We went to a Christmas party the other night at our church. It was in the family ward that we belong to but don't currently attend because we are now serving in a singles ward. We decided that it would be nice to visit with people that we hadn't seen for a while. We enjoyed visiting with the people at our table, but I have to say that for the most part, I think Mormon parties are a bit odd. Here's why:
Mormons just don't know how to mingle a la cocktail party style. There were some hors d'oevres and punch there to start out the evening, but instead of partaking of the goodies and visiting, most of the people in attendance immediately plunked themselves down at their tables to stake out their spots. I realize that most Mormons don't have a lot of experience in the cocktail circuit, but that just seems a bit odd to me. Social functions are generally to give people a chance to socialize with others. Sure, you get to visit with the people at your table, but what about all the other people that are there, and especially the visitors? How can we get to know them? Perhaps most people only come for the free meal. I have noticed this a lot at other Mormon social functions as well, but somehow it seems like we ought to be a little more friendly at Christmas.
Mormon Christmas parties are very serious occasions. I have nothing against being serious, but what's wrong with having a little fun at a social event? We get enough of the serious stuff on Sundays. Perhaps this is just a particular trend in our area, but I think it's a bit disturbing. Now I happen to like Christmas carols like "Silent Night" and "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear", but what would be wrong with a little "Feliz Navidad" once in a while to liven things up, especially on a Friday night in the gym? It's pretty sad when you're at a party and don't feel like you can even clap for a musical number because the program is so serious. I think that kind of stuff should be saved for Sunday. Make our parties a little fun. I have to say that I think the "reader's theatre" type programs that are passed around through the church and performed at every Relief Society dinner or Christmas Party are also really boring.
At 9 o'clock, the party is over! The minute the event is over, everything gets torn down and put away before you can even take a breath. There were a lot of people there that we would have liked to have visited with when we first arrived, but we couldn't do that because everyone sat down so quickly. So after the dinner and program, we thought we'd have time to do some more visiting. As it turned out, we only had time to visit with one couple for about five mintues, because the next thing we knew the decorations were torn down, the tables were all pulled from under us and put away and we were sitting on our chairs in the middle of the gym with vacuum cleaners all around us. Mormon events seem to only last about two hours at most, but it seems that even then, people can hardly wait to get out of there.
I have to ask myself, what is the point of having a "ward social" where there is little or no socializing going on? Sometimes I think our socials are treated more like a "duty" than a fun time to get to know one another. Let's lighten up and have fun!