The five emotional stages of organising the work Christmas party
We're almost midway through September, do you know
where your children are who's organising the work Christmas party this year?
(Sorry for poisoning your eyes with the second least acceptable C-word for this time of year, but someone has to churn out high quality content at an alarmingly early date).
Anyone that has fallen victim to organising a work Christmas party will understand what it's like to crave the sweet release of death. It's a hectic, overwhelming and mostly thankless job from start to finish.
If you've escaped the task of planning a Christmas party, be thankful that you've never known the very real sensation of stress, fear, anxiety and threatened job security all at once.
Behold the five emotional stages of organising the dreaded work Christmas party.
Stage 1 - Blinding Optimism
The deathly important role of Work Christmas Party Organiser has been bequeathed upon you. Regardless of whether you desired said accolade or not, it's yours to either thrive or spectacularly fail in doing. First, you've an important decision to make. Do you put your disinterested heart and soul into this endeavour in a bid to impress your colleagues, or half ass the whole thing, praying it miraculously comes together in the end thanks to an intervening control freak who craves attention, adoration and a hearty 'Well done' mention in an all staff email? Fuck it, for now, let's play ball.
You get a brand new notebook from the supply closet. It ends up being a 2006 planning diary but not to worry, we're still cruising along at a perfectly comfortable altitude here. You write down a few ideas for the theme, just to get some creative juices flowing.
- Great Gatsby
- Great Gatsby
Incredible. You've absolutely crushed it. Not only have you put in some solid effort on your day of inauguration into the role, it seems as though your penmanship is improving as well. Much like the meme of a cartoon dog wearing a top hat sipping coffee in a room that's on literal fire, this is fine. The 'Christmas Party Bonanza 2k18' is going to be a hit. You're probably going to get a promotion, raise and an OBE for your outstanding contribution to staff morale. What a thrill.
Stage 2 - Instant Regret
Two weeks have passed since you were designated the role of party planner. You've lost the notebook in which you wrote down 'Movies', 'America' and 'Great Gatsby' twice, which understandably has put an abrupt halt to proceedings. You've underestimated the task at hand, that much is clear. You decide that the best course of action is to do absolutely nothing until circa the week before the party, but unfortunately, Julie from reception doesn't share your relaxed work ethic. Her daily inquiries are starting to grate on your patience, so you've began to bluff your way through interactions using a combination of the following phrases:
"Looking into a few ideas at the minute, hard to settle on just one"
"Of course I'm on top of things, just still at the organising stage right now"
"I eagerly await the sweet release of death clutching me forcefully with all its might"
"Yeah, definitely send me your ideas, would love to read them"
Unfortunately, word has slipped out that you're in charge of organising the party. Several people have been providing you with unrequested guidance. Sue from accounts thinks everyone should go to Disneyland for the weekend. (Sue is a fucking moron and should have a better grasp of the company's budget given that she works in accounts). Everyone wants to know what the theme is, along with the location, date, time, preferred blood type of invitees, Secret Santa budget, where missing flight MH370 went, if there's a free bar, etc. This is without a doubt the worst thing that has ever happened in your shitty life. Harrowingly, it dawns on you that the only way to escape this is through death, or admitting your lack of the necessary skills for the task thereby exposing yourself as a fraud.
Stage 3 - Reluctant Effort
It's midway through November, you were designated as Chief Work Christmas Party Organiser at the end of August and have been lying about making arrangements since roughly three days after your designation. With minimal effort, you dabble in some mild organising ventures (Googling 'work Christmas party ideas' and messaging various WhatsApp groups to see what your friends are doing for their work Christmas parties, basically plagiarism). Jenny from Uni is going to karaoke but you would personally rather die, so settle on a nice restaurant and bar concept.
Three excruciating phone calls unsurprisingly reveal that mid-November is a bad time to book a work Christmas party with a budget consisting of the monetary equivalent of a small pile of dust. The best course of action is to ask for help, but you're not a wimp. You continue failing at this overwhelming feat because in a way, it's soothing. You're going to reveal yourself to be a tragedy of a human being and there's a lot of power in that, if you think about it. Procrastination now means that this party is going to suck metaphorical ass, so you embrace it. You ponder whether the office would welcome sharing a slab of cans together in the boardroom with strictly two slices of takeaway pizza each, accompanied by a Christmas playlist on Spotify with intermittent adverts because you can't afford premium right now. It's not a bad backup plan, to be honest.
Stage 4 - Acceptance Of Failure
It's December 1st and the office is giddy with festive cheer. Julie from reception has been hammering your inbox on a daily basis wondering when she can send out the Christmas party invites. Now she's at your desk demanding answers and it appears that the jig is finally up. You inform her that you've done precisely nothing because you are fundamentally unfit for this task (and life itself) that she bullied you into as a very public assertion of power. Thrilled, she opts to intervene after muttering a variety of obscenities under her breath. You're free, at least until Julie designates menial jobs for you to help with, such as booking taxis on the night and never speaking to her again because you make her sick to her stomach. Just the essentials, really.
Julie somehow manages to pull a decent schedule together in minutes, almost as if she had a backup plan ready all along. There's a bar/restaurant booked and she's used an online program to send everyone their Secret Santa recipient. It's what she was born to do. You remind yourself that you have other strengths, such as picking out the most profitable Tesco meal deal and guessing the contents of the boxes on Deal Or No Deal. By now, everyone knows you've completely fucked it. In a way, it's liberating. You set up a support group with other former Work Christmas Party Organisers of yore and bond over your inadequacy. Turns out Julie always ends up organising the party in the end and it's not a big deal.
Stage 5 - Perseverance Through The Aftermath
Credit where it's due, Julie from reception was the right person for the job all along. She swooped in at the last minute and a begrudgingly good night was had by all. It turns out she had made the reservations in September and designating you as Christmas party planner was a social experiment conducted by the research and design team. They took bets over how long it would take for you to crumble. Impressively, you held out for six weeks longer than previous victims. You feel strangely proud of yourself. Yes, you fell right into their bizarre and morally questionable honey trap, but your stubborn laziness broke all previous records.
As penance, you get to spend the next twelve months being the butt of everyone's jokes around the office. "Make sure you reply to this email TODAY hahaha", "Procrastinating again, are we?" and "lol u got GOT" become regular interactions peppered throughout your workdays. Everyone has a good laugh at your expense, even the new guy who's just started in IT. Whispers are going around that he'll be the Fake Christmas Party Planner this time around, proving that karma really does exist. You're faced with a moral dilemma. Do you give him a heads-up about this sadistic game, or sit back and enjoy it from an outsider perspective? Then you remember, you're far too busy for this bullshit. It's your turn to plan the Easter Egg hunt this year. Time to get cracking!