I suck at small talk: holiday party edition

OFFICEXMASUgh, I went to a holiday party tonight. It was work-related and therefore somewhat obligatory.  I’m really grateful to the woman who welcomed me into her home and makes me feel a valuable part of her business, so please don’t take the following rant as ingratitude.  I suck so much at small talk at these parties. What the fuck do you talk about?  I ask about the kids. I ask about work.  I ask about holiday plans.  I intently listen, but I never get comfortable.  I always feel ill at ease.  I know; this is why people drink.  I don’t drink and drive at all, and don’t drink at work functions, so no social lubricant for me.  I stayed just shy of 90 minutes.  I had probably 10 conversations, 3 of them meaty.  I’m pretty sure I offended someone in one of those conversations.  I was definitely awkward in another.  And in the last I had to do all the conversational heavy-lifting.  All three were tedious, and now I feel tired.  If I’m honest, the night peaked with delicious cheese and crackers and the M&M bowl.  Sidenote: Can we stop with the mini cupcakes?  They’re as dry and flavorless as my lame party chat.MINICUPCAKES