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The Office Christmas Party

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
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Office Christmas Party
Image courtesy of Ambro / Freedigitalphotos.net

We hear so many stories about ‘what went on at the office Christmas party,’ but I wonder how many office parties are really like that. The ones that I have been to in the past have been rather sedate affairs with most people behaving themselves rather well and those who do partake of a little too much Christmas cheer tend to just talk a lot and make a mess.

Office Christmas Party
Image courtesy of Stockimages / Freedigitalphotos.net

The office Christmas party can be a stress-free and fun event if it’s planned right. The first thing is to determine when and where. I tend to prefer the option of meeting at a local hotel or restaurant – not too posh for those who might feel a little uncomfortable or can’t afford it – but also not too casual, so that the party animals don’t get too carried away.

Office Christmas Party
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / Freedigitalphotos.net

One of the most uncomfortable Christmas parties I ever attended was a lunch held at a winery. We were to pay for our own meals, but the only thing on offer were expensive antipasto platters for two, and since I was the only single person there and couldn't afford one on my own (and don’t really eat antipasto), I paid a few dollars toward another couple’s meal and picked a few bits off their platter. The wines were expensive, so I had juice and sat quietly watching my colleagues trying to out-impress each other with their knowledge of wines and their skills in ‘correct wine-tasting procedure.’ I thought it was all a bit toff and show-offy.

People At Restaurant
Image courtesy of Stockimages / Freedigitalphotos.net

If you intend to go all out with food and alcohol, then it’s probably a good idea to have your party on the last day of work before Christmas – or at least on a Friday or Saturday night so that your staff can have some time to recuperate before the next work day. It might be a wise idea is to provide a certain number of drinks and then everyone is responsible for their own. That way you can’t be held responsible for anyone overdoing it.

If you do want to have your function at work, why not just order pizza and have a few beers? Nothing fancy and no pressure – no-one feeling that they have to contribute freshly baked shortbread or mince pies or feeling guilty for turning up with store-bought dip and crackers.

Young People Eating Pizza
Image courtesy of Ambro / Freedigitalphotos.net

But do we even need to have an office party? How many of your staff really want to celebrate Christmas together? With all the other functions and festivities happening around that time they may prefer some time off instead. Why not let them finish work early one day or take a longer-than-usual lunch break. They might appreciate that more. Maybe instead of spending money on a party, why not surprise them with a small Christmas bonus? These are things I would prefer.

Maybe the thing to do is to put it to a vote. Send your staff a questionnaire with a few options and see what the majority prefer – and give them the choice to participate or not.

#Business Management
#Managing Staff
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I never attended a Xmas office party.

Didn't want to see people for whom I'd respect in the office, make fools of themselves, in various ways.

The snippets of feedback I heard afterwards, proved my action was correct, for me.

I also didn't believe in 'socialising' with work colleagues', as I'd seen some absolutely disastrous outcomes, over the years'.
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