Since the early 1980s, local insurance agents from competing agencies have enjoyed a goodwill tradition initiated by Nellie Plasencio from the Emil Crockett agency: for one afternoon, the agents put aside the competition that drives them throughout the rest of the year, and sit down and eat lunch together.
Each agency takes a turn hosting the annual party, and each tries to put a unique spin on the event in hopes of drawing more agents into the mix. This year, Farmer’s hosted an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” Party at Manor House restaurant Dec. 18, and according to Sheila Lindhorst, Farmer’s agent and one of the party’s organizers, it was a beautiful thing.
“In a world that is so competitive and impersonal, it’s nice to take some time off and really get to know some of the amazing women that make our hometown a great place to live,” Lindhorst said.
The Manor House party included a hot cocoa bar and a wall of photos commemorating parties of years past. Each attendee received a gift bag containing a candy cane, and whichever agent wound up with the “short stick” – the small candy cane – won the privilege of hosting next year’s event.
Next year’s theme may or may not include badly embroidered sweaters, but it’s sure to have a healthy dose of Christmas cheer. In recent years, Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties have become a tacky-trendy phenomenon. Books were published, Web sites created and dozens of apparel manufacturers sprung up to keep up with the ultra-hip winter party theme. In “The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On,” Brian Miller, Adam Paulson and Kevin Wool - also known as “team ugly” – advise attendees of an Ugly Sweater Party to put on the “most awful, shockingly colorful, blindingly atrocious cardigan or pullover available on the market.” The book also includes instructions for throwing Ugly Sweater Parties, complete with food, decorations, music playlists and games.
For more tips on entertaining “ugly” this year, visit www.uglychristmassweaterparty.com.