Tomorrow is my work xmas party. It's a lunch affair; I picked the venue, the menu, wrote the trivia, and the boss even put my name all over the 'fun police' email that he has to send out every year (sneaky bugger).
I'm really quite excited by the whole thing because I've had such a major role in organising it, and the boss is totally psyched as well. I've already got heaps of kudos for doing so, and it's nice to think everyone is looking forward to a good time somewhere lovely.
I plan on getting a little loose but mainly keeping it together to make sure everyone else has fun - then quietly slinking out half an hour before cut off. It's what has been coined my 'Houdini act' at social events for quite a few years now, and has saved my cheeky ass more times than I can count.
On that note...this is where we all need to be reminding ourselves of the golden rules around work functions. You know the ones; things we should honestly know by now, but somehow fly out the window when faced with an open bar and bright lights.
Let's review, shall we...
Do not get drunk
This is a given and top of the list for a reason. Please tell me we all know this? No one wants to see you stumbling around into furniture like a newborn foal. This is not Club Med and you can't hold your liquor like it is anymore. Also, showing your tits to the person who does your annual review is not appropriate. It's just not.
Have two drinks, then switch to juice and soda (sans spirits); you'll still look like you're having a good time and you'll be able to keep a leash on your bad behaviour.
The work xmas party is not the time to crack out the mini that you (read = your rack) can barely stay in, or those skinny pants the guy at the menswear store said make your ass look fabulous (they might, but they're also cutting off your circulation and your ability to breed has dropped by 50%).
Wear something bright and festive (no, not tinsel-as-clothes), like a good party dress, decent jeans, a fun shirt. Make it look like you put more effort in than normal. People like that.
Xmas party directly translates to free food, as well as booze. As you'll need some way to overindulge while restricting your alcohol intake, go for the buffet like a Biggest Loser contestant the day before filming starts. You've earned this and will be working it off over January anyway. And yes, hit the pudding tray. Hit it hard. Just save some of those teeny double chocolate pudding truffles for me. They are so fucking good.
Choose your plus one wisely
Unless your mother is the ultimate wing-woman like mine, do not make family or loved ones suffer through this with you. They don't know anyone, they also have to behave themselves, and they couldn't care less about your office in-jokes (which aren't funny to anyone else ever).
Fancy food and an open bar isn't high enough payment for putting up with Jeff from Accounts' hour-long spiel on how investment rates for the coming year are progressing.
Schmooze with the spouses
Here's a little secret to work functions; you don't need to brown-nose your boss, you need to get cosy with their significant other. Sucking up to the big guns is so transparent and everyone will see it straight off. The boss already knows your strengths and weaknesses, but if their other half can't shut up about how sweet, intelligent, charming and funny you are all the way home, you're going to go up in their estimation. And you only had to work it for a few hours over free food. You're welcome.
Talk shop or talk shit
Unquestionably, there is a fine line here. Spending half your time crunching budget numbers with aforementioned Jeff is going to do nothing for your ability to limit your alcohol intake, and also makes you boring as hell. After that, no else will want to talk to you either.
Conversely, now is definitively not the time to reel off that hilarious story about the time you and your best mate got off chops and broke into the neighbours' pool, naked, and vomited all over their lawn. Results will be the same.
Yours truly has a tried-and-true method; in my head are two lists. One green and one red (I know, festive right?!). The former is full of cool stuff I can discuss at social events with people I have next to nothing in common with, and am only spending time by obligation, be it enjoyably. Books, movies, holiday destinations, weird food I've tried. Fun, safe stuff.
The latter, on the other hand, is full of things that should only crop up with those of shared history, mutual bad behaviour, and no chance of having to look them in the eye over a boardroom table. Above stories, sexual exploits, what you actually think of Jeff from Accounts, what you actually think of your boss (from loathing to crushing - Don't. Fucking. Mention. It.), politics, religion.
Should one find oneself coming to the bottom of the green list - and veering dangerously close to anything on the red list - abort immediately. A headache, a heel snapped, a family commitment, anything. Unless you want to suffer through the indignity of no-one being able to meet your eye for 3 months (you told the nipple-shaped mole story, didn't you?!), run like you've been told you're getting the bar tab.
We've talked about this before and we'll talk about it again; in social situations, social media is not your friend. Double that for work functions.
This isn't like getting drunk in a bar and stalking your ex on Facebook. This is the one where you all take photos of each other and some bright spark uploads it without asking anyone's permission.
Do not be the tool in a disciplinary hearing explaining why the photo of Betty from IT dancing on a tabletop has somehow made it onto SBS Comedy's 'best and worst of xmas' page.
Leave before merry turns messy
Know when to call it. Be this because you're at risk of making a fool of yourself or someone else is, figure out when is a good time to call it quits and go.
If you can see that the new IT guy has taken your friendly banter as more like flirting, it's time to go. If the conversation between you and your boss has dwindled and you've resorted to work topics, it's time to go.
If you can't instantly locate your coat, bag, shoes, or remember the name of the venue, it's time to go. Now.
Last but not least, have fun! This is still supposed to be a time to let your hair down, so don't be as up-tight as you are at work.