The agony and the ecstasy of: your work Christmas party

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It’s that time of year again. They’ve emailed the invitations. They’ve booked the venue and hunted down your RSVP.

It’s your work Christmas party. Depending on your place of work, their budget for things like this, your outlook on Christmas and your general attitudes to social gatherings, you will either jump for joy or wallow in a pit of despair. But if you’re a little from column A and a little from column B, like myself, it’s possible to find both agony and ecstasy in this forced occupational interaction.

The Agony:

Spending time with your boss

I know there are workplaces where everyone is friends with everyone, your boss is ‘one of us’ and everything is just peachy. Well, it’s fair to say, this is not the average workplace. At your Christmas party, you will inevitably run into whoever is in charge and you will need to act polite/competent/sober in front of them. You can achieve this by being polite/competent/sober as a person, or if you’re none of those things, exchange a quick pleasantry and explain that you must excuse yourself to go follow up with Johnson about finalising that account thing. That way, you seem super dedicated, little do they know that ‘following up with Johnson’ means finding your mate Tim to go gets some shots.

Being social

Uggh people. That’s my general reaction anyway. At these events you are expected to socialise with everyone because it’s imperative to know that Carol from HR is going to Rye for New Years as a passive aggressive dig at her sister for not inviting her the year before. I enjoy a chat in the staff kitchen as much as the next person, but I enjoy it because you only need to fill up around thirty seconds because that’s how long it takes me to make my coffee. But the whole party revolves around being social due to the fact you’re all taking that week off in between Christmas and New Year and honestly, who knows when you’ll see each other next? Oh yeah, you’ll see them on Monday by the supply cupboard. I find drinking heavily helps with this particular agony.

Speaking honestly (while intoxicated)

What goes hand-in-hand with drinking heavily? Drunk talk. In fact, it’s more than hand-in-hand, those two things are making sweet, sweet love and producing babies of regret. We all think we’re doing everyone a massive favour by finally telling them the truth/pointing out an issue/sharing our great idea etc. But let’s cut to the chase, you’re not doing anyone any favours, so keep your mouth shut. Shut it right up! Open it occasionally to drink and nibble on the mini quiche. Think about it, if it wasn’t worth sharing when you’re stone cold sober, it is generally not worth sharing. Unless you’re declaring your undying love for a co-worker and needed the Dutch courage, but even then, it’s dangerous.


The Ecstasy

Free stuff

Hopefully your company has sprung for some kind of bar tab and catering. Or maybe you had to buy a ticket to attend. Either way, it’s better value than a night out, so stock up. That bread roll? Eat it. The bowl of Christmas chocolates on the bar? In your pockets. That decorative reindeer? It belongs in your bag. You’ve paid to be there/worked your arse off all year, the least they can do is let one lowly reindeer escape, awkwardly, into your clutch.

Let loose

Speaking of working your arse off, you have! Well done! You deserve a night out, so don’t worry about tomorrow or whenever you’ll see these people next. Grab some tinsel, wear it around your neck like a Hawaiian lei and start a conga line. But, make sure you don’t join the admin staff in the Nutbush, that’s a good twelve minutes you won’t ever get back.

Getting your smooch on

Ok, we all know you’ve been digging Matt from accounting. Don’t try to deny it! We see the way you look at each other over those invoices. The Christmas party is the perfect time to make it happen. Everyone is (mostly) in a good mood and they’re too busy stealing reindeers to notice what you’re up to. Start chatting, ramp up the flirt and suggest you go outside for some fresh air, or something. Hopefully he’s not a complete goose and knows he has the green light and goes for it.*

*Disclaimer: There will most likely be some kind of backlash from your budding romance, so be prepared. There is a chance that after you kiss/go home together that nothing eventuates. Then all you are left with is people whispering behind your back and awkward encounters when you run into him at the photocopier.

So enjoy yourself! Your team really deserve it after you landed that big account with the company that sells that stuff. Just a friendly reminder, you will see these people the following week. If you’re concerned about your potentially reputation ruining behaviour, I am available for chaperone hire. I charge a flat fee for each party: a decorative reindeer and a bread roll.


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Fi is a writer and editor for The Merry Go Round. She enjoys sunshine, singing in the car and viewing the glass as half full (of wine)