Me, virtually every year at Christmas

Today is Christmas Eve. You are almost certainly preparing for/looking forward to/dreading spending time with your friends and family today and/or tomorrow. Good luck with whatever the hell you’re doing the next two days.

I imagine within the last two weeks or so, you attended (or at least heard about) your company’s holiday party. I imagine this went pretty much exactly like every holiday party in the history of corporate America went. It’s time to offer some praise for the folks who are rarely mentioned, frequently forgotten, and genuinely beneficial to the night’s proceedings and earnest, dedicated denizens of your company looking to cut loose for one night on the company’s nickel.

Thank you to the company holiday party cover band.

My first inclination has always been to scoff at bands like this considering they’re basically music mercenaries – musicians not talented enough or driven enough to achieve success with their own material – hired to provide a reasonable facsimile of popular tunes and danceable hits. But as I sat listening to this group of folks doing a fairly snappy rendition of “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5,  I appreciated them in a new light.

I have no idea how much my company paid them to perform at our dorky holiday party, but I’ll bet it was a handsome sum. There were over 400 people there. How many bands really get to perform in front of that many people on a regular basis? Having worked in college radio and seen at least dozen bands perform for no more than 20 people, I can tell you, having a filled room is band catnip.

At the end of the day, I’m willing to bet most of the folks in this cover band have other jobs too. But on the weekends, they get to pursue their passion. Sure, they have to put on evening gowns and suits and shit to ply their craft, but at least they’re doing it. How many of us get to say that? How many of us gave up our dreams? The holiday party band has to learn all sorts of Black Eyed Peas and Gnarls Barkley and Van Morrison and Destiny’s Child songs, but fuck it. They love music. They’re playing music.

In an effort to shed my previous Grinch-like disposition (I associate my childhood Christmases with stress, which, yes, was as awesome as it sounds), I’ve actively tried to search for happiness, appreciation and gratitude in places you might not always find it.

I found it at my holiday party, and I’ll spend today and tomorrow open to more. My Christmas wish for you is that you find it as well.

Merry Christmas.

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