In a recent, horrifying study, I learned that more than 50 percent of employees don’t look forward to their employer’s annual office party. And let me tell you, I was shocked — it was almost as emotionally taxing as the time I found out that Christmas music can be bad for your mental health. (My Christmas-obsessed-Mariah-Carey-between-the-months-of-October-and-January friend wouldn’t speak to me for a week after I sent her that article…).
So if Christmas is a time of cheer, then why are there so many Scrooges out there?
My estimation is that there’s an expectation-vs-reality meme going on here. People imagine their office Christmas party to look something like the left, but then their dreams are shattered when it ends up like the one on the right.
Or maybe it’s because something happens to people when they spy the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow. Aside from giving the lustre of mid-day to objects, the Christmas season tends to make people into either the best or the worst versions of themselves. It brings something out of them, something I can only sum up as the 8 people you’ll meet at an office Christmas party. They are as follows:
1. The Ghost of Christmas Parties Past
Silent Night’s got nothing on this party guest. One moment they’re mainlining Chardonnay and asking about your dog, the next they’re gone without a trace. We all envy this person and their phantom-like qualities, particularly when encountering party person #3 and #7.
Can be overheard saying: “Look, there’s Santa Claus!” before flying away like a flash
2. The suddenly-a-good-dancer?
Avert your eyes because Wendy from Accounting just found out that Sir Mix-a-Lot is playing. Hang on… she’s actually pretty good? Whoa, Wendy, were you an extra in Step Up in a past life?
Can be overheard saying: *panting*
3. The Shop Talker
For this guest, the holiday party is just another meeting and the dancefloor is the conference room. If you get stuck in a tête-a-tête with this partygoer, just play along. Nod vigorously, and I can’t stress this enough: Log. Those. Hours.
Can be overheard saying: “Pain point, something something, Q4, something something, innovation…”
4. The Hors d’Oeuvres Smuggler
Pocketing deviled eggs has never gone well for anyone, but that doesn’t stop this party patron. The moment the canapés hit the floor, this guest is always first in line. And second. And third. Ever wonder why you always miss out on those pork butt sliders? Now you know.
Can be overheard saying: “Does anyone know how to get aioli out of genuine leather? Asking for a friend.”
5. The Secret Admirer
You all know and love this sweet-talking party guest. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but good ol’ compliments ain’t bad either. The Secret Admirer is that one co-worker who you might not ever talk to the other 364 days of the year, but on this one day, they seem to know your whole life story — and they’re absolutely living for it.
Can be overheard saying: “Have I ever told you… how much… I respect you…”
6. The Cinderella Story
Sometimes the rustiest of spare change can shine up like a new penny. At least, that’s the case with this partygoer. We’re all familiar with the colleague who wears the same fleece half-zip and fur-lined Crocs every day, and yet somehow also turns out a major look once a year. It’s like they’ve been saving all their try-to-look-nice juice for this one night and they’re putting it all on red. You’ll almost forget that this princess/prince is going to turn back into a pumpkin on Monday. But you know what? Comfort is key. And glass slippers leave blisters.
Can be overheard saying: “Oh, this old thing?”
7. The Conspiracy Theorist
Did you know that over 79 percent of people working in marketing say they’ve witnessed a colleague say something inappropriate at an office holiday party? Snitches! Let’s be real, we’ve all been this partygoer at least once in our lives. This is the person who starts off jokingly saying that Mark Zuckerberg is listening to all our conversations and then somehow is elbow-deep in a rant about the fact that Avril Lavigne was replaced in 2003. Wait, that sounds kind of specific…
Can be overheard saying: “Are we talking about podcasts? You have to listen to Zodiac.” You know who you are.
8. The Lone Plus One
Ah, to be a plus-one at an office holiday party. We know them, we love them, we married them. But there’s always that one who inevitably loses his or her partner throughout the night. This person signed up to be a turtledove, not a partridge, you feel me? If you see this person, hold them and tell them everything’s going to be OK.
Can be overheard saying: “Has anyone seen my wife?” and looking nervous.
Maybe you know one of these people, or maybe you’re one of them. Either way, we hope you have a safe and fun festive season. From our fam to yours: Happy Holidays to everyone except Avril Lavigne’s clone.