Christmas Parties Take Their Toll

Dead man on couch.

Three weeks before Christmas, on 4 December, Mr. Edgar Rolton was pronounced dead after suddenly collapsing at the very end of a festive holiday party. Several friends tried to resuscitate the man, aged 45, while his wife (widow) looked on in utter grief. Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter but even they failed to resuscitate him.

The cause of death was apparently Festivity Exhaustion, which is a specific form of exhaustion from too many Christmas parties—of which Mr. Rolton had attended five in the three days prior, with seven more scheduled in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Sadly, he did not even make it to the “first day of Christmas,” so there will be no partridge in his pear tree (or his wife’s, for that matter) this year.

Mr. Rolton is not the first to die this way. Doctors say that Festivity Exhaustion has been on the rise ever since the end of the 1980s, when dance music was still worth listening to. “People used to get plenty of cardiovascular exercise at these parties,” says Dr. Leonard Depp. “The music was good, the dancing was good, they didn’t eat too much, and they were physically fit.” But beginning in the 1990s, he says people stopped dancing, started eating more, and the parties became dull, dry, and downright tiring. Socialising is also conspicuously absent at many of the current parties. In fact, the main reason for these parties is often to show off opulent decorations, both outside (inflatable Snowmen and Santa Clauses on the lawn) and inside (fake wreaths galore, 10-foot tall Christmas trees, smoked reindeer hanging in the chimney, etc). Thus, the parties end up being what the doctor calls “sit-and-eat-with-fatsos,” which can take their toll on anyone’s health.

But if this trend continues, some say that it may reach “epidemic proportions,” whatever that means. One epidemiologist concluded that “there are enough Christmas parties any given year to feed the entire Third World for a century, but instead they take the opposite approach to even out the world’s wealth by grinding down the Europeans and Americans.”1 When asked why he would make such a bold statement about serious humanitarian problems, he said, “Because it’s true, you two-faced reporter, and you know it.” However, when we asked if he was not equally two-faced himself with his caviar and lemon spritz martini, he discretely declined to comment.

After Mr. Rolton’s demise, his wife managed to give his funeral party a Christmas theme, so as to keep everyone in good spirits; however, a very close friend fainted from exhaustion since he had attended a good number of parties himself and was unable to enjoy the last few hours of the funeral party. The British Crown has issued advisories since then to all the Queen’s subjects to take frequent breaks during festivities, and to watch for friends displaying unusual behaviour. The symptoms of oncoming Festivity Exhaustion are easiest to remember as “The Five or Six F’s” and include the following:

  • fast talking
  • feverish looks
  • flailing
  • falling to the ground
  • fighting back tears, and
  • festering

If you don’t know how to recognise these symptoms, try practicing them in front of a mirror. That should give you an idea.

Have you suffered death from Festivity Exhaustion? If so, please leave a comment below for your fellow readers to enjoy.

  1. See also Grinchler et al., “Holiday Waste and New Approaches to World Hunger,” Journal of International Epidemiology Reports IV (2017): 201-207.

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