

Festivity Level One:
Your guests are chatting amiably with each other, admiring your Christmas-tree ornaments, singing carols around the upright piano, sipping at their drinks and nibbling at hors d'oeuvres.

Festivity Level Two:
Your guests are talking loudly--sometimes to each other and sometimes to nobody at all, rearranging your Christmas-tree ornaments, singing "I Gotta Be Me" around the upright piano, gulping their drinks and wolfing down hors d'oeuvres.

Festivity Level Three:
Your guests are arguing violently with inanimate objects, singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," gulping other people's drinks, wolfing down Christmas-tree ornaments, and placing hors d'oeuvres in the upright piano to see what happens when the little hammers strike them.

(You want to keep your party somewhere around Level Three, unless you rent your home and own firearms, in which case you can go to Level Four.)

Festivity Level Four:
Your guests have hors d'oeuvres smeared all over their bodies, are performing a ritual dance around the burning Christmas tree, and have consumed all ten gallons of alcohol at the party. The piano is missing.

The best way to get to Level Four is eggnog. To make eggnog, you'll need rum, whiskey, wine, gin and, if they are in season, eggs. Combine all ingredients in a large, festive bowl. If you use enough alcohol you won't have to worry about them getting salmonella poisoning--their alcohol toxicity level will eliminate that possibility. Then induce your guests to drink this potent mixture.

If your party is successful, the police will knock on your door. If your party is very successful, the police will then lob tear gas through your living-room window. As host, your job is to make sure they don't arrest anybody. Or, if they're dead set on arresting someone, your job is to make sure it isn't you. The best way to do this is to show a lot of respect for their uniforms and assure them you're not doing anything illegal. Here's how to handle it:

Police: "Good evening. Are you the host?"

You: "No."

Police: "We've been getting complaints about this party."

You: "About the drugs?"

Police: "No."

You: "About the guns, then? Is somebody complaining about the guns?"

Police: "No, the noise."

You: "Oh, the noise. Well, that makes sense, because there are no guns or drugs here. (An enormous explosion is heard in the background.) Or fireworks. Who's complaining about the noise? The neighbors?"

Police: "No, the neighbors fled inland hours ago. Most of the recent complaints have come from several miles away. Do you think you could ask the host to quiet things down?"

You: "No problem. (At this point, a Volkswagen bug with primitive religious symbols drawn on the doors emerges from the living room and roars down the hall, past the police and out the front door onto the lawn, where it smashes into a tree. Eight guests tumble out onto the grass, moaning.) See? Things are starting to wind down."

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