My thoughts on Christmas Parties.
So, This is Christmas!
Have you been tasked to organise the office Xmas party? Are you sitting at your desk recalling previous years and the crazy combination of office Christmas party traditions? Have you grasped and struggled to do something on-trend, up-beat and interesting to lift the wintry season for everyone?
First of all, imagine the office Xmas party scene at roughly 11pm …
“T’is the season to be jolly” sing office workers carolling the only use of apostrophe invective still being used in modern language. The junior staffers struggle, bleary eyed, yet cheerfully tongue-tied, to rise up from the dinner table after three glasses of wine. They’ll out-do everyone later – on the dance floor. Everyone has a little gossip about the sad ones who didn’t attend this year, while those in question stay home watching Robson Green and that film about Xmas lights and the neighbours. Meanwhile the shops glimmer and glisten outside the restaurant windows and tinsel-rays catch everyone’s eyes. The girls quaff champers and mulled wine expelling infectious giggles as grown men in Santa outfits cry “ho-ho-ho” at random intervals throughout the evening. This is the stuff Christmas is made of.
Xmas Office Party Essential Tips
1. Create the mood of the party according to age-appropriate criteria. No-one wants to be surrounded by elves in fishnets (male or female), so be aware you will encounter seasonal cross-dressers if part of your office party itinerary is a pub crawl encompassing All-Bar-One. For meeting up before dinner, try a nice, wooden-panelled real ale pub. Historical venues seem to neutralise nylon costumes.
2. Secret Santa is an idea that never loses its shine. There’s a couple of things to be aware of though, if you are doing the usual method of a lucky-dip of names. There’ll always be one perv who thinks it is funny to give out lingerie thongs. Other complicated scenarios include coffee mugs labelling others as stressed out, arrogant, or sexually active, pens that do complicated acts which may or may not involve Mrs Claus, and the gift that keeps on giving – last year’s chocolate body-putty pot.
British humour, combined with Secret Santa ritual gift-giving, is designed to some-how summarise a person’s personality or deliberately offend. Let the troops have their fun to a certain extent or risk being labelled “party-pooper”. Do some research around the office to see what people think is too far, and if you think something might cause your employers to call their personal indemnity lawyers, ban it by setting out Secret Santa rules.
3. Ask for some funding towards the party, or at least a bit of subsidy, explaining to your boss that any gift coming from the company at Christmas will be warmly received and perceived as a special treat by employees. Who doesn’t want happy staffers at Christmas time? Who doesn’t want to be adored? Even the most frugal boss can be convinced by a good public relations argument. You can spend the money on rounds, champers, party bags, bits of costume Xmas paraphernalia or entry to the after-party.
4. Invite everyone to the party. Christmas is not a time to exclude anyone, and even the most sober office-Joe will be offended if they don’t get a personal invite. Emails are good, but so are printed invites, so use your creative skills to market the event. Join forces with other departments if possible to up the numbers, and perhaps create a Xmas competition of some sort or a themed night. The more people that attend the office Christmas party the less focus on you as the organiser. People make the party and no matter where you have it, lots of people equals lots of fun and laughter.
5. It’s a fundamental error not to have the Xmas party near a disco venue of some description. It doesn’t have to be right in front of you while eating, no matter how much Ian from Accounts is offering to table-dance, it just has to be nearby and ready for your wild pack of co-workers to descend upon it at a pre-arranged time. Once you’ve got the herd into the disco venue the night is yours and you can let go and enjoy yourself. For the more unscrupulous among you this is also the time to get out your cameras!
The British office Xmas party is the event of the year. It is for everyone from the top bosses to the lowly worker-bees, and an important recreational event for all the firm. If you’ve been tasked to organise it this year, be inspired and be inventive but remember, there’s always going to be tears, tinsel and terrible dance moves – and that’s what makes it Xmas, after all!