I have finally, after 3 years of frankly hideous disasters, convinced our department not to have a Christmas party.
Somehow my disappearing act wasn’t a big enough clue for my co-worker - I was still badgered into going to another meal the following year. I got as far as the door of the restaurant (the rest of the team were convinced a change of venue might curtail ranting lady), claimed stomach pains, said I needed to go home and went to a friend’s house instead. From what I heard everyone had a delightful time listening to ranty lady rant.
This year I got called a ‘Scrooge’ for being unwilling to spend £40 on a set meal. I’d be reluctant to pay that for a set meal in a restaurant of my choosing with friends – I’m certainly not paying that to be surrounded by people I can barely tolerate in a working environment while eating a Sunday roast! Sorry, a ‘Christmas Lunch’ – apparently replacing the chicken with turkey and adding a few sprouts and a spoonful of cranberry sauce allows you to quadruple the cost. Fortunately my stance allowed the rest of the team to wuss out of the meal while I bore the brunt of the fury of the woman who wrapped everything within a metre of her desk in tinsel at the beginning of November. Seriously, it looks like a Xmas tree threw up over her desk.
We’d like to help you at Squeamish, really we would. If only we knew how this would be a ‘How to get through the Office Party’ post. However, I’m not the only one to dislike Christmas parties (although I’m the first to admit my hatred runs deeper than most) – a quick straw poll of SB writers (and anyone who happened to be standing too near to us when the question arose) lead to these other anecdotes:
Squeamish Louise could not be reached for comment as she was too busy running around filled with childish glee at all the pretty lights and thought of presents to come, but Squeamish Kate said;
My first office Christmas party took place in March under the guise of a staff lunch out with notepads. As we left the restaurant having had a rather gruelling meeting someone asked our boss "what's happening with our Christmas party?" "That was it" replied our boss. HA HA we laughed. We're not laughing now.
A mysterious passing figure (who didn’t want to be identified on pain of pain) says:
I do all I can to avoid Christmas parties, ever since that time I started chatting to a bunch of colleagues when I was a few sheets to the wind and ended up inviting a group of people back to mine for a bit of a pot and charlie session. It was fun, but I had to change jobs shortly afterwards. Not because they caused any trouble, more because I like to compartmentalise my life and wasn't all that keen on working with a group of people who knew that my nickname was Dyson. Not the professional image I like to present.
Christmas Party Survivor X disclosed:
One Christmas party involved a complicated present giving game followed by political argument between the office Republicans and those who supported the Democrats. Someone fell off a bar stool, someone cried, someone punched the boss. I’ve since left the company but I suspect this might become tradition.
And finally to end on a more positive note, Dave (everybody knows one) describes a Christmas party I could get behind;
My party for Christmas 2010 happened in July 2011. We went for a curry. I ate a whole chilli pepper on a dare and it made me cry.
Perhaps I’ll suggest that in future if I get talked into another Christmas party - a simple meal at a time when prices aren’t massively inflated and with the opportunity to inflict pain on others if I get bored.