I went home and mulled over my situation - no family, no office party, and, feeling sorry for myself, invited everyone I knew, well, everyone who operates as or with a solo entrepreneur.
I recommend you try it as an exercise.
Don't wait for next Christmas.
There's nothing to organize.
Pick a diner where you are well-known, well enough for the staff to tolerate an indeterminate number of guests, well-enough that you can overflow to a second table if need be.
A place where one can order a stomach-filling plate of liver-and-onions or a dietary salad, or just a plate of French fries.
Team up with two other people who guarantee to be there, and the three of you make a good party; any extra attendees are the icing on the cake.
We learned lots, including:
1: When seven of you sit over coffee for three hours or more, each person gets a solid chunk of time to be interrogated in depth about what they do; the interrogation reveals more about them than any canned speech.
2: When seven of you sit over coffee for three hours or more, you get to form a deeper relationship than you will at a table at a networking meeting; you come away feeling that you KNOW someone.
3: Even though you email 52 people, the seven that show up are, by definition, the quality folks, those who are willing to spend some time broadening their range of resources and passing on useful help to other net workers.
4: Perhaps the best part: You don't need a speaker, a formal time, an RSVP, or any of that stuff.
"If it weren't for the great food, low cost, and excellent service, I couldn't be bothered coming here" (Chris Greaves 2001)