Friday, December 18, 2009

Party time

It certainly seems to be THAT time of year again. Time to dress up in clothes clearly unsuitable and insufficient considering the weather/temperature, drink mulled wine and tolerate the company of people you spend most of your days with anyway. It is, of course, the office Christmas party time. I know I say office, I mean work in general. I don't work in an office. We do have an office but it is a little more than a glorified cupboard, really.

See, we thought we weren't having a
Christmas party for staff this year on account of it having been a bad year all around as well as our company having been leased to an outside party. I'm not saying the new "owners" aren't the type of people to deny their staff a party, but it has been a transition with quite a few characteristic teething problems to say at least. It hasn't been an easy year, so we thought maybe they were going to spare us the trouble of getting dressed up and spending time with people we're only getting to know as it is. Secretly we were all just a little bit relieved. This meant no wardrobe crisis, no shoe crisis, no hair crisis, make up crisis... well you get the point. You can tell I'm a girl, right?

Anyway, I returned to work last week after 6 glorious days off, sat down in my glorified cupboard and was met with an email from our newly-appointed GM informing me of a
Christmas party this coming Sunday. (which I now realise is the day after tomorrow) The party is at a quite a lovely hotel in the city, a hotel owned by our boss, hardly a coincidence there. We're all invited to eat, drink and stay free of charge. Having gathered my jaw up from beside my feet, I read the email again just to make sure I had got it right. I had. Free of charge. In a 4 star hotel. Fantastic.

At this very moment the "
Christmas party crisis" -part of my brain went into overdrive. I'm sure there was a little puff of smoke rising up from the vicinity of my left ear. It meant I had less than a week to find an outfit, sort out my hair, book an appointment with my beautician, organise lifts, colour co-ordinate my outfit of choice with my make up bag and SO MUCH MORE! All of this was obviously on top of the usual Christmas arrangements such as Christmas cards, shopping, wrapping and this year, since Mr S and I are staying in Ireland, sending the bought and wrapped presents to my friends and family.

Office parties are tricky to say at least. It really is a lose-lose situation to many people. If you decide to be sensible, not have any alcoholic beverages and in general just to behave yourself, you're running the risk of being perceived as a bit of a bore. And there's of course the added disadvantage of having to listen to the drunken rendition of "Fairy Tale of New York" for the umpteenth time, grinning manically and trying to pretend it's just as hilarious as it was the first couple dozen times. If, on the other hand you're one of the people singing said much loved classic after your ninth glass of mulled wine and a few shots later, you probably will be considered a little bit of a liability.

I usually fall on the latter category. There is a degree of drunkenness at which I will inevitably start singing. I cannot help it. I have gotten up on stage in pubs and clubs, informed the actual artist performing that it was MY TURN and proceeded to sing a song of my choice. I know I do this, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I can sing, by the way, so all is not lost I suppose.

Wardrobe crisis was averted after chatting to a few colleagues. Blaming the recession, I have shamelessly recycled an outfit worn to a party earlier on this year. Few new accessories later it will look appropriately seasonal without breaking the bank. Maybe new shoes. I could do with another pair of ankle boots, I'm sure. See? Some things never change.

The reason this year's party will be different is the fact that we don't know everyone there as well as we'd like. In the years gone by, our staff has been a bit like a family. A family of over 80 members in the high season, with about 35 permanent, full time staff. We all know
each other well enough to be able to make complete fools of ourselves and then laugh about it together the following day while nursing one of the hangovers of the decade. This year will be different, however. Everyone seems to be feeling like we're going to be judged based on our behaviour on the night. Maybe we will, maybe we won't. I, for one, have already decided on my song. Bring on the wine, good people!

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