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'Tis the season for parties 

There's plenty going on around the holidays

Second String Santa may just officially be Charlotte's biggest party -- I think 87.9 percent of Charlotte was there at the adult prom with spiked punch. But it's not your average overly crowded party in Founder's Hall that you spend the evening going "excuse me, excuse me," as you rustle your way through the crowd ... it's actually fun! Second String Santa benefits Toys for Tots where tickets for an open bar to toast with just about everyone you know cost a mere $15 and an unwrapped gift.

Between your Secret Santa, re-gifting exchange and ugly sweater party there's as wide of an assortment of holiday parties as there are cookies flaunted in front of your face in the office. Yet, there are still more charitable parties ... 'tis the season after all.

The thing I like about Charlotte is it's an altruistic community; philanthropies aren't exclusive to the "Season of Giving." There's always a purpose to party for, not just a bunch of end-of-year-tax-deduction charity.

I couldn't help but go by Dixie's to check out the Gift-a-Goat event. A woman is raising money to donate goats to struggling single mothers in an African country. Apparently a goat provides milk and income. You learn something new every day. People are donating Hannah Montana dolls one night and a goat another. Marinate on that one.

Meanwhile, the guys who brought us the Charlotte Skee-Ball League had a drunken spelling bee at Jeff's Bucket Shop to benefit the Kyle Fleischmann search efforts. Socially-lubricated contestants braved the stage and spelled words I rely on spell check for. The winner got a bobblehead bee trophy, and the sore loser actually tried to bogart it from her.

Upcoming charity events you can attend ...

Beards BeCAUSE is a philanthropy where men are having a beard growing competition, not just because, but for a cause -- to benefit the Battered Women's Shelter of Charlotte. Their Five O'clock Shadow party was at Dolce Vita Wine Bar in NoDa, and their Grizzlest Adam's Final Round party is at Amos on Saturday, Jan. 12. Grow. Speaking of Dolce Vita and charity -- Ima, the proprietress of the place recently became a single foster parent to two young boys, and they are having various fundraisers to help her help others. Kindness is a trickle down affect ...

What time is Happy Hour? Some bars claim 4--7 p.m., but technically the hour of happy starts whenever you get out of work: Beer thirty. On Thursday, the Loaf's happy hour begins at 5 p.m. with Creative Lounging at Tilt. Only a few more weeks, so come for happy hour ... that being whenever you get off work.

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