Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Every Crunch Has A Silver Lining. Part 1: The Demise of the Office Christmas Party

Now here's a thing. Owing to the Credit Crunch, companies have been finding ways to cut back, and some are achieving this by not having Christmas parties this year.

The odd thing is, people seem to think this is bad. There can be only 2 explanations for this:
1. These people have never been to an office Christmas party, or
2. They were so drunk they passed out before it started.

Now, WhyNotSmile is not a big one for parties in any case, but I ask you: is there any worse party than an office Christmas party?

Having successfully avoided work for quite some time, I have only ever experienced 3 working Christmases, and here is how they went:

Year 1: Christmas Party at Cayenne (posh restaurant in Belfast, which I believe has now closed). This wasn't a bad one for an introduction to such things, but it wasn't so great either. Firstly, it was held so early in the year that we ended up going out for Christmas lunch about a month later and it still not being the last day of work before Christmas. Secondly, the service was fairly slow: one of the tables didn't even get dessert (not my table though, so this doesn't really count as a problem). Thirdly, there were the drunken rantings of colleagues which had to be vigorously denied as soon as we all got back to the office. There are some things I simply do not need to know, and where your children were conceived is one of them.

Anyway, that wasn't too bad, especially as I managed not to be at the table with the boss (always the nightmare at these things).

Year 2: Christmas Party at Ten Square (somewhat less posh but still quite nice restaurant in Belfast). On Christmas Eve. With about 3000 other people in a room designed for 100. Of course, because it was so close to Christmas, various people from the office had already begun their journeys home for the holidays, and couldn't make it; we managed to reach that critical mass of party abstainers beyond which everyone else refuses to go because there aren't enough people they like going. Also, lots of people had just left, so the office was down on numbers anyway. In a moment of feeling sorry for the organisers, WhyNotSmile caved in, and so found herself at a cosy table for 2 with The Boss, The Boss' Boyfriend, Nice Manager, Colleague Who Will Do Anything For Free Food, and Colleague Who Is Good Craic And Was Therefore Forced To Come Despite Being So Ill He Could Barely Sit Up. Oh, and some crackers.

So I end up in a corner opposite The Boss and The Boss's Boyfriend, and we're all wearing party hats and she attempts to make conversation while he eats everything that's not nailed down. We tell each other the jokes from the crackers and laugh furiously at them. At the far end (although 'far' is a relative term when you're so close to the person next to you that you can only raise your arms in unison) was Ill Colleague, who looked like he might die any minute. The place was hiving, and they clearly couldn't get rid of us fast enough: the meal started at 6.30 and I was on the bus home by 7.45 (having downed 3 courses plus tea and little chocolate things).

Year 3: didn't go, so can't tell you.

1 comment:

Virtual Methodist said...

My wife used to always end up (being the only sober one and a Christian to boot) as the agony aunt at her office Christmas parties, with a long line of colleages wanting to cry on her shoulder... She always came home wrecked... She would have been better off drinking!!! I always tried to avoid Christmas parties... not a big party animal...