In every corporate life, a holiday party or two usually falls. Depending upon who plans them, they can be really fun or nothing more than eating a plate full of grocery store bought deli food at your desk. Whatever it is, make the most of the situation, after all, it’s a diversion from the usual workday. That, in itself is cause for celebration. Make the most of the holiday party, whatever kind you have. Hey, it’s free food and entertainment. Especially if your boss has a few too many cocktails and has the sudden urge to sing karaoke. Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the downright bizarre.
A successful holiday party is fun, doesn’t get out of control and those who planned it bought food that everyone liked. Years ago, a publisher threw a big holiday party for all us employees at his country club. We all had a sit down dinner of prime rib or roasted chicken, complete with appetizers and a big sheet cake for dessert. There were flowers and Christmas decorations all around the room, and responsive wait staff there to get us whatever we wanted. It was a lovely experience, ending with everyone getting a free turkey to take home. It was an event that has remained in my mind twenty years later. Now, that was a great party.
One party that was planned by people in our office was kind of laid back. We were all told to bring in whatever we liked, and left it at that. Nobody told one another what we were bringing to the pot luck luncheon. When the day came, every last one of us brought in only dessert! We had cakes, pies, cookies, and more cookies. Pigging out on sweets is fun, but we all yearned for real food, so we wouldn’t just all be bouncing off of walls from a whopping huge sugar rush later. The employees got together and ordered a bunch of pizzas and chicken wings. Those, along with a case of soft drinks made the party complete. Ok, so the whole day was pretty much a waste because we didn’t do any quality work, but we came home full, and with a plate of mixed sweets for our families (we divided up everything so we could do this). Words to the wise, if the party’s lousy, make it a good one in whatever tasteful way that you can.
The completely insane
Many years ago, a company invited me, a temporary employee, to their evening holiday party. It was held in the party room of a well-known local steakhouse. As each of us walked into the big room, we were handed a string of tickets for drinks. Then, we were told that there was an open bar on one side of the room, and each ticket was one hard liquor drink. We all had ten tickets, each. Everyone drank, ate peanuts in the shell or dinner rolls; and waited for everyone to arrive, so that the meal could begin. Then, all heck broke loose.
The young vice president of the company, dressed smartly in his suit, had a few too many drinks. So did his faithful followers and protégé wannabes at his table. The next thing we saw was that table full of executives tossing peanuts at other tables. The peanut stream became an onslaught, with wait staff running for cover as nuts and shells flew through the air. To remedy the rowdiness, the restaurant manager hurriedly told his staff to get the food out, “now!”
Out came the plates, with a steak and baked potato on each of them. Finally, we all thought, time to eat. Unfortunately, the peanut war was now out of hand. There was peanut shrapnel everywhere in peoples’ hair, on tables and all over the floor. The wooden bowls that the peanuts came in had been used by some as makeshift helmets. Running out of ammo and not ready to stop the food fight, the thoroughly plastered execs were now throwing their potatoes! After wolfing down my food, ducking for cover the whole time, I made a run for the exit door, giving my remaining drink tickets to some of the other employees. It was pretty obvious where this was going, so it was best to leave. Sure enough, the next morning they said that the whole party was closed down soon after my leaving. The execs staggered across the street to a hotel bar and kept it going, eventually being kicked out of there by the police. This truly was holiday cheer run amok. It was hilarious but could’ve ended up much worse than it did. At least nobody ended up in jail.
Whatever you do for the holidays, have fun, but not too much fun. Be safe, healthy and enjoy whatever holiday party your office has, since nowadays it seems that many offices don’t do anything at all for their employees. Whatever tradition your co-workers and you practice, keep it clean so you won’t regret it the next day. If the bosses get nuts like mine did, then sit back and enjoy the show. Just keep your drinks at a minimum, since you don’t want to be talked about and remembered for anything crazy in the future. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Party on.