The minefield of Christmas work booze ups

As we pause, midway through the season of excessive everything, by now a great many of you would have embraced the tradition that is the work Christmas party. Scars, both physical and emotional, may be your reminder. Because the work Christmas do is the time to let down your hair, your guard and possibly also your trousers.

penelope whitsonIt’s obligatory fun. And sometimes obligatory fun isn’t. Remember the craze for lawn bowls? That was reasonable fun. Your manager’s need to hit the strip clubs after a few? Up to you to decide what level that hits on the fun scale.

There’s also the joy/horror combo of the secret Santa/Kris Kringle gift exchange. I can tell you right now that it’s no fun whatsoever being the only person in the office not to get a gift at the very public gift giving because the person who drew your name decided not to come in that day.

But for many, what the Christmas party is all about is alcohol. Delicious free booze – practically begging to be gargled like particularly ineffective cough medicine.

There are those that will tell you that half the fun is seeing what your workmates will do when high on the combination that is free food, booze and sun. These are often the same people who enjoy retelling, with exaggeration, exactly how various workmates embarrassed themselves. They take pleasure in others’ discomfort. These people should not be pandered to.

Yes, I’m a being a bit negative, despite making it through this year’s Christmas party reasonably sober and without incriminating pictures. I’ve had my years of total intoxication and 12-hour fully paid booze ups I don’t recall much of and now I want to squash the hopes and dreams of those who would follow in my footsteps and end their evening by falling over and flashing their knickers while under the influence – all in the name of Christmas.

Is it a sad indictment on New Zealand society as a whole that we expect the Christmas party to be a liquor-fuelled mess wholly paid for by the company? Is it really not Christmas unless I’ve pashed a married workmate I don’t find remotely attractive while wearing a Santa hat and ‘dancing’ to Snoopy?

The quite obvious answer is that if people choose to drink heavily, especially if outside on a sunny day, then on their head be it. However, we can be quite pushy as a nation towards those who don’t appear to be drinking enough. Because apparently you can’t have fun unless you’ve had a few first.

What’s the alternative? No Christmas do at all? How Scrooge-like. A friend who runs her own company does non-boozy Christmas parties. This year they’re going kayaking. Not everyone’s cup of tea but then neither is sitting next to an increasingly drunk and opinionated workmate.

You could argue that it’s all about just having a little bit of fun and letting off steam. A reward for a hard year’s work – we deserve this! And it’s such a bonding experience when everyone in your office gets chucked out of a bar together.

Here’s a small reminder of the joy the Christmas party can bring, kindly donated by those who would prefer to remain anonymous.

·       We made a list of people we’d sleep with in the office

·       I realised that although the number of employees had been cut by 50 percent the Christmas party budget had not – so I ordered a $100 cocktail

·       I pashed a married workmate in front of everyone

·       I stole the microphone because the emcee was so annoying

·       I don’t remember getting home

Are you all for the Christmas booze up? Or think the money could be better spent elsewhere? Donated to charity? Your Christmas bonus?

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).