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Stalking the Elusive Holiday Wingding

Bountiful food at one of the White House's several holiday parties (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)

It's not just you: There really are fewer holiday parties this year. To make up for it, we committed to going to as many as possible over 10 days or so -- and bringing you the highlights.

Irish Embassy, 12/4, 9:04 p.m. Oh, look, they hired a dancer! A handsome young green-shirted man who breaks into a masterful jig to the lilting sounds of a Celtic combo. Oh, wait, maybe not: The flutist just asked him to please cut it out. Now that's a party!

Hudson Institute, 12/10, 6:55 p.m. Other people's office parties can be grim affairs. But here they've sexed up a blah conference room with green lights and an open bar serving wicked-strong cocktails (vodka and Hpnotiq?), potato chips as addictive as crack. Who's that dashing preppy by the bar? Scooter Libby!

RIAA/PhRMA/Entertainment Software Association, 12/10, 9:50 p.m. We time it poorly, arriving at the 9:30 club just after Mix Master Mike wraps his set. "He really had the crowd on their feet," marvels a friend. Great. Now, three hours of open bar/no food are taking a toll: A young agency staffer informs us that we are the most beautiful and interesting person in the room.

British ambassador's residence, 12/15, 7:05 p.m. Top-shelf champagne. Quail egg-and-cucumber canapes. A 15-foot tree decorated with a frostlike tinsel and only one ornament -- Saint Nick -- on top. We have so much to learn from the British.

White House, 12/16, 5:15 p.m. There are a few things the federal government does extremely well, and one of them is eggnog. And potato pancakes. And grapefruit-avocado salad: We have so much to learn from the Texans. The First Couple's practice of spending every hour of their countless parties receiving a line of near-strangers (at this soiree, journalists) waiting to get a photo has always seemed the worst part of a very bad job. But tonight, in the 15 private seconds we spend with him and Laura, the man who dodged a flying shoe is loose, jaunty, warm, witty. Eye on the finish line, sir! And Merry Christmas.

By The Reliable Source  |  December 18, 2008; 1:04 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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