Surviving the silly season
With so many Christmas parties on the social calendar at this time of year, keep in mind the work party is the one where you need to watch yourself
I remember at my very first job as a wide-eyed teenager, looking forward to the first ever work Christmas party I was about to attend. As the only teenager working in an office of around 20 staff - all in their 40s and 50s - I was regaled with tales of teens who had come and gone before me at the workplace who used the Christmas party as a venue to get - there's no nice way of putting this - sloshed. As I sat there the day before the Friday night do, I was warned of the ills of binge drinking and making a right fool of myself. So, the night of my first ever Christmas party, I sat back and watched the office of adults indulge in Christmas cheer, whilst I sipped slowly on my lone glass of sauvignon blanc vowing never to do it again. And for those that know me and know I like to partake in a Christmas sherry or two, I still do try and restrain myself at a work function.
At Christmas time, the urge to get "merry" is all too hard to resist, especially when someone else is paying for the booze. When you are invited to a work Christmas party, your internal alarm goes off for two reasons. One says ever so loudly: "Must Not Get Drunk In Front Of Boss", while the second one goes off even louder: "Free Champagne! Free Champagne! Free Champagne!" And who can honestly resist trying to soak up a bit of the booze with some h'orderves?
Christmas parties thus become a veritable trap for those who like to have a drink or two and for those of us prone to the internal battle of "must stay appropriate" and the "but it's free booze" debate. Staying sober and appropriate is all too hard when a waiter is on hand topping up your champagne flute. But, there is a serious side to Christmas parties too. At a function put on by your workplace, you still need to act as you would in the workplace so with that are the same OH&S regulations that apply during working hours. At the end of the day, you are still at work and you need to treat the Christmas party as if you are.
Red, red, wine
One of the first things to watch out for at a Christmas party is the amount you drink. Drink as if you were driving, so one every hour and drink plenty of water in between. Try to keep an eye on people topping up your drink, otherwise you will wonder how your one glass of wine has lasted all night. And yet, the room is spinning.
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
Overindulging leads to the over saturation of too much info. Try and stick with safe topics at Christmas parties like sport, books, and film - stay away from politics, religion and sex. No one wants to hear the story of why your children dislike you, no colleague wants to spend the night in a corner with you consoling you over your latest break-up and no one wants to know your deep, dark family secrets - it's Christmas people, cheer up. If you feel yourself welling up during the night, that's a sure fire sign it's time to get into a cab. Same thing if you feel something else coming up, like that night's dinner. Taxi!
While many may think that the Christmas party is the perfect time to act on year-round flirtations with a colleague, it's really not. Neither is it a good time to start a new workplace romance. Although some people can say we met at work, very few will actually say "we fell in love after we did it at the Christmas party". Taking it upon yourself to flirt with any stakeholders or clients, or allow a superior staff member to do so is not on. Sexual harassment in the workplace is not tolerated and this is no different for the Christmas party.
Dress you up
Some people will use the Christmas party as an excuse to get out of the nine-to-five corporate attire and truly let their hair down with a jaw-dropping club hopping outfit extravaganza. Ummmm, no. This is not the forum to show everyone your fake tan, wonder bra, underwear of any kind, abs of steel, etc etc. Sure you can get out of the shackles of the corporate suit but still dress appropriately, that means no ripped jeans for men and no latex thigh-high boots for the ladies, complete with corset and fishnets.
You can call me Al
Have you got a buddy at work? Someone who will be honest with you at all costs? If the answer is yes, then take advantage of them - in a good way. Make a pact before the night that you will look after them and them you. If either of you get out of control with the booze, or flirt a bit too much, tell someone your life story, then be there for each other to get out of the situation.
Send me an angel
So you survived your work's Christmas party. Remember, whatever dance moves you chose to boogie on down to, whatever crazy rapping you did to the karaoke track, as long as you didn't harm, offend or upset anyone, you are safe. If you feel as though you may have gotten a tad inappropriate or told a few stories to the CEO, then the best thing to do is apologise for you behaviour. Above all, your Christmas party is there as a night to celebrate your working year. Don't forget in all this to ultimately have fun and enjoy yourself.
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