Office Holiday Hilarity

16 Dec

Letterbalm Office Holiday PartyDear LetterBalm: It’s office-party season again, and I’m not looking forward to it. Our company is small, and celebrations are considered good activities that help employees bond. In fact, our summer picnic, where families are invited and games are played, is a lot of fun. But the holiday party is dumb. It takes place at a local restaurant, and everybody is expected to stand up and tell a (clean) joke – the best jokes win silly prizes. The boss is Santa, there’s a grab bag, and, well, it’s just too stupid for adults. Every year, I put on a fake smile and try to show some Christmas spirit. What can I say to co-workers who insist that everybody laugh and participate?

–Not Scrooge, Just Not a Jerk

Aw, c’mon. What do you do? You laugh and participate. You say you enjoy the summer picnic; why not do the same for the holiday fete? Yours actually sounds like a more imaginative version of the ye olde quaff-and-grope at which strange liaisons occur and careers are wrecked. Ms. L.B. could write a tome about office parties and if “holiday” really should replace “Christmas” and how revelries must be respectful of all traditions and cultures. But one thing is sure: Well-planned parties are, indeed, excellent ways to build team spirit in the workplace. Why don’t you make it your business to quietly work up a really good joke, a funny story, for the competition every year? You can become the office holiday raconteur, the person your colleagues can’t wait to hear. Your deadpan, reluctant delivery will just add to the hilarity. (LetterBalm suggests you Google “Christmas with Louise” for inspiration.) Otherwise, here are the kinds of harmless topics to keep you talking with your fellow partygoers:

  • What are your plans for Christmas/Kwanzaa/Chanukah?
  • My family is one of the few that has goose for Christmas dinner. It’s a tradition that started decades ago with my uncle who came from England to live here. Yep, I know how to roast a goose.
  • Jack was the big winner of the joke contest last year. Do you think he’ll do it this time?
  • My sister and her husband are going to the Caribbean for Christmas this year. The family made a big deal of it because we think Christmas can only mean snow and pine trees.

You get the idea.

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