There's no shortage of advice this time of year in terms of maintaining our sanity around food and drink during the party season. Of course, that's what we strive to do each and every day of our grown-up lives. But aren't holiday parties supposed to be the time we let go a little and remind ourselves of how we used to live our daily lives: full of debauchery and excess? So in the spirit of true Crankiness, I've provided a little cranky commentary when it comes to suggestions found in articles like this one and this one - not that there's anything wrong with behaving yourself. But it's always best to consider both sides of an issue.
#1 Conventional holiday survival guide wisdom: Eat some protein before attending a party. Never arrive hungry.
The Grinch Edition: Protein? As in seafood? Clams count, right? As in clam dip. As in chips 'n dip. As in Fish 'n Chips. As in Fry-o-lator Helper. And how about that oh-so-clever suggestion of eating peanut butter on an apple before you go to a party? Everybody knows you can't have peanut butter without jelly/without bread/without ice cold milk/ without cookies to soak up the leftover milk. And apples/as in apple dumplings/as in Peking dumplings/as in all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant buffet/as in Jimmy Buffett/as in Margaritas/as in salted rims and a side of nachos.
Your success here also depends on what your interpretation of "hungry" is. It's all relative. There is nibbling hungry - in which case rabbit food will do quite nicely (provided you filled up at home with something more substantial than peanut butter on an apple slice). And then there is HON-GRY hungry wherein open hands are a suitable replacement for utensils and a cotton tablecloth can provide up to a week's worth of fiber per dining table covered.
#2Conventional holiday survival guide wisdom: Avoid hanging out where the food is so you won't be tempted to overindulge. Move away from the table.
Grinch Edition: Hanging out where the food is is also where the people are/where the fun is/where the entire "party" concept derives its meaning. A "party" involves people socializing with other people - usually at the food or booze table. Move away from the table? Moving away from the table is an anti-social, lone wolf behavior. If my hosts had wanted that kind of party they would've invited the Unabomber.
#3 Conventional holiday survival guide wisdom: Drink One-For-One. For every serving of booze you have, follow it up with a like amount of water. Wine is dehydrating. Oh, and make it sparkling water to keep it festive.
Grinch Edition: Sparkling water shooters - oooh, how very festive. Exercise is dehydrating too but they're not advocating giving that up. And if I start pounding down water all night I'll be spending most of it in the bathroom. Hardly the best party atmosphere.
#4 Conventional holiday survival guide wisdom: Keep moving. If there's music, dance. Play charades. Anything to burn off calories.
Grinch edition: Have you ever tried dancing to a Kenny G. recording of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" or Dean Martin's boozy rendition of "Jingle Bells"? Or maybe you consider yourself the Mickey Rooney of the group by always suggesting, "Hey gang, let's play a game!" Moving is what we're trying to take a break from (as is thinking, behaving appropriately, and worrying about our reputations). Hopefully, the flop sweat you break into from watching your social status plummet counts as a calorie-burning activity. If you had any friends before coming to this party, you won't by the time you leave.
#5 Conventional holiday survival guide wisdom: If you want to really keep yourself honest by not overindulging, wear your most form-fitting jeans. Another trick is to tie a string or ribbon around your waist that will not budge with the bulge.
Grinch edition: Hmmmm....wear my most form-fitting clothes. They have names for women who dress like that at parties and "wife" or "Reverend Mother" isn't one of them. Plus, wearing skin tight clothes while dancing and playing charades from the above suggestion has the seam-splitting potential for turning into the lead headline on the 11:00 news - especially if anyone in the crowd is going commando.
And tying myself around the waist with a string? What am I? A pork tenderloin? Ever hear of a belt or something without an elasticized waistband that could provide the same effect without having your friends worry about you having sprouted a tail should it break loose during the evening?
Grinch Conclusion: It seems that common sense goes a long way in determining whether or not you enjoy yourself during the holiday parties. Trust your instincts. If you're wiping your mouth with the hem of your dress, are just a bit too tempted by your boss's mistletoe belt buckle or find food in any of your pockets, it's probably time to call a cab and call it a night.
What will you be doing to keep yourself in holiday survival mode?