The Company Holiday Party: Perk or Duty?

Working for a mid-size company (~300 employees), one annual event is the Company Holiday Party.  This year it was at a swank downtown hotel and featured food and drinks, entertainment, dancing, and a chance to put on your good duds and mix and mingle.

I’m just curious – to you, is attending something like this (a Saturday night during a busy time of year, fancy dress, downtown parking and traffic, being with the people you’re with all week) a “perk” or a “duty”?  Because I know, some people apparently don’t like going to their spouse’s Holiday Party.

Us

I think its fun – and it is definitely part of the “hectic” Holiday Season.  This year we sort of made a weekend of it.  We took an offer of a discount room at the hotel and so went downtown mid-day on Saturday – did some shopping and then checked in and got spiffed up. (Note: I left my camera on my desk, so this pic is from the previous year’s party…)  It was great just to go from the party to the room and not worry about wondering when your last drink was (and driving) or how tired you were.  On Sunday, we ate breakfast at a fun downtown café and then (you guessed it) more shopping!  We were pretty gassed by the time we got home.

I’d missed the day’s football so I don’t really have any input on the Eagles’ game other than I think we now know AJ Feeley’s MO – move the ball, throw heartbreaking interceptions.  My guess: McNabb feels a lot healthier this week.

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34 thoughts on “The Company Holiday Party: Perk or Duty?

  1. my old company never had company-wide parties. my boss used to take a few of us out to a nice dinner and that wasn't too bad… i'm not that great in social situations, to be honest… heh.i did go with an ex-bf to a couple of his company parties and i actually liked those better because there were so many people that you didn't have to worry about socializing. if that makes any sense…also, that's a really nice picture of you guys! i'm not sure i've ever seen a picture of your wife… she's gorgeous! :)

  2. my old company never had company-wide parties. my boss used to take a few of us out to a nice dinner and that wasn't too bad… i'm not that great in social situations, to be honest… heh.i did go with an ex-bf to a couple of his company parties and i actually liked those better because there were so many people that you didn't have to worry about socializing. if that makes any sense…also, that's a really nice picture of you guys! i'm not sure i've ever seen a picture of your wife… she's gorgeous! :)

  3. Free food, entertainment, and a chance to dress up? I LOVE THEM! Since DH is the boss, he's part of planning his company party of around 80 plus spouses. I was not pleased when he said this year they'd been too busy and it wouldn't be until January! (pout)

  4. What a great looking couple!I've always enjoyed going to Marc's company parties … I don't have to be with those people on a regular basis though. For me, it's about the good food and drink and the people watching. I'm welcoming the chance to dress up this year and have a night out … although it's kind of annoying that it's on a Wednesday night, so that cuts out our idea of a hotel room/night in the city, which we were thinking about, too.

  5. “perk” or a “duty”?I say it all depends on whether or not you like your co-workers. I've been excited to go to some office holiday parties and other times felt like I had to because my boss would disapprove otherwise. Even though it's a year old, great photo of you guys!

  6. “perk” or a “duty”?I say it all depends on whether or not you like your co-workers. I've been excited to go to some office holiday parties and other times felt like I had to because my boss would disapprove otherwise. Even though it's a year old, great photo of you guys!

  7. I have never worked for a company that had Christmas parties, so I guess I can't really comment. It would probably depend on the people I worked with.And what a great picture! :) Sounds like y'all had a fantabulous weekend.

  8. I have never worked for a company that had Christmas parties, so I guess I can't really comment. It would probably depend on the people I worked with.And what a great picture! :) Sounds like y'all had a fantabulous weekend.

  9. Our office Christmas party is a catered-in lunch. They usually try to at least decorate the conference room(s) they serve it in. Not that I'm complaining – the food is usually pretty good, and I'd never turn down a free meal – but I think a real party would be a lot more fun. Now that I think about it, we did have a party a couple of years ago that was during the evening at the "Foundation House" – the former residence of one of the Mayo brothers that they now use for nice events & fundraising activities. That was informal, but nice. I'd love a real formal party sometime.
    Normally, with a few exceptions, I'm not that into hanging out with the people I'm with all day & all week, but I would just do what I normally do at work – stick with the people I like.
    Love the picture of the two of you!

  10. I enjoy Rob's Christmas party. His is Friday night, and we took advantage of the reduced hotel rate where they are having the shindig. I am looking forward to just being able to retire to our room when the festivities are done instead of driving 45-60 minutes home.Nice photo, by the way!

  11. I enjoy Rob's Christmas party. His is Friday night, and we took advantage of the reduced hotel rate where they are having the shindig. I am looking forward to just being able to retire to our room when the festivities are done instead of driving 45-60 minutes home.Nice photo, by the way!

  12. Duty for sure. I hate getting dressed up, for anything. Ever. The business casual stuff I wear at work everyday is enough to make me want to hurl, having to dress up even more makes me that much more uncomfortable.Also I don't dance or drink so it's pretty much just mingling for me; except that I'm socially awkward with strangers…Yeah, I'm kind of a stick in the mud at these events, which is why I see them as a duty. Small gatherings with friends is where I'm comfortable.

  13. I like going to my hubby's holiday parties because it's a chance for me to get all gussied up, be in much fancier environment than my day-to day reality and step into the "adult" world for a, dare I say, "glamorous evening".
    Being that it is so far removed from my reality, I usually stress, however, about what to wear because the majority of my wardrobe is based on comfort, and washability!
    Speaking of that, hubby's party is this Saturday in Downtown Seattle and *shreiks* "I don't have a thing to wear!!!"

  14. First off, you two look great, even if it is last year's picture. Secondly, I love any excuse to get dressed up. Add to that the chance to watch Steve's coworkers get drunk and make fools of themselves on the dance floor, awesome!

  15. You guys look great!
    Even though I really liked most of the people I worked with, I still felt like it was a "duty" to go to my company party. Mostly to support my boss who planned the whole thing and it always took so much time and effort. They always ended up being fun but actually getting dressed up, getting there etc. wasn't too great. And of course, a bunch of folks always got drunk and did crazy things even though we always start our parties with the bar outside the ball room and supposedly no alcohol in the room…yeah right…how is that going to work. But I guess the company felt better that they had some kind of policy about alcohol even if it wasn't enforced.
    This year because I'm no longer employed and Jim's company is up in Ohio I get to kick back and just enjoy the friend's Christmas parties which are much more laid back and more fun.
    However, I'm glad you guys had a good time. It's always nice to get a free anything from the place you work for. I hope that along with a nice party that they give you a big fat bonus too! :)

  16. The best Christmas/Chanukah holiday office party that I'd ever been to was when I worked at Rochlin & Barin Architects. They rented Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House, which is located near Griffith Park for the evening. A great catered dinner was served and we all spent time in that wonderful space. Sadly the winter rains in 2004 have weakened the soil under this masterpiece and it is now in danger.

  17. The best Christmas/Chanukah holiday office party that I'd ever been to was when I worked at Rochlin & Barin Architects. They rented Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House, which is located near Griffith Park for the evening. A great catered dinner was served and we all spent time in that wonderful space. Sadly the winter rains in 2004 have weakened the soil under this masterpiece and it is now in danger.

  18. nice photo, even if it *is* from last year. i've only been to one company party, and it included going to NYC to see Dame Edna and renting out a small local fancy restaurant. for a camera store, it was pretty fantastic!however, this year's party (on the 19th) should be quite fun as well . . . apparently the architects and design staff really let loose and everyone has a crazy blast! i agree with the sentiments about it being on a wednesday night from Erin . . . only mine are that the party 'ends' at 11pm, and the metro stops running at 12. it'll be close, with at least one, if not two transfers necessary. i did hear a rumor that the company will pay for your cab ride home if need be, to deter drunk driving. A+ for STUDIOS!

  19. nice photo, even if it *is* from last year. i've only been to one company party, and it included going to NYC to see Dame Edna and renting out a small local fancy restaurant. for a camera store, it was pretty fantastic!however, this year's party (on the 19th) should be quite fun as well . . . apparently the architects and design staff really let loose and everyone has a crazy blast! i agree with the sentiments about it being on a wednesday night from Erin . . . only mine are that the party 'ends' at 11pm, and the metro stops running at 12. it'll be close, with at least one, if not two transfers necessary. i did hear a rumor that the company will pay for your cab ride home if need be, to deter drunk driving. A+ for STUDIOS!

  20. Great question! I have mixed feelings on them, really. On one hand it's nice to be able to meet your co-workers' families (and have them meet yours). But on the other hand, "Christmas" parties that sprial into drunken stupidity hasve never been my cup of tea. First it flies in the face of what Christmas means (I know…I sound like "Office Party Bah Humbug"…sorry!), and second when drunk employees start demanding raises to their boss – in front of everyone else, no less – it can never end well. :-) (Yes….it's happened….scary.)
    As my wife mentioned above….seeing that my company HQ is in Ohio…and to be present at their party would require scheduling family Christmas time around work, something tells me work is going to lose out! Maybe they could Fedex me some food…..it'd be here by 10:30!

  21. This is actually the first year the company's holiday party has involved the participation of significant others. Before, the company held the party on a Friday night after work. No one other than employees was invited. A lot of the back office folks would rent downtown hotel rooms, just to avoid having to go home after. Those folks were generally already well oiled when they got to the party.
    I would show up, eat some prime rib, and cab it home. Usually stayed about an hour and a half. Long enough to chat with friends, attempt to break through the resistance fields of the various departmental cliques, and have two "healthy" portions of bloody muscle matter. Short enough to miss the late-party "did you hear about.." moments.
    This year, with a new CEO, it's all different. The party will be at the Constitution Center on a Saturday, from 6:30 to 10PM. We are entitled to bring a SO. We are supposed to bring an unwrapped Toy for Tots. I suppose, from the company standpoint, it's a better idea. Fewer embarrassing moments involving married men and women too well lubricated, and not in the company of their spouses. But who's going to pay for the babysitters? And why should I take my valuable weekend time to bow to the alter of employment?
    I'm not going. Even were I so inclined, I really don't have anyone, at this point, that I would consider inviting to go with me. And Evan needs more than a "babysitter". He needs someone who knows him, and that I can trust. That's a very short list, and the people on that list have other things to do on a Saturday night. Now, there is another dinner for the "big hitters". I'm not eligible this year, having just come out of a partnership as a junior. But maybe next year…

  22. Doesn't it depend on whether you like your coworkers or not? I probably would enjoy something like this too, unless the place I worked was a morass of politics and intrigue, as sometimes happens. Glad to know you guys had such a fun time of it. Shopping always makes my happiness quotient skyrocket :) Love the photograph, btw :)

  23. Call me a scrooge but I say skip the Christmas Party and pad the bonus checks. I spent eight hours a day or more, five to six days a week with coworkers just give me more time with my family. Time was better spent with family and friends. Thankfully those days are behind me now. No more time clocks!

  24. I heart that picture! You guys look great!!

    I love holiday parties, although I will only attend them if there are enough people in attendance that I don't get stuck talking to anyone for any particular length of time OR am watched like a hawk as i scarf down whatever deliciousness I've discovered or, worse yet, guzzle pomegranate martinis by the gas station big gulp size cup full.
    This year, hot boss isn't in the mood to throw a holiday party so he's just making the bonuses bigger and catering food in one day. Ummm,heck yeah! I wouldn't have been able to go anyways since my holiday weekends are going to be filled with other such merryment as recovering from surgery, and Garrett's family events, winery preferred club member holiday parties (looking forward to this)(who wouldn't want to go a an open bar at a winery for cryin' out loud). So yeah..

    Depending on the environment, the attendees, and the alcohol available I'd give it an overall "perk"…

  25. Thank you all so much for these comments… its funny what posts sometimes draw such thoughtful comments.
    I think it really does come down to whether you feel like you can choose to go or whether you have to go — especially when the party is on the weekend.
    Though ancora impara — I love the idea of correlating it with a Toys For Tots campaign — but then again, you want that to voluntary, not obligatory.

  26. Oh — and its a GREAT excuse to get dressed up, which happens all too rarely here in California — although maybe that's what makes it such a treat. I imagine that if i had to dress-up all the time, it wouldn't be so much fun.

  27. Zak — oh, we passed the Ennis House during our trip to LA this past summer, but didn't have a chance to go. I did like going to the FLW places near Spring Garden, WI when I lived in the upper midwest.

  28. Zak — oh, we passed the Ennis House during our trip to LA this past summer, but didn't have a chance to go. I did like going to the FLW places near Spring Garden, WI when I lived in the upper midwest.

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