It’s time for that holiday social institution, the office party. Long the bane of bosses and employees alike, alcohol doesn’t help the phenomenon. But while there’s little that can be done to duck one, there are things to avoid saying that will improve your chances of survival. In addition to the usual ban on politics and religion (now more than ever) steer clear of the following career quicksand:

“I’d like a raise.” Save it for Santa Claus.

“OMG, does she look in the mirror?” 'Tis the season to be jolly, not jabbing. Ignore the fact that her hemline’s not all that far from her neckline and if she sits down, they may meet. The same goes for men. His tight pants are not your problem.

“Did I tell you I’m having my breast removed?” The Big C is never a welcome guest at any party, no matter what time of year it is. We’re all just waiting for that call, all of us understand we’re merely candles in the wind, but there is such a thing as time and place. It’s not between the meatballs and marzipan.

“You know they’re ‘involved’, right?” Yes. And so does everybody else; you don’t need to say it.

“I hate my boss.” This one ought to be self-explanatory.

Gentlemen, make no move toward the mistletoe. By current popular definition, this constitutes misconduct, at least for the time being. Likewise, don’t ask your female associate if she wants a drink and can you drive her home. Don’t tell her she looks amazing when she’s not in office duds. Don’t do anything. Ever. Again.

Play it safe and just repeat the following.

“So, how 'bout them Saints?”

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at

Here we go a wassailing

And they were, on the steps of the Alexandre Mouton House where carolers ushered guests into the holiday party of the year. Each one always seems better than the last, and the Brian Crutchfield-decorated parlor mantle of long-stemmed, windblown tulips and evergreens amazed the staff and veteran partygoers alike. Tea girls did their holiday duty while the grande dames looked on, passing trays of fabulous foods — all homemade by the museum ladies — bacon sandwiches, cheese petite fours and that all-time favorite, Virginia Yongue’s Breaux Bridge hamburgers. Anyone who is anybody in Lafayette made merry, including uber-lawyer and Advocate fan Blake David, Mayor Joel Robideaux, Bo and Jerry Ramsay, Renaissance woman Gretchen Stewart, Vince and Anita Saitta, Cherie Kraft and the always stylish Mo Trent. By the way, the Lafayette Museum Association’s little white cookbook “Let Us Entertain You!” has been reprinted at long last. A word to the wise.

Gabriel Presentation Ball

The Krewe of Gabriel presented their debutantes at a ball at the Frem Boustany Convention Center. All was a-bustle as the young ladies posed for pre-ball photographs, and looking lovely were Selia Abshire, Caroline Ardoin, Natalie Brauns, Madeline Busch, Jennifer Dedo, Sydney Duhon, Elise Graveson, Emma Gremillion, Claire Koke, Lillian Lochridge, Madeline Mahtook, Julia Porché, Emma Rader, Blair Sibley, Cecile Théard, Madeleine Thibeaux, Courtney Trahan and Jillian Verzwyvelt. Ball Chairman Thomas Montgomery had his floor committee in order, the gentlemen were terminally handsome in their tuxes and nothing, but nothing, quite compares to Gabriel backstage.

Festival of Lights

Oil Center merchants turned up the volume on Christmas with their annual lighting of the Oil Center, sponsored in part this year by The Advocate. Roads closed and the strolling began at 5 with much to do and see, and what better way to see it than with Brent Stantz and Vintage Carriage Company’s country “sleigh,” drawn by mules Ike and Tina. Elsewhere at Achilles Print Studio, it was Cirque de Soleil — Ballet Acadiana sent dancers Alyssa Gaspard and Maddie Brown to pose for artists and audience alike for an interactive experience with a nuance of The Nutcracker. “This was something I did while I was in grad school, and I wanted to bring it here,” said Jessica Moore. In the Christmas spirit were perfect family Vincent and Christina Chicola, Jarunee McBride and Andy Hebert, storytelling with "Christmas on a Bayou." Incidentally, those French Quarter mules have nothing on Ike and Tina.