Monday, December 13, 2010

Office parties and bum photocopying myths

After attending the somewhat lackluster affair that passed as the office Christmas Party, I find myself wondering if there’s such a thing as the perfect Christmas party.


I don’t want to knock it too much; which is unusual for me, I know. It was held at a local museum which meant I could take my daughter around to see the fish tanks and alligators without the obligation of paying at some time down the line.

But ‘party’ is indeed a misleading term for these kind of bashes which, I suspect, are just an excuse for a free feeding on a Sunday night. The event ran from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. but senior management were spotted heading for the parking lot shortly before 8 p.m.

A big old, rancid Santa was seen doing the rounds in the overlong food line. Whenever Santa’s involved Sod’s law tends to take over leaving me in the Christmas dog house. I told Zara she’d have to eat her dinner before getting a picture with Santa. Finally when we were ready to seek him out, I saw him slipping out of the door clutching cup cakes in one hand, dripping cigarette ash on his wino beard in the other.

Zara looked upset but her behavior in public is usually impeccable.

In the car on the way home she let me have it with both barrels.

Standing in the never ending line for food observing a colleague who has 13 children, who was obviously using the Christmas party as some kind of relief operation, I started reflecting on those Christmas parties of yesteryear.

I’m sure Christmas parties were a bit wilder in Britain, although I am yet to attend the office party of legend when you come into work the next day to find out fellow office workers have photocopied their bums and left the evidence on the photocopier.

The most lavish Christmas parties I recall were with a former partner who was in the travel business. Instead of the usual no hope raffle, dozens of high value holidays were handed out. The chances of success were about 40 percent which had the unfortunate result that the night produced jubilant winners and bitter losers.

We were bitter losers for two years out of three, but won a holiday to Thailand one year.

These days the only kind of prizes on offer are free tickets to a local comedy night.

In saying that I have a lot of bad memories of work Christmas bashes in the UK; of hundreds of people crammed into mass catering hotels, being forced to eat watery turkey, while drinking the one free glass of Liebfraumilch, which is totally unequal to the task of numbing the realization you have been seated next to the most odious guy in the office and he possesses a wife who is twice as odious.

I guess I shouldn’t complain about my new reality. I got to see a couple of turtles, after all.

12 comments:

  1. Turtles are indeed pretty cool. I don't think I've ever worked in a place filled with cool enough people to have an epic sort of Christmas party. I usually end up being the youngest one, by 20 or so years. I need to find a hipper profession.

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  2. Wow, a holiday to Thailand? Sounds like that's worth a decade or so of horrid parties. xo

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  3. I'd just been thinking about the disadvantage of working from home. There is NO Christmas party, which equates to no watching amorous employees canoodling enthusiastically or arguing viciously (sometimes the same couple). It's one of those things I only miss now it's gone.

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  4. I had been really lucky up until recently with Christmas parties. They were quite lovely affairs. Now however office Christmas parties are starting to wane in my experience. Even the Queen is not having hers this year!

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  5. It's unfortunate that your daughter was disappointed (and that she took out her frustration on you), but it sounds to me like that is one Santa that should have been avoided anyway. Maybe in years to come she will remember it as being fun because of it being in a museum. Something to hope for. :-) I imagine your family Christmas celebration will make up for it to her also.

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  6. I remember the Christmas parties in SA while training in the hospitality industry. Great times and I still blush when remembering those days.

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  7. It is official. You daughter is an angel.

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  8. wish I had that problem Chris, what do you do? Yup Robyn that was rather worth it. Tis true Sue but nobody canoodles at Christmas parties I go to these days. Interesting Frog - well the Queen has always forgotten to invite me. I hope so Daisy, that was an iffy Santa. Say no more Lidia; I bet South Africa was a blast. This is so true Olga..

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  9. You won a trip to Thailand?? I'd go to a couple of heinous parties for that! Wouldn't I?

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  10. it was bearable Deborah; the beds in the Hyatt in Bangkok were a bit over comfy but worth going to the crappy party for.

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  11. I think British christmas parties just generally involve a lot more boose ;) But that's about all parties and outings here, he. I would say american christmas parties are more 'family-orientated'. Good if you have kids (maybe-as to your case), boring if you don't (me). Either way, I think it's more about whether the people there are good company than anything else. Sounds like your office may be a humdinger :(

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  12. ha - no there are some cool people but they don't often attend the Christmas party - thanx for the follow btw - I do miss London.

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