Christmas party – do you have one planned? Do you love them or hate them?

Whether your workplace is large or small people seem to expect some kind of work Christmas party or celebration. I think year on year you wonder why. Do you really like everyone you work with or are you going because it’s a day out of the office and some free food and drink?? Whatever the reasons for going there’s always someone who has the job of organising the whole thing. I’ve spent many years, before Tides existed and during, organising Christmas party nights. It’s hard work to say the least! Whatever you do, don’t go into this blind to that fact!

Those of you who have organised the office Christmas Party will understand this. Firstly, who is going to organise it? Are you lumbered with it again, for the 5th year running, or are you going to palm it off on someone else this year? But what if you don’t offer and then no-one actually gets a Christmas party at all?? Arrrgghh, what to do?? So you bite the bullet and go for it, then you have to decide on where to go. Do you have a democratic approach where you ask everyone’s opinions and hope that they are all the same as yours (after all, no-one wants to arrange a Christmas party that they won’t actually want to go to) or do you look at some options and make a decision and tell everyone that’s the plan for this year? If you ask everyone’s opinion what do you do if there’s an even spread of options? And what if the option that comes out as the majority choice proves to be VERY unpopular with a few influential people in the workplace (especially if that includes the boss!!!). I have always found the more trouble free option is to look at a few local options for where to have your Christmas party and then chose the one that you think most people will enjoy and be able to attend. Maybe run it past a few people that are a little more senior so that you have backing and then go for it.

So next comes the RSVP management….. and isn’t that a bundle of laughs! Myself, I’m a spreadsheet addict. Everything is organised to the nth degree by good old Excel. I know when the invites went out, if they’ve replied, if they’ve paid their deposit, or maybe even the full balance. I know what they want to eat, what they can’t eat, what they think they chose, and what they actually chose (because when it comes to the evening you can guarantee that people won’t remember!). I know if their partner is coming, and what their place card should say. I know who should sit by who and who DEFINITELY should not sit together!!! I know who they’ve picked in the Secret Santa and when that gift is in the bag ready to be handed out, and I also have spares organised for the people who just happen to forget to buy!!

But then the night comes, and all the hassle seems worth it. People forget the stresses of the workplace and their personalities come out…. probably helped with a bit of wine! People laugh and drink and dance and tell rubbish Christmas cracker jokes and generally talk to people that they wouldn’t talk to on a normal working day. Suddenly hierarchy in the workplace dissolves and senior management are in amongst the front line workers, all having the same fun, all enjoying the Christmas party. And isn’t that what it’s all about – celebrating a lovely time of year with people you spend a great deal of your life with.

Office christmas party memeThe effects last so much longer than that one day. The stories that are talked about for weeks after (you know, the one about Jim who fell off his chair because he’d had too much port, and the one about Marie who broke her heel doing the Cha-Cha Slide and had to walk around barefoot the rest of the night), the quiet looks as you walk past the boss in the hallway (you know, Jim, who is hoping you don’t say anything about him falling off his chair), and the return of general friendships that were there once upon a time but seemed to be a bit strained lately because of the sheer workload you all have right now. I truly think that people should try to go to these events, even if they think their heart isn’t in it.

If you’re the one person who always gets the job then I wish you all the best of luck! Forget the moaners – you’ll never be rid of all of those! Think of the age old saying – you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Just go for it, organise it to the best of your abilities, and then sit back and enjoy your night out. Get your glam and your glad rags on and enjoy your Christmas party.

I won’t be at a work’s Christmas party this year – maybe you could share your stories with me so that I can have a good giggle at yours instead.

Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year…… whatever you are doing to celebrate.
Terri x


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