Christmas parties are something that bring me such joy that I could implode. I love them. I love dressing up –- as I write this I am wearing a velvet, glittery dress at my desk –- and I love Christmas songs and I LOVE Christmas food. The endless servings of turkey are fine, I’m totally cool with that. Chuck a stuffing ball my way and I’m anyone’s. In short, I fucking love Christmas and everything associated with it.
But the work Christmas party is a tricky one to maneuver your way through without getting:
- disciplinary action
If you don’t like socializing with your work colleagues on a day-to-day basis, you’re going to hate the forced fun of a Christmas gathering. You’ll sit next to someone boring who you probably actively hate, and push your food around your plate while checking the train times on your phone so you can make a sneaky escape. I luckily have never worked anywhere where I hated the people I worked with, so I’ve never had to suffer this.
The other peril is that you like the people you work with TOO MUCH. I remember an office party a few years ago where I ended up snogging this guy from the IT department (It’s always IT, isn’t it? Do they just look vulnerable or something?), sneaking him out of the party and back to my house where he proceeded to cry all over me and his lack of boner about his ex-girlfriend or his mum or something. I forget. In short, not worth it and the nudges and winks I got the next week were SO mortifying. And I didn’t even shag the guy!
I do love a good, obvious office romance though -– the kind where you watch people get progressively drunker and drunker until they just end up getting off with each other right in the middle of the dance floor publicly even though both are married.
My lowest Christmas Party point has to be in 2008. The year that my housemates and I coined as "The Summer of 100 Pills" due to an overflowing bag of ecstasy that one of them was meant to take to Glastonbury but never ended up bothering to -- instead he left them in a toolbox in his room. Many a hazy summer day was spent dipping into the toolbox and heading down to the beach where my two male housemates would throw pebbles at each other’s heads "because we liked the noise."
It was a lot of fun, but -- needless to say -- not a lot of good quality work got done that year.
I had actually arranged the work Christmas lunch that year. It was to be held in a local village pub, on the Wednesday before we broke up for the holidays. I had booked the table, collected the menu choices from our team of around 20, and arranged a Christmas quiz to pass the house following lunch. It was All Stations ARE GO.
The natural thing to do the night before this lunch was to obviously stay up all night necking pills with one of my housemates and snogging each other and drinking red wine. OF COURSE! Why would that be a bad idea?
So 6am came, and we realized that this was Officially A Bad Day, and we had precisely one hour to go to sleep before getting up at 7 am to prepare for the working day ahead -- and in my case, my Christmas Lunch. After about half an hour of trying to sleep but coming to the crashing realization that this was NEVER going to happen, we attempted to scrub the red wine off our teeth and lips and make ourselves look sane. We looked mental.
As it was December, it was of course freezing cold and there was snow on the ground outside. So what did I choose to wear on one of the coldest days of the year thus far? To my WORK Christmas lunch? Why, a summer maxi dress from H&M and a pair of clear jellies, of course! I vaguely remember looking down at myself when I was on the bus just thinking, "Oh, FUCK." CLEAR JELLIES.
I turned up at work, pretending to be totally normal while completely out of my tree. It was probably completely obvious -- I looked like a total mental case.
Have you ever tried to eat a full roast dinner only mere hours from last ingesting MDMA? DON’T. It is a terrible experience. My jaw! Oh, my jaw.
I remember sitting through it, thinking, this is okay. It will all be over soon. Soon I can leave, and go and sit in my pants and cry. Funnily enough, I never got smashed on a weeknight again. I learned my lesson.
My Christmas parties in recent years have all been much more civilized affairs. This year, I am mainly going to be on best behavior. Probably.
Tell me all about your most embarrassing Christmas Party incidents. I’m sure some of yours can put mine to shame. Come on. Make me feel better for my 2008 self.
Natalie is pretending that the above photo never happened over on twitter -- @Natalie_KateM.