Michael Woodward Ph.D.

Spotting Opportunity

The 12 Office Mishaps of Christmas

What happens when the office party gets a little out of hand.

Posted Dec 17, 2017

We are in the final stretch of the holiday party season, which means there is still plenty of time to spread some of that pent-up cheer. Just keep in mind that spreading that cheer can sometimes get the better of us. Here are 12 of those common office party mishaps we’ve all either witnessed or been guilty of ourselves!  

"Woody and Lindsay, used with permission"
Source: "Woody and Lindsay, used with permission"

The Winter Wonder Cube – I’m all for showing your festive side, but there is a point when your cube neighbor’s non-stop electronic Santa’s ho-ho-hoing gets a little unnerving! If you want to keep the peace in cube land be respectful of your peers and keep your personal holiday wonderland in check. Cheer is great, but it’s all about moderation. 

Spiking The Egg Nog – I’ll admit it, I’ve been known to lace my holiday punch with a little rum, but I give all partakers fair warning. It’s essential to make sure everyone knows what they are getting themselves into. When it comes to those party punches, you may want to remember to tip off the intern! Slogging the nog will definitely get them some attention from the boss, just not the kind they need. 

Turning Secret Santa into Freaky Santa – Getting that Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer themed underwear as a secret Santa gift is probably a little too freaky for the office party. Unwrapping that silky undergarment for all to see can be awkward for even the most expressive of us. Keep in mind that not everybody necessarily shares your brand of humor, so try to keep it relatively clean. 

Sharing Your Calories – When the holiday season rolls in, so too does the calorie train. Inevitably, there is always that one person who leaves their gifted holiday treats on the break room counter for everyone to partake in. Is this really an act of altruism or is it a plot to pass unwanted calories of guilt on to the rest of us?

Getting a Little Too Gourmet – Fine foods are always fun, but sometimes they can get a little over the top. Serving gourmet imported reindeer meat to your vegan boss at your holiday party is probably not the best way to climb the corporate ladder. If you want to get creative, be sure to know your audience first.

Proselytizing Your Cheer – Christmas has become so commercialized that we sometimes forget what it’s really about. I believe in spreading cheer and lifting people’s spirits, but don’t get too heavy-handed. It’s always good to be mindful of the other holidays and beliefs that coincide with the season. 

Appointing Yourself as Parson Brown – If I have to explain who Parson Brown is you clearly have never listened to holiday music (look up the song Winter Wonder Land – I like the Annie Lennox version). It’s natural to assume that your coworker’s opposite sex guest at the holiday party is their significant other or spouse, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes single people will bring a “friend” as their “date,” so don’t assume the role of “Parson Brown” and pronounce them married on the spot.

Dropping the Deadline Ball – There is nothing worse than making people work over the holidays. What’s worse are those disorganized coworkers who can’t seem to get their act together in time to make sure you don’t get stuck working Christmas morning. Don’t be that person. Plan ahead!   

Keeping Your Holiday Circle Too Small – Remember in high school when you were the last one to hear about the big weekend party. OK, maybe that was just me. Anyway, the spirit of Christmas is about being an uniter, not a divider. When planning your office party, remember all those folks whose work supports what you do and strive to do what you can to include them in your cheer. The holidays are about inclusion, so boo to you if you forgot all those people who make your life easier.

Hard-selling Your Charity – We all have our causes and yes the season is about giving. However, when charity turns to hard selling, people tend not to feel so good about their gifts. So, don’t push your kid’s cheesy charity gift wrap on your pushover coworkers who are afraid to say no.   

Being too Sexy for Your Santa – Maybe the one-hit-wonder Right Said Fred was too sexy for his shirt, but I doubt you are too sexy for your adult themed Santa suit! Save that funky getup for those “other” after work parties.    

Being the Office Grinch – Mean people are annoying as it is, but a bad attitude during the holidays is particularly annoying. We all have lapses where we take ourselves way too seriously, so just keep in mind that it is the holidays… and yes, it’s a time for cheer! Bottom-line, get over yourself, even if it’s just for a few weeks.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

More Posts