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Reasons not to avoid the office Christmas party

December 11th, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life, Opinion

By Caresa Alexander

LOGAN—What is it about the holiday season that makes us spend more time with people we wish we could see less of? I am talking about the dreaded office Christmas party.

Don’t misunderstand me, I do like the people I work with, but I see more of them than I do my own family. So as I walked up to USU for the second time that day, the thought, “Why?” raced through my brain. Three reasons to endure such pain came to mind.

These reasons, I’m sure, differ for everyone. My first reason is food. Where else can you get a three-course meal for free? (Home excluded.) Food alone can make me walk through freezing weather and the Valley inversion that stomped on my chest and threatened my lungs.

This attraction was confirmed as I caught a glimpse of the stuffed mushrooms. I love that fungus. And the shrimp cocktail and veggies. That sure beat the bag of chips that would have been an appetizer at my house.

The main dish was more than grilled steak from the freezer and a can of creamed corn from the food storage. The Copper Mill catered the office party, and it was great. But I also would have been happy with a Slurpee and hot dog from 7-Eleven.

The third and final course was dessert—cheesecake and something chocolate. I don’t remember what it was called but it was tons better than the Oreos that awaited me at home.

Free food. You can’t ask for much more, except maybe the second reason to attend the office Christmas party.

Money. Some companies give out Christmas bonuses during their holiday parties. We hope not to suffer the same disappointment as Clark W. Griswold Jr., who received a gift enrollment in the “Jelly of the Month” club when he expected cash. But even if you do, it is “better than a kick in the pants,” as my grandparents used to say. At some Christmas parties, you may be forced to play humiliating games in order to win the greenbacks, but I say it’s worth it. These antics may prove profitable for more than just you.

That said, the final reason to attend the Christmas party may be a bit more daring. Undoubtedly there are those parties where someone may do or say something completely inappropriate. Blackmail is a way to prolong the happy memories of the holiday party. Since I missed my company’s last two Christmas parties, I had the opportunity only to see video clips of last year’s party. Karaoke. The gift that keeps on giving—or taking, if caught on tape. I had to laugh. Not that it was bad, because anyone is better than I am, but it reminded me of my visit to Hong Kong several years ago.

One late night, our group went to a karaoke room. Arranged like a hotel room, these karaoke rooms are more private than a large karaoke lounge. We followed the hostess from the elevator down the narrow, dimly lit hallway. As we were led to our room I noticed other groups of friends going in and out of rooms. People crooned and laughed, and the sounds filled the hallway as doors opened and closed.

The eight of us fit into the room comfortably. The rooms came equipped with a nice sound system, TV screens and room service. Only a couple of lamps and the glow from the busy streets below provided the light. I have always admired my Asian friends for their beautiful singing abilities. That night was no exception. We stayed there a couple of hours and sang. It was well past midnight, and the long day and time zone difference began to take its toll. One group member began to sing the Eagles’ famous, “Hotel California.”

“You can check out any time you like but you can never leave…,” he sang.

“You can say that again,” whispered another.

And that may be what some people are thinking at the office Christmas party. You may want to check out, but when is it appropriate to leave?

I certainly thought about it. Here it was the end of the school year and I was avoiding homework. But the party wasn’t as bad as I thought. The food was great and a nice box of chocolates is not a bad substitute for money. I didn’t see any opportunities for blackmail, but maybe next year.


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