Christmas parties, or more specifically office Christmas parties are usually a disaster. I’ve been to so many I’ve lost count. Something embarrassing usually happens during the course of nearly every one I’ve been to.
Once, when I was young and foolish and had just had a promotion onto the senior level of staff, I blotted my own copy book and got so drunk I had to be taken home by the personnel manager, who had to stop his car on the way to my house so I could be sick in the gutter. I think it took me at least two years to live that one down. I never did it again, of course, but the stigma lived on for years.
The next year in the same company, I was lucky enough to be on the top table with the directors, and we enjoyed the hospitality suite, in the hotel where our dinner and dance was held, for drinks before and after the dance. I was on my best behaviour that year, after my misdemeanor of the previous year, but unfortunately one of our directors had too much to drink that time and ended up clocking the managing director one in the eye. Unsurprisingly, he had resigned from office when we went into work the following Monday.
Then there was the year when one of the very pregnant secretaries went to the Christmas dinner and dance, started jiving with another workmate and proceeded to give birth there on the dance floor halfway through the evening. They did actually get the ambulance to arrive before the whole procedure was complete, but I think it scarred for life our office men folk who were involved, and no other expectant mother has ever been allowed to go to the dinner and dance in that company again.
Of course, no office party is complete without the ‘secret Santa’ present. One year I was unlucky enough to draw my boss’s name out of the hat. What could I get him? He was a miserable git, so I thought I’d liven things up a bit and I popped into Ann Summers to see what they had. I found a Santa’s hat and matching willie warmer for a fiver, which was the amount I was supposed to be spending. Being egged on by my husband, I couldn’t resist the temptation. After all, it was a ‘secret’, wasn’t it? Wrong. I hadn’t bargained for the fact that everyone else would admit who they had bought a present for which, by process of elimination, left muggins being the one who had bought the present for the boss. Oops! The embarrassment was compounded when, in his innocence, before he found the actual hat in the parcel, my boss placed the willie warmer on his head when he asked what the present was, and one of my colleagues told him it was a Santa hat! I think he looked at me differently after that, but I didn’t stay in that job much longer, I was made redundant in February.
On a similar note, at another office party, one of my idiot workmates bought a packet of condoms as a ‘secret Santa’ present which went into a bag and was pulled out by the staff at random. Unfortunately who should pull that present out of the bag, but a very prim and proper new lady. Someone who knew what the present was offered to do a swap with her, but she insisted on keeping it, and said she would open it on Christmas day. Apparently she did – in front of her husband, her children and grandchildren. She was not best pleased, I can tell you.
So many parties, so many incidents. One couple, both of whom were married to other members of staff, were caught snogging in the back of the office behind the filing cabinets. That incident certainly caused a stir at our office party. However, all ended happily as the offending pair left work in the New Year and went to live elsewhere. The outraged partners commiserated with each other for a while and were married as soon as their divorces came through. There was never a dull moment on the office romance front in that company, because a similar incident happened the very next year. There must have been something in the water there!
I miss the scandals of those office parties now I am retired, but our local social group have our fair share of Christmas parties, and we always have a good knees up. I look forward to our next one, it should be a lively event. I wonder who is going to get the ‘secret Santa’ willie warmer this year, and how they will cope with it!