Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Christmas: A time for partying

So, the festive season is upon us – and that means Christmas parties galore.

People have mixed opinions about Christmas parties – a pseudonym for drunkenness and debauchery during the festive season. On the one hand, they are great for morale and team bonding in the work place, especially during the current economic climate (and a free meal and unlimited free alcohol is always a plus). On the other hand, the mention of a Christmas party always brings a cringe factor as the hazy recollection of the shenanigans from the previous year return.

Why do we think it is really a great (no, exceptionally brilliant) idea to make out with the pimply admin intern (whose name you don’t even know), or inform your boss of his poor leadership skills, or use the photocopier for reasons other than copying paper?

I recently went to an industry Christmas party where the majority of people were unknown to me – good that I was anonymous; bad that some could be potential future bosses. I behaved myself, others did not. But what an interesting mix of people. You’ll always get the people who have to name drop (that’s nice that you’ve interviewed Brad Pitt!), then there are those who have to justify their current career direction, and those who have egos twice the size of their head, and those that try it on with several people. I even got informed I might want to consider a boob job – he was a health tourism journalist. By 9.30pm the mojitos were coming fast and furious – and free. I decided it was time to leave.

Everyone has a horror story to tell about a work Christmas party. Mine would be the time everyone thought it was an exceptionally brilliant idea to play drinking games in the presence of our boss. In hindsight (wonderful thing that) it was not such a good idea.

This year was much tamer – though I do feel sorry for the restaurant staff who had to put up with us for nine hours and our poor excuse for singing. Yes it was my idea to sing rounds of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – but how was I to know that it would not sound like Il Divo?

Family Christmas parties practically fall into the same category. Some people love the big get together with extended family. Others hate it with a vengeance, what with all the cooking (and washing up), the lack of privacy and unlimited arguments.

This year, I was invited to an English friend’s family Christmas. It was pretty much like my New Zealand family Christmas, only colder and with considerably more alcohol. I got to meet my friend’s grandparents who were absolutely delightful and after several glasses of brandy had great joy in telling me how to keep my youthful appearance (did you know sticky tape reduces fine lines and wrinkles? It’s apparently true). And then on Boxing Day, we got to do it all again; this time with the added value of trivial pursuit, charades and humming songs. The best team won.

After five days of over eating, consuming more alcohol than the previous two months combined, and extensive television watching, I now get to do it all again for New Year’s. The diet starts next week.

All the best for 2009.

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