Spot the Normon: Holiday Edition

By: Jenny Pate //

Like a lot of you, I love Christmas. (And yes, Mormons celebrate Christmas, despite what you may have heard). Every year the holidays give me a chance to write cheesy cards to family back home, eat copious amounts of my favorite food groups (flour, butter and sugar) and to sing along with Mariah at the top of my lungs. It’s also my chance to remind everyone I work with that I am Mormon.

This is not on purpose. Usually I fly under the Mormon radar.  I don’t walk around giving people nativity sets and reminding them the “reason for the season.” Nor do I say politically incorrect Merry Christmas, sticking to Happy Holidays instead (as if Texas cares). No, the thing that really gives me away is the annual work holiday party.

You may have found that your work party is a good way to identify the Mormon in your office. In case you haven’t caught on yet, I’ll walk you through the giveaways:

CLUE #1: The Outfit.

I will admit (embarrassingly) that I try really hard to find cute items to wear to holiday parties. I look for dresses that are fun and flirty but still in line with my personal beliefs. Every year I think I’ve really nailed it and that I look amazing with my covered shoulders, knees and neck. But every year I walk in, survey the room, and suddenly feel like this:


I spend the rest of the evening wondering if I’d be better off at a Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas party where we enjoy peppermint sticks and make our sisters cornhusk dolls.

CLUE #2: The Beverage.

I’ve tried all sorts of non-alcoholic combinations to make me look mature and confident at corporate soirees, but when the bartender serves my drink in a plastic cup with a straw, all my creative efforts are voided.   Coworkers take one look at me and say,  “Oh yeah you are Morrrmon” followed quickly by, “Can I have your drink tickets?”  But I keep trying, as do the rest of us Normons.


Brooke showing that H2O is the way to go.  Rebbie staying SMART.  And Carly getting a little crazy with fizzy Sprite.  Normons know how to have a gooood time.

CLUE #3: The Gift Exchange.

I smile graciously when I receive the decanter and wine stopper door prize, but before leaving I try to convince someone else to take it home. Really. You will use it much more than me. The same goes for the coffee maker, premium coffee beans, Cuban cigars, and beer cozies.

CLUE #4: The Dance Floor.

For some Mormons, there may be a final clue: a refusal to dance. However, I benefit from a gene mutation often seen in females that attend BYU—I can dance sober and not care one bit. This is in spite of my lack of formal training, poor coordination, and G-rated dance moves. Being married to someone that benefits from the same gene mutation really helps at Christmas parties. We meet on middle ground with our co-workers—where our lack of social awareness meets their blood-alcohol content. I tell myself that since they are a little tipsy, my Elaine-from-Seinfeld dance moves look more like Shakira’s. Realistically, I don’t think they serve that much alcohol at any party.


Just tell me I look like her, ok? Even if you are sober.

So now that you know what to look for, spotting the Mormon at your holiday party should be simple. But go easy on us. It’s tempting to just stay home and watch Newsies or Mr. Krueger’s Christmas. But we like our co-workers and we like going out. We just also like being Mormon.

And remember,  if you’re gonna splurge on the bottle of wine, it’s really better spent on one of your other co-workers.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

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