What would we do without Operation Red Nose and taxi cabs this time of year?
One of the great things about Christmas is the annual Christmas party with your co-workers. This can be as simple at a pot-luck meal with drinks at someone’s house to as complicated as a hotel ballroom decked out for a staff of 150, complete with construction of an English pub next to a set of the Starship Enterprise.
I actually went to a party for of of the country’s largest broadcasters that had the bridge of the Enterprise built next to a replica of a pub.
However the Christmas party committee in this particular company met twice a week after August long weekend so you know how much work got done. Office holiday parties are one of the rare times when co-workers let their guard down and you can see how weird people really are.
Needless to say, not all parties are created equal, but one thing is for certain. If you work with a group of people for more than 50 per cent of your work week, you are essentially obliged to attend the staff Christmas party, especially if it is on the company tab.
Christmas parties where the company asks you to join its fellow employees then ask you to pay for your meal and drinks are exempt. It’s in the best interest of the company to have you and your co-workers share some Christmas cheer, and while booze is a big tab, simply contributing to the meal in some way is the least a company can do to spread some Christmas cheer. And build a base for employees who might otherwise not eat and then drink too much.
However the company-sponsored Christmas party is quickly becoming a thing of the past. As companies cut back and corporations watch the year-end bottom line, many don’t get the bonus of a Christmas party. For those that do, we should not take it for granted, and it’s important you attend.
However it’s important you also abide by these rules:
1. Sour Puss is a drink, not your attitude.
Put aside all your office gripes and grumbles and get into the spirit of the party. The only way out of an office party is if you are sick, really sick and if you are really sick, stay home but don’t forget to call and give your regrets *cough, cough*.
2. Don’t be the last to show. Or be so early you’re watching your watch at the bar.
You don’t want to be there before the party starts with Betty the Brown Noser or the last one to leave with Larry the Lush. Keep to the time on the invitation and use that time as an appointment target. Like you were going to the doctor or dentist. But if the party you’re going to is as fun as a prostate exam you’ve got bigger troubles.
3. Careful on casual, and remember its not the Oscars.
Unless it is the Oscars. Really? A $1,000 gown to the staff party? Always err on the side of modesty. And unless you work at a nudist colony, make sure that your outfit isn’t too revealing.
4. Don’t be Larry the Lush or Bob the Bragger.
It’s important not to spend all night talking about work or how great you are, and fight the temptation of an open bar and drink in moderation. Some get it in their head that shirts are optional. You don’t want to do the walk of shame to your desk on Monday morning. Remember, everyone has a smartphone now which means pictures.
5. Avoid the Big Three: Politics, religion and money.
Many a good career has gone up in flames from political or religious debates. Not sure if this rule applies if you are at a party for a church you work for, a bank or a politician. I would think there’s no avoiding it. Otherwise the weather is always a safe topic. Dance instead. The co-workers you expect to be terrible dancers really are terrible dancers.
6. Keep your hands to yourself.
Office romances cause problems if they don’t work out. And remember, the guy with the mistletoe hat who thinks he really CAN kiss anyone he wants, could be lookin’ for work Monday. Or worse, work and a lawyer.
7. Never think of driving.
Unless you’re going to be sober for the evening, as in no booze. Operation Red Nose or take a cab. For those out of town, cabs go anywhere for any price. I can tell you I’ve taken a cab from Clear Lake to Brandon and it was $160. A DUI fine is a minimum $500. The cab is always cheaper and you’re better broke then dead. Please play safe, but have fun. And enjoy your company Christmas party!
JOKE THIS WEEK
Subject: Christmas Party
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
DATE: Dec. 1
I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on Dec. 23, starting at noon in the banquet room at Luigi's Barbecue. No-host bar, but plenty of eggnog! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols. And don't Be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus!
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director DATE: Dec. 2 RE: Christmas Party
In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time.
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director DATE: Dec. 3 RE: Holiday Party
Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table ... you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads "AA Only" you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this? Somebody?
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director DATE: Dec. 7 RE: Holiday Party
What a diverse company we are! I had no idea that Dec. 2 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours.
Perhaps Luigi's can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party — the days are so short this time of year — or else package everything for take-home in little foil swans. Will that work? Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Did I miss anything?
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director DATE: Dec. 8 RE: Holiday Party
So Dec. 22 marks the Winter Solstice…what do you expect me to do, a tap-dance on your heads? Fire regulations at Luigi's prohibit the burning of sage by our "earth-based Goddess-worshipping" employees, but we'll try to accommodate your shamanic drumming circle during the band's breaks. Okay???
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director DATE: Dec. 10 RE: Holiday Party
Vegetarians!? I've had it with you people! We're going to keep this party at Luigi's Barbecue whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," so you'll get your freaking salad bar, including hydroponic tomatoes. But they have feelings too. Tomatoes scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream right now!
FROM: Teri Bishops, Acting Human Resources Director DATE: Dec. 14 RE: Pat Lewis and Holiday Party
I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Pat Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness and I'll continue to forward your cards to her at the psyciatric hospital. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay. Merry Christmas.
Jennifer Hannah Flett
Natalie Percy (happy belated)
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 14, 2013