This year for our office holiday gathering we went to The Melting Pot, which is a fondue restaurant. Richard and I have been there a few times before, and my boss and his wife have done fondue a number of times with their family, and I think maybe one other person there had had fondue once in her life. But for everyone else this was a brand new experience. And it was a pretty funny one because we are the most indecisive bunch of people when trying to pick a place to go for lunch during a workday, and here we were, faced with a list of choice a mile long. I think everyone was a bit overwhelmed, so, since I am such the shy and retiring type (ha!) I finally decided to play cruise director, and we picked three cheese choices, and then three cooking choices, and then finally three entree choices, and by the time we'd made it through all of that and were ready to choose three chocolates, we were all so full and relaxed that no one really cared as long as chocolate somehow magically appeared on the table in front of us in some form or another.
The entire dinner was a lot of fun. We ended up just getting up and milling about the table for all three courses, because we all wanted to try everything and it was just easier to do it that way than to try to play musical chairs, or move very hot pots of liquid goo around without spilling. Everyone got into the whole thing with great enthusiasm and we all ate far too much, but that is the way of things at a fondue restaurant. There was a lot of chatter and laughing, and one of the partners pulled out gift bags which held marvelous surprises, and each of which had a gift certificate for dinner at someplace nice. The bag I chose has a box of Godiva chocolates which I am almost afraid to open because then I will eat it all (yum!), and a gift certificate to The Slocum House, which is an extremely nice restaurant in Fair Oaks to which Richard and I have never gone. Amusingly, that's where one of my coworkers and her husband go every year for their anniversary, and the gift certificate in her bag was to The Firehouse, which is where Richard and I go quite often for our anniversary, and at first we decided to do a swap, but then we came to the conclusion that obviously this meant we were fated to try new things, and everyone got to laugh at us because we immediately began swapping recommendations on what to try at each place.
People talk about how awful office parties can be - with people getting drunk, or having forced secret Santa gift exchanges or horrible white elephant games, so I guess I am very, very lucky. I like all my coworkers and I like my job and we all have fun together, even if it does sometimes take us two hours to decide where we want to go for lunch, and maybe there are annoying office neighbors and maybe some days I would cheerfully murder the damn pigeons who have decided to roost outside my window and Will Not Shut Up, but I wouldn't trade any of it because when compared to all the horror stories I hear other people tell, I have it pretty damn good and I am thankful.