The Perfect Office Christmas Party

by admin on December 23, 2014

I work in business sales. My company is huge and is doing very well and year over year my colleagues and I arrive early, stay late and push ourselves and each other to do well. Our department is one of the strongest performing departments in the company and we make our shareholders very happy.

Every year we find out in late autumn how much money the company is allowing us to put towards a party. Some years there are big parties in every major city for every employee in every department. Other years we have smaller get togethers and everyone always has a great time. Usually the amount that we are given is not enough to cover all of our costs and so we are used to having to pay a little extra. But the gesture from our senior leaders is very appreciated all the same.

This year was an especially hard year. We had a few internal changes that made our jobs exceptionally difficult. We had national errors that affected nearly everyone’s pay for a couple of months. We had policy changes that require us to work harder than ever. But we were still successful as a whole and we were thrilled when our VP sent us an email to say that we would all be given $20.00 per employee towards a party. It doesn’t sound like a lot but we can make that go a long way. We were thrilled.

And two weeks later we were sent another email thanking is for our hard work, encouraging us to keep it up and apologizing for having to take back the offer of the money for the party.

Now if our company was in any sort of trouble then I would be able to understand this. But our share price is up, our performance is up and our VPs bonuses are very good. Everyone was and is pretty disgruntled over the whole thing. To tell an entire division in a company that they have help paying for a party and then renege two weeks later after planning has begun is a really lousy thing to do.

There was a silver lining in this though. Our office banded together and made an effort to do a lot and to not get discouraged (much). One of the women organized a Secret Santa. A few people drummed up some funds through some great fundraisers and used that money towards a lovely little cocktail party that didn’t cost employees much extra. We realized that having a good time isn’t about the budget we are given as much as its about being together. We succeeded as a team and, like the Whos in Whooville and the characters in A Christmas Carol, we still managed a wonderful Christmas. 1221-13

{ 134 comments… read them below or add one }

cicero December 23, 2014 at 3:33 am

that’s so nice that you guys banded together and made a great party but – wow, the nerve of your company! of course nobody *has to* give you a party. but if they already approved it and informed you of the budget- to then take it back two weeks later is really really bad, especially if they are financially able to pay out VP bonuses and such.

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The Elf December 23, 2014 at 10:55 am

That’s what I was thinking, too. I’m on board with $0 towards a party. That’s clearly a luxury. But to promise money and then take it back, while simultaneously paying for other luxuries, is just *rude*.

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just4kicks December 23, 2014 at 5:03 am

Well….that just STINKS!!!
I would be very upset and offended too. It’s saying “thanks for making US money!”
I really hate it when corporate big wigs ride the backs of those who do the REAL work, and then reap the rewards for themselves.
My husband and I both worked for the biggest radio station in town years ago. Same thing happened.
“While we really do appreciate your hard work all year long, numbers are down, and we can’t have the traditional holiday party this year.” Ok, it had been a slow year, we were disappointed, but not really surprised. Then one day, (I was the receptionist there) a courier comes in with a package for the station manager. Not unusual…I put it in his mailbox with his other mail. He comes in at lunch time to pick up his mail and opens the package. He asks if he may use my phone, as he was on his way out, and didn’t want to go unlock his office. Sure! Help yourself. He calls his wife and leaves her a message to be sure she takes his tuxedo to the dry cleaners, and make sure she has a new, black tie appropriate dress….the corporate big wigs have invited them to the Hilton for a Christmas party!!! Lobster, filets, champagne, dancing with a live band…..the whole she bang!!! Oh! And yes, he almost forgot to tell her the door prize is an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii….Oh, I hope we win THAT!!!
I sat there with my mouth hanging open, (rude, I know), and his excitement quickly faded to a look of “oh…..sh@t….” Ummm….is there any way we can keep what you just heard between us?!?
Seeing as my husband works here too….not a chance in hell! But you and your wife be sure to have lots of fun!!!!

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Cat December 23, 2014 at 10:59 am

Reminds me of the companies whose brass had run the companies into the ground; and the federal government gave them millions to bail them out of foreclosure. What did they do with the windfall?
They gave huge bonuses to the CEOs who ran the company into the red in the first place.

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just4kicks December 24, 2014 at 5:45 am

@Cat: Sure is a slap in the face for the hard working folks out there.

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Cherrypipp December 23, 2014 at 6:36 am

The thing that jumps out at me from this is that people from the OP’s company had fundraisers (presumably asking friends, family or even the general public depending on the wheeze) for their party? Bit of a faux pas, no?

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o_gal December 23, 2014 at 7:44 am

It could be an internal fundraiser. My department does a holiday lunch around Thanksgiving time for all employees and our customers (AF PMO Office). To pay for it, we raise money with “dress down” weeks. For $1/day, you can wear jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.

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Kheldarson December 23, 2014 at 8:20 am

When companies talk of fundraisers, it’s usually internal fundraising. Like a bake sale, or dunk the manager, where you drum up donations from folks who normally don’t donate willingly.

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yokozbornak December 23, 2014 at 8:55 am

Having a fundraiser isn’t necessarily forcing unwilling people to give money or a faux pas. I can think of many fundraising ideas that are win-wins for everyone so I am unwilling to bash the OP and his/her coworkers for this.

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Cherrypipp December 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

It’s probably how one reads this then. I am not in the US, and once I hear “fundraiser”, it connotes external fundraising.

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crebj December 23, 2014 at 9:14 am

I’d say yes. You’re a guest, or you’re not.

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Lizajane December 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

But who’s guest in this case? The company wasn’t hosting a party and they still wanted to have one. No one was forced to participate. Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with or rude about people pitching in to have a party.

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The Elf December 23, 2014 at 10:57 am

I was assuming they passed the hat in the office. We do the same for any sort of party, since taxpayer funds cannot legally be used for food and drink except under very specific circumstances (and a holiday party isn’t one of them).

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Moralia December 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm

At a few places that I’ve worked, various departments would have their own vending machines, the profits from which funded holiday parties. It meant that some very trustworthy souls had to manage and maintain the stock and equipment (usually the department manager’s admin). But it was nice because no matter what was going on with the higher-ups, we had a heck of a bash without anyone spending money that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

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admin December 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Now that is a clever way to fund a work party!

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NostalgicGal December 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I worked several months at a place that printed ‘customizeable’ Christmas cards and other stuff. My department (about 40) handled graphic layups for printing flyers and such to order as well. I was in a sub area, running oversized printers that printed special ‘press plates’ that would be put on the card presses to print the cards. The printers had ‘corona wires’ that gave it up every so often and we’d save the old ones and sell for scrap (some really weird platinum alloy) as well as save aluminum cans and had a cussjar. A quarter a word, or put in $5 and get it out of your system (I really creamed a toe once and found out about the $5-not a license to curse all day but if you NEEDED to…) 5-6 corona wire fails and a couple of pickup loads of cans and the cussjar got us a pretty nice dept party. (each dept in the company did their own thing).

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Ruby December 23, 2014 at 6:42 am

Good on you guys for having a positive attitude and pulling together your own party.

I’m a teacher and anything we put together is pot-luck.

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Double You December 23, 2014 at 7:22 am

Wow, that’s a pretty low thing to do…. To be honest, if the company is doing well I think it’s rather stingy to provide a budget that wouldn’t even cover the costs of a party in the first place.

I work for the Belgian branch of a rather large international company that also does rather well, and each year in December all employees (including all retired former employees and everyone who left the company in the course of the year) are invited to a glamorous party with an open bar, a top-notch sit-down dinner and various other entertainment at one of the fanciest venues in Brussels. On top of that, to allow people to enjoy the drinks on offer, the company arranges (and pays) for a whole fleet of taxis to be available all night long to drive everyone home safely. True, it is quite an expensive tradition – but it really achieves its goal of making everyone feel valued for the hard work they put in.

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Angeldrac December 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Wow.
I’m a nurse at a community center and our Christmas party involves a few BBQ chickens and supermarket potato salad (all paid for by the staff) on the lunchroom table. And you can only attend during your 30in lunch break (if you’re having a busy day, you pretty much will miss out).
I can’t see my team ever having the morale to fundraise for anything fancier – I wonder why?

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formerworker December 27, 2014 at 9:07 am

If this isn’t Lush, I’ll just point out that Lush does the same too (or did when I worked there) – even for the seasonal workers at the stores. It’s lovely.

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Kirsten December 28, 2014 at 5:09 am

Which is interesting because on the whole, Lush are terrible towards their staff

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formerworker January 8, 2015 at 6:18 am

Oh, I agree – hence the FORMER in my name, heh. The Christmas parties were a blast, though.

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DGS December 23, 2014 at 7:42 am

Stinks that the company backed out of the money, but it’s not the company’s job to sponsor a party. A party is optional, not a requirement. And working hard is what employees are supposed to do, in exchange for salary and benefits.

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Cat December 23, 2014 at 10:55 am

Keeping up moral is a good company policy. To promise twenty dollars per person, give top brass bonuses, and then to stiff the workers is not good management.
Most jobs pay a salary and benefits. Management’s goal is to increase profits by keeping good workers for extended periods of time. If people keep leaving for jobs where they are valued members of a team, it means a new person has to be hired and trained. That takes a person away from his/her job to do the training and the new person will not be as productive as the previous one for some time.
I saw a principal destroy a private school by encouraging the best teachers (who were paid the highest salaries) to leave so he could hire new teachers at the lowest salaries. The people he hired were poor teachers, the students transferred to other private schools to get the education they were paying for, and enrollment plunged. He ended up enrolling the kids who had been expelled from the public school system that no one else would take. What was a college prep school became a reformatory and those who were truly teachers left for greener pastures.

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Lady Anne December 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Didn’t learn much from Circuit City, did he?

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AthenaC December 26, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Funny you mention Circuit City – my husband worked there and ended up quitting just before they went belly-up. Talk about penny-wise, pound foolish – all the “expensive” (read: experienced and good at their jobs) people got let go and replaced with young, minimum-wage people who were never properly trained. And oh yeah – it was completely obvious to the masses that personnel was seen as a cost and not as the face of the company to all the customers.

Now, I do think Circuit City would have gone under anyway – while the experienced people worked there, people were basically showrooming – looking at everything, trying everything out, asking all their questions to the sales staff …. and then hopping off to Best Buy to buy it cheaper.

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Lady Anne December 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Although it is often overlooked, forgotten, or ignored, per-hour employees are due overtime for working more than 40 hours a week. Also, you are *entitled* (that is, guaranteed) a lunch hour, plus two breaks if you work more than 8 hours a day. Eating you lunch at your desk is a violation of Federal Labor law, but a lot of companies encourage their employees to do this. Some bosses actually don’t even know this! One time I was filling in at a large company, and my site boss told me many temps work through their lunch hour. I got all bug-eyed, and gasped, “That’s against Federal Labor laws! Surely you don’t encourage it?” She was totally take aback, and came to me later to say she had checked, and I was correct.

Some companies get around these laws by making everybody salaried, but the point is, “working hard” and “over working” are two completely different things. When a company requires their employees to break the law in order to keep their jobs, the least they can do is throw them a party.

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Shyla December 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm

I’m sorry but that is not the law. You are required by federal law to be paid for every hour you work if you are paid by the hour. But there is no requirement in the US to give you lunch or breaks or even time to use the toilet. People think these laws exist because these have become common standards.

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Vrinda December 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Each state had specific laws regarding lunch breaks. Federal law might now mandate it, but it doesn’t mean state laws don’t.

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Lady Anne December 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Um, my father was part of the Federal Labor board that wrote the law. Sorry, but your boss is trying to see how far s/he can push you – and the law.

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Samantha C December 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Slightly off-topic but I’ve had conflicting information about this one –

Am I required to eat my lunch on my official lunch break? Or am I permitted to eat at my desk so that I can have an unbroken 30 minutes of doing something else later?

I’ve been told that I’m not allowed to eat earlier than my official break but I’ve also been told it’s totally fine at other places. It’s “working through lunch” but then punching out another time.

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HR person December 24, 2014 at 8:48 am

The only legal requirement is that you are paid if you are working. In other words, if your “lunch” consists of eating at your desk while you do work, you must be paid for that time. To make you clock out, you must be given true uninterrupted break time. That means if you get called back for an emergency, or a phone call, or something like that, you should clock back in. That’s the legal requirements.

However, individual companies can still make internal policies that work for them for whatever reason they choose. It may be as simple as they don’t want employees having food at their computers where crumbs can get in the keyboards and drinks can be spilled. Or that they want you totally focused on the task at hand versus eating and working at the same time.

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Kelly December 24, 2014 at 10:33 am

Actually, certain states have laws that require employees to take lunch breaks for every six hours worked, for example. Companies may also have policies, but legal requirements are generally made on the state level for working conditions.

clairedelune December 23, 2014 at 12:10 pm

The problem here is the revoked promise. Nowhere does she suggest that they shouldn’t be working hard.

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iwadasn December 23, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Yes, the company is not required to sponsor a party, but etiquette does require someone to honor a promise once they make it.

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burgerking December 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm

This!#!

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Lizajane December 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I did some work for a faith-based not for profit. They invited us to their simple but very nice Christmas party. If they could do it, anyone could. Oddly, 2 of their employees refused to attend because it was a Christmas party. HELLLOOO…you work for a Christian organization. I didn’t see anyone being forced to kneel before Baby Jesus, but whatever…

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Lera99 December 23, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I’m not Christian, but I will still happily attend a Christmas party.

It’s a PARTY! There may be cake involved. Who am I to get all hoity toity about what they call the party?

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Lizajane December 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm

There was cake AND pie.

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Seriously! They already accepted, and were working at, a job for a faith-based organization. Kinda too late to complain about a Christmas party, no? I’d have happily attended, too!

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Leah January 11, 2015 at 4:01 am

Some very conservative Christians refuse to celebrate Christmas because of its non-Christian roots as a winter solstice holiday.

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EchoGirl December 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I think the hurtful part is not about not sponsoring a party so much as it’s about saying they’re going to, and then “Oh, oops! Actually we’re not!” If they didn’t want to sponsor a party they should’ve just said so off the bat.

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Tracy W December 23, 2014 at 7:50 am

Terribly bad management there.

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imc December 23, 2014 at 7:50 am

I agree that the Company wasn’t very good in handling the whole affair. But I don’t really think this constitutes an etiquette issue, per se.

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Cat December 23, 2014 at 10:41 am

I can see it involving etiquette only because the VP rescinded the original email promising twenty dollars per person would be provided for a party.
I had (note had) a friend who would invite me to lunch or to attend an activity and who then would decide that she was “not in the mood” or that she “decided not to make the drive” right before the event. I would have turned down other offers to accept hers and I was left hanging. Ditto for a friend who asked me to come to Christmas dinner with her family and then told me, on Christmas Day, that they had celebrated Christmas on the 24th and were not having dinner that day, leaving me with no dinner.

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I briefly dated a guy like that. We’re still good friends, but he had that thing where he’d schedule something and then cancel last minute due to a mood change. I really liked him and wanted to get serious, but the flakiness was killing me. The last straw was, he told me that he was going to visit his parents out-of-state for the weekend. I didn’t contact him all weekend and on Monday, when he texted me, replied back asking how the weekend with parents had gone. He said he ended up canceling the visit last minute, because he wasn’t in the mood. I pulled the plug on getting serious right there and then. But that’s personal stuff – I cannot imagine anyone doing this in a professional setting. The hit to your professional reputation just isn’t worth saving the $20/person in my opinion!

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Jewel December 23, 2014 at 9:06 pm

That’s really awful, Cat. I hope you no longer consider those people “friends”.

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KenderJ December 23, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I think it is an etiquette issue along the lines of keeping one’s word, even if it is a corporation and not a single person. The company said they would provide the means to have a party then two weeks later reneged on their word. If they can’t keep their promises in the little things, who is to say they will keep their promises on the big things.

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boz December 23, 2014 at 8:30 am

Unfortunetly, this sort of thing seems to be more and more common. It seems that those who are at the top often forget or for their own gain, decide to overlook why the company is doing so well and why their big bonuses are possible – because of the hard work of those ‘beneth’ them. It is a sad commentary on our society – this sense of entitlement. Not all companies of course. But many. That is why the generousity of some companies toward their employees (Google, Facebook, etc) make the news. Granted, some of these companies are over-the-top generous to their employees but much of the newsworthyness of those stories is that it is so rare, even in companies that are breaking records with their profits. Too often, those at the top keep the gravy to themselves then wonder why company moral goes low.

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Michelle December 23, 2014 at 9:36 am

How simply awful. They can afford to give VP’s bonuses, but they offer and then take back holiday party money?

I guess the economy is still hard for many companies. Our company is comprised of several locations and we used to get together for a holiday party in Dec. Food, bingo, etc. It was a good time. It was discontinued a few years back and the reason given was the company had become”too large” (too many employees) and therefore, too expensive. Instead, we were encouraged to have individual potluck holiday parties. Nothing wrong with that, but it feels more like work instead of a party.

We do get a nice email each year after the Board meets, thanking us for our hard work and dedication and reminding us to, and I quote, “keep expenses down and increase revenue”.

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Devin December 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

Do we work for the same company?
When I started I heard about the amazing all staff holiday party they threw every year, big dinner, drink tickets, raffles and door prizes. The year I started they opened a new facility and added 20 more staff, this apparently was the tipping point for ‘too big of a company to throw a large Christmas party’. A month later at the first of year staff meetings we were shown how opening the new facility and adding ‘minimal’ staff had enabled the company profits to greatly grow. I also found out the department heads had been given a small budget to cater a holiday lunch in, or host small happy hours for their teams. I guess my department head (one of the VPs and board member) decided against any holiday festivities.

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DCGirl December 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

Bonuse eligibility may be negotiated into certain employees’ contracts, particularly senior management. At that point, it’s really not discretionary and the company is obligated to pay it.

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AIP December 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Oh so THAT’s how it goes. I always thought that it was “needlessly increase overheads and don’t turn a profit”! What would we do without board members (who probably haven’t a notion what it is you guys actually do) to help keep us on the straight and narrow!

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NostalgicGal December 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Yep and that’s what the ‘golden parachute’ is. There was an exec that got hired for 17 days, the company went that way and ended being taken over/bought out and the guy got $10m I believe as PART of his severance. It was WRITTEN INTO HIS CONTRACT and to get rid of him (no fault of his) they had to pay the contract. We could all wish. I do remember a few of those execs that were gifted after bailout deciding after the media went into a frenzy to refuse or return their big fat bonus but they’d already had the damage done.

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Lizajane December 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Bah! Humbug! To them, too.

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 10:11 am

Something like this happened at my old job after a merger. Our previous owners used to rent a nice venue downtown and throw us big Christmas parties where we could bring a guest. Then we were bought out by a bigger company and on our first Christmas with the new owners, they sent us an email about a company party. Party at a nearby party center, 4 to 7PM, appetizers only, no guests. Everyone felt pretty let down.

I had a big house then, and my husband and I loved to entertain. So I talked to my boss, he said the department would help me with some of the expenses, and I volunteered our house for that year’s department Christmas party. It went great! One weird thing happened though.

I asked a colleague, who had a talent for arts, to put together a nice invite so I could send it out to the department. She sent me a word file, I took a quick look and forwarded it to everyone. Next I knew, I got a reply from a woman in our department, that went like this: “Thank you for including me in your special friends category, but I have to decline, because I want to spend as much time around the holidays with my kids as I can, while they are still living in the house” her kids were FOUR and SIX years old at the time. It’s not like they were going to leave for college the next year! I felt like I’d gotten blown off and I could not understand why. So I took a better look at the invite. Turned out, it didn’t say anything about it being an invite to a work-sponsored, department party. It just said “Come celebrate a special occasion with special friends”, date, time, my name and address.

Moral of the story: one, some of our coworkers apparently think we’re beneath them, like we’re all still in high school and they’re the popular kids and we’re the nerds – and they won’t sit at our lunch table, even if the lunch table is now a 2400 sq ft house. And two, always ALWAYS read what you send out, before you send it out.

I hosted another work party the year after that, but the department had grown so big over that year, I had to make it invite-only and not work-sponsored – everyone in the department, plus a guest, wouldn’t have fit into my home. Popular Girl did not get the invite.

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Cat December 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

Be glad that Popular Girl did not show up with both kids, get intoxicated, and decide to stay the night with you.

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm

I had people show up with kids and tupperware. I had people show up with teenage girls who hit on my son. Good times.

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WillyNilly December 23, 2014 at 11:49 am

I really don’t understand your anger at the decline. While excuses are unnecessary hers wasn’t impolite. The typical full time employee spends more time at work and therefore their colleagues, than they do [awake time] with their kids. And the holidays are magical and delightful to 4 and 6 year olds. You didn’t indicate it was a company party, so she had every reason to think it was simply a casual social gathering; there is nothing wrong with her essentially saying she already has plans with her kids for that time.

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Like I said, it was my bad for not reading the note more thoroughly before I sent it out. Yes she probably thought I was just inviting her on my own to my own party.

Sorry, “I need to spend more time with a 4 and a 6yo before they move out” sounded a lot like a BS excuse to me. And I’m saying this as someone who used to have a 4 and a 6yo living in the house. If she felt she wouldn’t enjoy my company, understandable. But would it have killed her to say “sorry, I can’t make it” and leave it at that?

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm

You know, now that I think of it, the invite probably said something like “sorry, no kids”. I mean, my boss, the girl who drew up the invite, and I, all discussed it together when we planned the party, and we all decided that adding potentially dozens of little kids to a large department party, at a house that’s not child-proofed, is a liability. So yeah, if that was on the invite, then my coworker was completely justified in her response – she did after all assume that I, a casual work acquaintance, was for some reason inviting her to my party, and telling her not to bring her kids. Heck, as a parent, I would’ve had the same reaction IF I didn’t know this was a work party. Guess I have no reason to hold a grudge against Coworker anymore. Problem solved! Thanks, WillyNilly!

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burgerking December 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Huh? Didn’t you say this woman was in your department? And you chose not to invite her?

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm

First time around, it was a department party, work helped pay and I invited everyone. Second year, no way could I have invited 100+ people, so I just made it kind of my holiday party for work friends. Aka “special time with special people”. I did not see the point in inviting someone who wouldn’t come anyway.

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Vrinda December 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

She was hosting the party, in her home, and had to stick to a limited number of guests. Given the way that woman behaved before, Goldie was under no obligation to hire her.

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Vrinda December 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Type-o, I meant “invite,” not “hire.”

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Crabtree Gear Kid December 28, 2014 at 11:25 pm

You didn’t get a blow off. You got a no thanks from a woman who wanted to spend the holidays with her children. Their ages don’t matter – in fact, being so young, I can understand why your co-worker would want to make the most of the ‘Santa Christmases’ with her children. I’m completely bewildered by your snark.

An invitation is not a summons.

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delislice December 29, 2014 at 6:20 am

It’s a two-hour party, not something that would take her out of state for all of Christmas week. I’m bewildered at how the mom apparently doesn’t want to take even a couple of hours away. As noted, these are not 20-year-olds home from college for just a couple of weeks.

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Crabtree Gear Kid December 30, 2014 at 1:40 am

It doesn’t matter how long it’s for. She doesn’t want to go. I’ve read loads of stories on this site about people being pestered after declining an invitation and the consensus is that it’s a jerky thing to do. How is this any different?

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Library Diva December 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I agree. I was kind of bewildered by this, too. It sounds like the woman worded it poorly, and would have been better off saying “while they are still little” rather than “while they’re still living in the house.” But the sentiment is kind of understandable. It’s unfortunate how overblown and pressure-filled Christmas has become. People (myself included) who tend more towards the Holly Golightly model of homemaker-ship during the rest of the year suddenly feel like they have to morph into Martha Stewart, decorating their home perfectly, sending out Christmas cards, baking, cooking, entertaining, getting the perfect presents wrapped in perfect paper with the perfect trimming. It’s all quite time-consuming, and then there’s the actual *celebrating* of the holiday with friends and family. It’s a shame that people feel forced to pick one.

I had planned one year to throw a “winter blues” party in late January to continue the warm feelings of the get-togethers divorced from the pressure of the season, but it didn’t work out that year for some reason.

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Anonymous December 23, 2014 at 10:12 am

I don’t like parties, so an announcement of “no party after all, folks” wouldn’t bother me too much, but also, it’s not cool to promise something and then back out, especially not on such short notice, and especially not when planning is already underway. OP, did this “bait-and-switch” end up costing you and your co-workers money? I mean, if it was only two weeks out, then I can see the caterer/D.J./whatever already being booked, and needing a deposit/first installment/whatever, and then the party gets cancelled.

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Jen December 23, 2014 at 10:15 am

Hey I am proud of ya’ll, you handled it great!

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Cat December 23, 2014 at 10:27 am

I have to admit, I would be tempted to buy a name plate for the person who decided on taking back the party. I would have it engraved, “E. Scrooge”.
As a teacher, our school parties depended upon the principal. One principal paid for a catered party held in the school library. Another principal had us organize a pot-luck with everyone bringing a dish. We always had left-overs.
They lost me when a secretary was put in charge of the dinner. She demanded that each person provide a dish for forty people and anyone who did not do that had to pay twenty dollars. We had many part-timers who were single parents and who could not afford to make a dish for forty people or to pay twenty dollars for a dinner at Christmas. I refused to attend and volunteered to remain in the office and to answer the phones.

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Daphne December 23, 2014 at 10:28 am

Your company is trying to tell you they don’t want to pay for a party. Take that at face value and go out to a bar or something. I don’t see an etiquette issue at all.

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Vrinda December 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Daphne, it is an etiquette issue when they promise $20 per employee to help fund the party, then renege on that offer. Didn’t you read that part?

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Library Diva December 23, 2014 at 11:05 am

Sometimes, the non-fancy potluck parties are the most fun. At my old job, everyone got along really well, and that was how we used to celebrate the holidays. Everyone brought in food, someone else would bring an iPod with speakers, and we’d take over the conference room for a couple of hours, snacking, opening our Secret Santa gifts and just enjoying each other’s company.

At my new job, the office has sponsored something for us every year. It’s been very nice, but the people aren’t as friendly, so it’s not quite the same.

It’s pretty rotten of the company to offer the money and then renege on it two weeks later, though. I’m glad you guys didn’t let it crush your holiday spirit!

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VanessaGA81 December 23, 2014 at 11:36 am

I worked for an office like this. The year they sad we couldn’t afford a party, the director got a huge antique desk and a giant flat screen for his office. Whether or not that was paid for with company money, the insinuation was there and morale went down the drain.

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NostalgicGal December 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

Big city I used to live in, had a city owned hospital (they owned some of the utilities too). One year they decided at the hospital to pay out some stupendous bonuses to the top of the management; four or five people got a massive slice; the rank and file, they tossed a pizza party on grounds during work, and you couldn’t get off for it, if you were lucky you could get a few minutes to go by and grab some. Really didn’t go over, press had a field day on it.

Most places I worked at would at least give you time off for a ‘during work’ party, and provide some fundage; one place did have a ‘committee’ for that stuff and we had a budget to toss a little party, and get some door prizes (those that couldn’t be there, their names were put in too–for most of them a $100 microwave or such was a major bonus) and we all got a bit of a bonus (enough to take spouse out to eat) but…

Massively tacky to give the top crust big wads and the rank and file, pull their funding for even a Christmas party…AFTER they said there was a budget for it.

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Chris December 23, 2014 at 11:45 am

For several years after I joined my company, they held very large Christmas parties at nice hotels for all the employees, not just the big wigs. Now, times have gotten tougher, but what my company did is switch to smaller venues which were still fine. They’ve never asked employees to chip in for the party, and my company also gives annual bonuses based on how well the company is doing and performance. The latter hasn’t stopped (the amounts may change of course) even when times have gotten tighter.

I just think it’s poor form for a company to be very stingy with its “regular” employees, but ultra lavish with the high up executives. It sends precisely the wrong message — that the people doing the actual work to directly bring money into the company aren’t important. Now I understand if a company isn’t doing well they can’t do as much. But, rewarding the people who bring in the company’s money is a VERY smart thing to do. The last thing you want is for people in the company to leave as soon as they get a better offer. If companies want the loyalty of their people, they need to TREAT them like they’re valuable to them.

Personally, I stay as little time as is socially acceptable at office Christmas parties, because they seem awkward to me. They’re good co-workers but that’s not the same as saying they’re my friends. And I avoid drinking at them to avoid the possibility of professional consequences of stupid drunken behavior.

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admin December 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Best work party I ever went to was when I worked at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. The grand ballroom was the location, had live music to dance to, mounds of shrimp and other goodies to eat and each employee got a fat, frozen turkey to take home.

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just4kicks December 24, 2014 at 7:37 am

@Admin: what a wonderful idea! Turkeys for everyone! That’s really nice. 🙂

@Chris: my mom worked for many years as a floral designer, and as much as she loved the work, her boss was the cheapest man alive. He would never buy treats or food during long holiday hours, especially Christmas and Valentine’s Day, where the employees would work 12 hours days, if not longer. But, oh the minute someone comes in with cookies or a bday cake, guess who was first in line with his grubby little fingers out??? Drove the whole place crazy! One year, he wouldn’t let the staff have a holiday party because “we did really crappy this year, profits are waaaaayy down….Sorry.”
Then, had the freaking nerve on Christmas Eve to give his wife (who was a total snob) a HUGE diamond ring in front of everyone, after his forced “thanks everyone for working so hard” yearly spiel.
Miss Debbie of course, ran around the place showing off her six carat rock to all the exhausted and hungry employees. My mom said everyone gave her a half hearted “oh…how nice.” through gritted teeth. One gal next to my said to Miss Debbie (that’s what they were supposed to call her. Gag.), “Wow. Pretty ring, must be four or carats.” She replied with, “actually it’s SIX carats….I guess my hubby was too cheap to buy the ELEVEN carat one I REALLY wanted!!!” Oh, my Lord.

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Renee December 23, 2014 at 12:21 pm

This reminds me of what my company did several years ago. They discontinued the company party but encouraged the individual departments to have a potluck. I work in the Compliance Department which has roughly 45 people. We decided to have a potluck and maybe 15 people participated. A lot of people were upset over the holiday party. That was fine we made due with the little items we had. That is until the big bosses came to the potluck. They made massive plates and did not contribute anything. Some people did not get any food b/c it was all gone. They did the same thing to other departments when they had their potluck.

The following year we received the same notice. No company party but feel free to use the conference room for a potluck. After what happened at the last potluck fewer people wanted to participate. We decided to shop around for other ideas.

We organized a party at a local nightclub I teach dance classes at. (Sidebar, this is a place we teach people how to Step which is a popular dance style in the Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit area.) It was dance club that played Jazz, Blues and R&B music. They had a banquet room and we bargained a price that ended up being $8.00 per person. We had a roped off area which was right off the dance area. Two free drink coupons (call liquor or wine/beer) and finger food. It was a bargain. We had a blast.

The following year the I.T department asked to join our party. Due to the amount of people the club owner opened two hours early just for us. He made classy invitations so the door man knew who to allow in. They didn’t want regular patrons to think the place was open for business. When we collected the money we gave people their invitation. We explained to everyone that the invitation was mandatory to gain entry. A big boss showed up with 3 of her friends. She demanded to be let inside knowing she did not pay to participate. The doorman explained it was a private party by invite only. She gave him her business card and demanded he tell the person in charge she was outside. Luckily bigger boss was there and took control of the situation. I do not know what he said but big boss was not allowed inside.

Last Friday we had the same party. Big boss is still here. This time she purchased two invites from me but complained that she should not be required to pay because she’s a manager. I kept my cool but I was fuming. She probably makes twice the salary as some of the entry level people who paid with no complaints.

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Wow, the big bosses eating all of their subordinates’ potluck food, that’s just terrible.

Everything I’ve seen in the last few years at each of my jobs has also been a potluck. Looks like that’s where things are heading.

Your dance party sounds fantastic!

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AIP December 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm

The rudeness… It burns! Seriously though, those stories are appalling in a work-based context.

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NostalgicGal December 25, 2014 at 4:36 am

One from the archives here about potlucks… company event thing, and past years enough to go around. New boss, shows with spouse, three grown children and two of their spouses, and brought one bottle of soda. All loaded up and he’s rather pleased with himself over feeding 7 adults for a buck… and the potluck ran seriously short. And he didn’t get it, it wasn’t a free feed… he thought it clever…

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Library Diva December 30, 2014 at 10:48 am

I’m glad Bigger Boss stood up to that woman. She sounds like a nasty bully to me, the kind who is always using her position to try and get her way.

There is a great story somewhere in the depths of notalwaysright.com about a woman who was badgering a cashier. She pulled out every service worker’s favorite line, “Don’t you know who I am?” and demanded that as a manager at a large company, she should be allowed to cut the line. In line behind her was someone who held an even higher position at the same company. He pointed that out and promised to let her boss, his good friend, know about her behavior. She slunk away.

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Dee December 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm

It isn’t right to promise something and then renege without a good reason. That’s what the company did wrong. However, I don’t understand expecting employers to throw a party. Some of us even feel attending such events to be an obligation, and would be happier to not go. If employees feel the need for a party then why not make their own, potluck and such? But I get the feeling that what the OP is missing is being catered to, expensively. That’s not an employer’s responsibility. Buy a ticket to a great New Year’s shindig and keep the social and the work lives separate as much as possible. Keeps it simple and more people are happier that way.

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Goldie December 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm

It used to be a way for the company to thank the employees for their hard work throughout the year. When done right, it really does boost morale and send people the message that the (extra) time and effort they put in isn’t being taken for granted. That said, I’ll take a 10% bonus over a holiday party any day.

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JeanLouiseFinch December 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm

My former company decided first to cancel the holiday party for all of the employees, ostensibly so that they could give all of the staff a bonus instead. Then when the economy tanked, there were no bonuses. Then, once revenue picked up (we found out we had a record year regarding income), there was no talk about restoring bonuses or giving any holiday parties. Instead, the employees had a potluck party that the big bosses attended without contributing. There has been no talk about restoring bonuses and people pretty much regard this place as a stepping stone to a better job. Happily, it was a stepping stone to my retirement.

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Goldie December 24, 2014 at 8:43 am

Worst story I’ve heard along these lines was about a startup company that a number of my former colleagues went to work for in 2000. The CEO and the entire upper management were 25-year-old guys from wealthy families. Should’ve been a dead giveaway. As my friends found out later, these “big bosses” got their parents and their parents’ friends to invest so they could start their new company. Then they gave themselves five- and six-figure bonuses, all bought new houses, vintage cars, things like that. (It all only came out after they fired the CFO and one of my friends took him out to lunch for a nice chat.) In the meantime, my friends were working for low pay and “for the experience” and because the company wasn’t being run very well, upper management soon told everyone they were on mandatory overtime and had to put in 60 hours a week. For the same pay, of course – everyone was salary. Then they said there was still not enough money and laid a few people off. Then the second round of layoffs. Then the paychecks started bouncing. People worked for free while looking for new jobs, and put all their expenses on credit cards. They kept coming in to work because they expected the management to pay them back any day. It never happened. The company folded in early 2001 and it took my friends a few more years to pay off their credit card debts. Ten years later, I googled the company’s CEO and found an article about him, in which he complained that his bad reputation from ten years ago was still following him around and affecting his new business and it just wasn’t fair (in his opinion). The takeaway from it is that, when I see a company where upper management doesn’t have the money to do anything for their employees, BUT does have the money to give really nice things to themselves, I wonder how soon this company is going to tank. It’s a sign of bad management that’s corrupted, incompetent, or both.

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Violet December 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm

…and now the higher ups can say, “You guys put together a great party without our help last year, we don’t need to contribute!”

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Mirian December 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I have one. My company, which is three connected office in three nearby small cities, got a new BigWig this spring. He was based out of Office No. 1, but since he was also in charge of the other offices, we expected to, you know, meet him and speak to him. Nope. He hunkered down in Office No. 1 and we met him … once. (And then, only a few managerslf.) For a few minutes. We started to wonder. But, no, we were told, of course there’s nothing wrong!

Then one day in summer, it got to the office via the grapevine and BigWig and the company were throwing a massive summer picnic for Office No. 1. (I can’t tell you how long it’s been since anyone at any of the offices had a picnic!) Cue massive disgruntlement. He was our boss, too, but we never saw him and we sure as heck didn’t get a picnic, not even a little one.

Most of us figured it was coming when they announced that the company didn’t want our office anymore and we’re shutting down soon. (The announcement was the first time most of the staff even met BigWig.) We’re trudging along, but it’s tough when you’ve already been told you’re unwanted. (Even though many of us are more qualified than people in Office No. 1. All that matters is where we sit.) What a horrible way to handle everything.

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Shyla December 23, 2014 at 1:54 pm

It’s not so much that you’re owed a party. It’s that you’re told there is money for a party and then it’s taken back. And you know those big bosses are getting their bonuses and maybe their own party. It’s a crappy way to treat employees when the money for a small party isn’t that much in the scheme of things. Good managers want their employees to feel appreciated so they’ll be loyal. What does it cost when your best employee decides to get a new job because your bosses acted like jerks? You have to search, interview, train, wait for them to grow better at the job. It costs much more than a luncheon.

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burgerking December 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

bad policy for a company to say they would pay X amount per guest and then renege on it. However there’s no reason why your company must be required to throw parties.if you were out money because of the renegotiation of terms, then that’s poor etiquette. In the future I would just not be looking for parties, and then if one occurs its just a nice little addition at the end of the year.I run a company, and sometimes we have parties, and sometimes we give gifts instead. Some years we can give bonuses, some years we absolutely can’t. Sometimes will have a big dinner in June, and other times will actually take short little trips. But I wouldn’t like my employees to start expecting any or all of those things as its not a benefit of working for me.

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ketchup December 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm

My husband’s just left such a company. Lots of profit internationally, and nationally they would just keep firing people and skimping on things. Even if the national part of the company was not profit based anyway.

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Kirsten December 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I think it’s rude to make the offer and the withdraw it, and it sounds like the employees handled it well. However, I’ve been a public sector worker for 22 years and if we want a Christmas do, we pay for it ourselves. I don’t see why the private sector shouldn’t do the same – companies should be investing in improved services and/or lower prices for customers, not parties for staff.

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NostalgicGal December 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

The issue is in this case the higher ups said there was a budget of $20 each to toss a party; then TWO WEEKS later retracted it. That’s what the issue is. If the $ was committed it should stay committed; if no $ is committed then do your own thing as a department or group of employees…

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Kirsten December 28, 2014 at 5:14 am

Yes, as I said, it’s rude to make the offer and then withdraw it.

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JO December 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Shame on your management for taking back their offer! Especially without any explanation. But, on the whole it sounds as though you all pulled together and had a great time anyway. Good for you 🙂

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Mary December 23, 2014 at 7:17 pm

I’ve only worked for government and non-profits. So this is all foreign to me.
Government job- takeout appetizers for our department over our lunch break and we each received an ornament.
First nonprofit- Dinner after work which was a casual catered buffet. Free for employees, $25 for spouse or significant other.
Current nonprofit- this is my first year there. I was on the party committee. We had two hours in the middle of the day. We received $20 per employee from the organization for lunch. We ordered from a local Italian restaurant and had a buffet with five kinds of pasta, salad and breadsticks. It was called a staff meeting so dessert and sodas came from the general budget. We also received $150 in fun money for prizes and party favors.
I thought that was rather generous for a non profit organization. But I’ve heard crazy stories of Christmas parties in the private sector world.

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The Elf December 24, 2014 at 7:55 am

Me too! I’m suddenly a little jealous of those private sector jobs! Here, if there’s a work-funded party that means that someone will eventually get caught and end up in the pages of the Washington Post for misappropriation of taxpayer dollars. They don’t even pay for our coffee or water. And if you go to an event, you’re expected to use leave. When I was a contractor to the government, the business would sometimes host something that we had to pay to get in. That was so the government customers could be invited too, as there are specific rules regarding accepting gifts (including food) as a federal employee.

But that’s fine – and it is understandable. I wouldn’t want my taxpayer money wasted on a party either. Pot lucks can be fun, and I have no problem contributing out of my pocket for catering expenses. As long as it is all above board and announced ahead of time, we’re good. This bait and switch described in the post is absurd.

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Karen Lingel December 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm

I have a firm belief that if the company wants to have a company party, then the company should pay for it and the party should occur on company time. Asking people to pony up their own money or use up their own leisure time for a company party is the WORST sort of bullying. How on earth does that kind of coercion improve employee morale? Let me tell you: there are people there who just bought a house or are dealing with a family illness and are not even spending $10 for a gift for their dearest friend, then get asked/forced to spend $20 for a Secret Santa for some random colleague. No, absolutely not. Don’t make those kinds of decisions on behalf of all the people.

If the company won’t pay for a party, then NO COMPANY PARTY! Let everyone go home a couple hours early and spend their time and money in the way they wish.

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Anonymous December 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Yes, exactly. Give everyone a card, ornament, bonus, whatever, send everyone home early on the last business day before Christmas, and call it good. My parents’ business used to do a Christmas lunch, but then stopped it in favour of “ornament and bonus cheque” after it turned into more of a hassle than it was worth. It’s the same problem as with kids at a Secret Santa–some participants will want a Christmas party or Secret Santa exchange, others won’t. Some will have money to contribute towards said party, others won’t. Some will have cars to get to the party location, and others won’t. Then there are other concerns like people’s schedules, dietary restrictions, and even just the fact that, while some people are extroverts who just LOVE partying it up with their co-workers, extended socializing can burn an introvert right out. I’m the latter, and often, it’s hard to find a polite way to say, “Hey, I like you guys, but I’ve had enough.” I could tell SO many stories of times when I was tagged as “antisocial” by adults when I was growing up, just because I didn’t have the ability to be infinitely social.

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lfa December 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more on the Secret Santa thing! The same goes for collecting money to be used for a gift for the boss. I’m sorry, but there have been quite a few years where my husband and I decided not to exchange gifts in order to save money, but each of us has to go spend $20-30 on a co-worker’s gift card. This year the “chip-in” amount for the boss’ gift was equivalent to about 3.5 hours of my hourly rate, more than I’m spending on most gifts for my family!

I’m happy to contribute something toward a potluck and the small companies I’ve worked for have usually taken the staff to a nice lunch, but the forced gift-giving really bothers me (and doesn’t it kind of miss the point?).

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Ergala December 25, 2014 at 9:21 am

I’m sorry but the boss shouldn’t get an office gift, or at least it shouldn’t come out of the employees pockets.

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The Elf December 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Token gifts only. Gifts should go down the line, not up.

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Ergala December 29, 2014 at 9:20 am

Exactly.

Sarah December 24, 2014 at 1:53 am

I work for a public hospital and there isn’t the budget for each department to have a Christmas party. As my city is so expensive a sit down Christmas lunch can cost upwards of $60 a head. So a really smart, lovely member of staff stocks the lunch rooms with chocolate bars all year and we pay $2 for them (and in our job we all eat a lot of chocolate!!!) and at the end of the year we book a three course lunch at a nice restuarant and pay $30 to $35 a head with the price subbed by the chocolate fundraising! All out managers pay, everyone is equal and we have a great time. Some years we do secret Santa and some years we pool out money and give it to a charity in our departments name. Reading these stories it makes me feel lucky to work where I do!

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Anonymous December 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Honestly, I still wouldn’t participate in something like that, because $30 to $35 for a restaurant meal is out of my budget, and I’m both vegan and fairly health-conscious, so I really don’t like eating out either. I’d go along with a Secret Santa, or possibly a charity thing, but I’d be more inclined to do charity if it was “adopt a family” or something where I could stretch my money a bit, by finding deals on kids’ toys (nice things, but not expensive, like basic Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, paper and crayons, etc.), buying a pack of socks/big bottle of shampoo from the dollar store, etc. I know there are some people who are the opposite, and they’d rather go out for a meal with their co-workers than buy something for a Secret Santa exchange or for charity, so that’s why I’m in the “send everyone home early, and give a small gift or bonus if possible” camp. Asking people to pay for their own Christmas celebration doesn’t sit right with me, because even if everyone is asked to contribute the same amount of money, it won’t be the same “financial hit” to everyone, because not everyone makes the same amount of money, and not everyone has the same number of competing expenses outside of work. Also, some people don’t even celebrate Christmas, and might not appreciate having Christmas thrust upon them like this.

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Ergala December 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Anonymous I think they don’t end up paying anything because of the chocolate bars. When I worked in an office I practically lived off vending machine food. I think within a few weeks I would have more than paid for my ticket.

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Sarah December 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Those are really good points- I should clarify the lunch isn’t mandatory and also the city where I live is extremely expensive- it’s ridiculous but a drink is ten dollars at a bar so a three course meal for thirty is pretty good- and because we are aware of the wage difference the fundraising during the year really helps. Like this thread has shown there’s no one model that works for everyone but I’m lucky to work with pretty relaxed happy people and this seems to work for us. It’s a nice chance to let our hair down and have a few drinks without it getting messy or too expensive.

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NostalgicGal December 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Sounds like this was a voluntary though… you buy the chocolate to support the cause, and you went to the party if you chose. If you didn’t buy chocolate then you shouldn’t be out anything for the party, and if you declined to participate, that should be your choice. And that the price per head was paid for by the chocolate purchases, it was included to show how well the chocolate fundraiser worked.

My 50’s club has some issues with eating out because of financial, so we have moved into more potlucks. Getting together is the main reason….

I have dietary concerns, gluten intolerance, medical vegan, no salt, diabetic and several strange and ugly allergies; eating out is no longer an option. Or going and having a glass of water or iced tea while everyone else eats (and if it was a catered with head count, still paying the $ for the meal and asking for to-go and feeding it to DH). Consider yourself lucky you still can go out to eat. And no, it no longer bothers me in the least if others eat when I can’t. After five plus years, it’s just the way things are….

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Ergala December 25, 2014 at 9:19 am

Nostalgic I have celiacs, I feel your pain 🙁 Even if I make sure that the item I am eating is gluten free I still manage to get sick, pretty sure it’s cross contamination. Because of this whenever we go somewhere to eat I make sure I explain to the waiter I have celiacs. If we eat at someone’s house they know and are pretty good about either accommodating or not being offended when I bring a few items.

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NostalgicGal December 26, 2014 at 2:07 am

I’m amazed that black pepper can be ‘cursed’ as can vanilla extract. I assume in the world at large that all other kitchen/food prep facilities are ‘flour cursed’ and take appropriate precautions. No I cannot trust a salad bar, I have found. Sigh. If it says on the label of prepackaged anything that it is manufactured in a facility that also handles wheat (barley, rye and even sometimes oats!) I consider it cursed. TVP and TSP, nutritive yeast flakes, you name it. If it is not produced/processed in a dedicated gluten free facility, consider it cursed… Sad but true Ergala. The hunt for the ‘cursing of the food I ate’ can be a difficult one, but when I find one I track it down. Good luck.

hakayama December 26, 2014 at 8:50 pm

I do so wish that you multiply “blessed” ladies could have a Janet Draves of your own. She might not fix everything, but “most” has to count for something. Right now we’re working on my dairy allergy, and you can imagine that this country rooted female is not a happy camper.
Wish you happy googling and a better new year.

NostalgicGal December 27, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I’ve had dairy issues come and go, right now it’s on limited because of a) sugar (lactose) and b) cholesterol …

May you get yours fixed, hakayama. I am on mostly diet to fix my ills as a lot of the meds are worse on me than what they’re treating. I’m far from healed but life is actually worth living at times and I have hope. I was born and raised a farmgirl, giving up my beef was hard; I understand about having to give up the milk and dairy. If you can at least stand casein, then you can get fake-cheese that acts like cheese… the no casein is pretty :p to deal with (melty cheese stuff should ‘stretch’) Glad you are near that lady, and hope she can help you sort it out. Mine has been like peeling an onion, finding the next layer after you dealt with this one…

Ergala December 24, 2014 at 12:46 pm

My husbands former employer did a Christmas party and bonuses every Christmas. If the company didn’t do well usually the couple managers paid for it. They also gave a turkey at thanksgiving and a spiral cut ham at christmas. Employees also received a bonus based on their contribution through out the year to the growth of the company. My husband has a new employer that is closer and there was a huge issue with thanksgiving this year. My husband works 11-7 am…well the foreman expected my husband and his only other night time coworker to still,come in and work until 7 am thanksgiving…oh and the foreman said that holiday pay didn’t start until 7:01 am thanksgiving. It didn’t matter that these two men would be missing time with their families because of the need to sleep after working all night. We had a 3 hour driving thanksgiving morning one way…so 6 hours of driving that day. My husband went to bat for him and his coworker and they didn’t go in. They don’t get bonuses either, or a party. Really no,acknowledgement at all and at least 2 or 3 employees have had serious injuries this year, my husband included. One man almost lost some fingers and just went through several months of pt, ot and reconstructive surgery to his hand. My husband almost lost his eye. Good job.

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NostalgicGal December 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I’ve worked graveyards and compression shifts at a lot of companies, large and small, and generally if you were SCHEDULED with part of your shift into the 24 hours of a holiday, you got that shift as holiday. If you would have two shifts scheduled that infringed on the same 24 hours of a holiday you got paid for one (the longer if they were different lengths). That totally (deleted) about the 7:01 am distinction and all the other. Hope your hubby can get a better job Ergala.

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Ergala December 25, 2014 at 9:10 am

Thanks Nostalgic 🙂 I told him the same thing and that if they tried to MAKE him work without holiday pay he needed to call the corporate office. The company is amazing, it’s this ONE branch that is awful. It’s Canadian branch gives their employees 4 weeks off a year for holidays paid. And they have bonuses and what not. I think it’s the foreman that is the problem. The guy is a real tool, I had to deal with him before and he blew cigar smoke in my face. I shut him down real fast. I’m sure he is just stressed out and what not, but come on, don’t take it out on the people who keep your business going. My husband was working 13 hour shifts 6 times a week for a few weeks to cover someone’s vacation. He was exhausted by the time it was over but at least he got overtime. He didn’t get one single thank you for covering.

His line of work pays twice what he gets here out west. We are contemplating a serious move in our future. Not to mention it would be warmer 😉

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NostalgicGal December 26, 2014 at 2:09 am

I’d help you move, Ergala. Good luck on all of it.

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Ergala December 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm

🙂 thanks. This area is pretty demoralizing in the employment department. If you want a job you keep your head down and mouth shut pretty much.

Jamie December 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Please! Enough is enough! Yes its nice that companies give bonuses and such but I get tired of hearing about how little some bonuses are. The company I work for is a moderately large health system and we get NOTHING! The nurses and other personnel work their butts off 24/7 and are told too bad if they work the holiday. There really is no other option in our area for these folks to leave their jobs and go elsewhere…so they are stuck. And for the people who work the holiday and really don’t have to…I feel bad for them. Obviously their bosses only are in the 9-5 mindset of work.

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Ergala December 25, 2014 at 9:15 am

Jamie I’m sorry you don’t get a bonus, I really am. However sometimes certain lines of work are incredibly dangerous (like my husband’s….) and if the company did well it’s because of the people who are putting themselves at risk. If the higher ups can afford to receive a very lovely bonus I don’t see why the people whom do the extremely hard work with very little thanks can’t get a little acknowledgement. Sometimes those bonuses are relied on heavily. I know that my husband’s were at his old job. Sometimes that bonus meant a little bit nicer of a Christmas meal. This is the first year he hasn’t gotten one because he got a new job and this branch doesn’t do bonuses. It sucks it really does because I see how hard he works and how much crap he takes at work from his boss. If he were salaried it would be easier to understand, but he isn’t.

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Makasha December 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm

You live in a place where there is no legally mandated holiday pay? And no other options for employment? I’d put everything I owned on Craigslist, buy a one-way bus ticket and never look back.

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NostalgicGal December 26, 2014 at 2:15 am

That’s health service. The golden age of nursing died in the early 80’s and it’s been getting uglier instead of better. I appreciate those that are, but I wouldn’t want to work that sort of a job. Beancounters and the bottom line, the paperwork, the overwork and understaffing is chronic, and the pay is often not good enough to retain the good workers they need to. (not to mention all the regulations and other, partly because of lawsuits-and some of those were very necessary but it drove the costs up).

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Library Diva December 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm

In a way, I think getting nothing is better than getting something so token as to be insulting. I’ve gotten nothing before. It beat the year when our boss gathered us all together and presented each of us with a single $1 scratch-off lottery ticket. To me, the message sent was “I know I should do something for you, but I really don’t want to.”

If he was only going to spend $1 per employee, I would have rather had a candy bar. At least that way, you’re guaranteed something. My scratch-off was not a winner and my big Christmas gift from work went straight in the trash.

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Anonymous December 25, 2014 at 8:35 pm

At a former job, there were no such things as holiday pay or paid holidays, unless you were one of the very esteemed independent contractors or management. Holidays were treated like any other day.

One year, there was a well-hyped employee appreciation event, so we were looking forward to something fun for once. The independent contractors had their celebration first: a catered banquet with filet and lobster tails, wine, live entertainment, and gifts. So, we were a bit excited but figured it would be toned down a bit for us.

What we got: a free lunch (one hot dog; you had to buy chips or a drink) in the cafeteria. We also got a small paper envelope, about 1 inch tall by 3 inches long. The envelope contained our appreciation gift. Each envelope contained 1 small strip bandaid, 1 aspirin tablet, 1 antacid tablet, and a small round sticker the size of a Lifesaver candy that read “HELP!”

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Ergala December 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Ouch! I worked at a company that had a Christmas party and it was a huge deal, but it was geared towards the children of employees and it was heavily hinted at only being for those with kids. Those of us who weren’t parents yet were kind of left out. I had just had a miscarriage for my first pregnancy and it hit me like a truck.

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Me Too December 26, 2014 at 6:56 pm

At a former job, the owner of the company, which consisted of seven employees, including the owner and me) was getting married around Christmas. He suddenly said, “Oh, we didn’t have a Christmas party, did we?” No, we didn’t, but I wasn’t surprised, since we didn’t have a Christmas party the previous year. Or the year before that. Or the year before that. He said that when he returned from his honeymoon in January, we would all go out to dinner as a belated Christmas party.

The office manager told me that she was going to take up a collection to buy the owner a wedding gift. (None of us were invited to the wedding.) I was prepared to shell out, but she never asked me for any money.

In January, the party got postponed to February. In February, it was postponed to March. In March, it was postponed to April. In April, it was postponed to May. By then, the owner figured out that we had all caught on that there wasn’t going to be any belated Christmas party, so he didn’t mention it again.

To this day, I don’t know if he canceled the party because the office didn’t give him a wedding gift, or if the office manager decided not to collect money from everyone for a wedding gift because there wasn’t a Christmas party.

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kingsrings December 26, 2014 at 3:03 am

I have never worked at any company that threw a big, fancy Christmas gala for their employees. The most we ever got was being taken out to lunch on the company’s dime, which was fine.
However, I have had a few people tell me about Christmas parties thrown by their employers where they had to pay if they wanted to attend! Sometimes as much as $50 a person! That makes no sense.

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The Elf December 27, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Well, there’s very little alternative when the law prohibits employer (government) expenditure on such things, and when the same laws prohibits government employees from accepting gifts from contractors. I’ve always had to pay. Generally, the person throwing the party (usually mid level supervisor) arranges things and covers some expenses and the employees fill in the rest either by passing the hat, bringing a dish, or charging a door fee.

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Angel December 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm

$20 a person is really such a small price to pay to boost company morale. It’s a shame that management was so short-sighted. If it was a teeny tiny company where every dollar counts, and profits are on the decline, that’s one thing. But in a large company that’s on the upswing–that’s just plain cheap. That being said, if your department wants a Christmas party and company funds are not always guaranteed, it’s never a bad idea to start raising funds a few months in advance. And plan accordingly. Large companies can’t always be counted on to do the right thing by their employees–no matter how hard these employees work and support each other. I’m glad you were able to still have a nice party, OP. Happy Holidays!

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Enna January 2, 2015 at 12:44 pm

If I worked for this company I would do my job but give them no extra – no unpaid overtime no stayling late beyond time. If they have the cheek to go back on their word like that and still pay the bonuses then they shouldn’t expect the OP and collegues to go the extra mile any more. It is really unprofessional.

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Terrible_Tedi (@Terrible_Tedi) January 10, 2015 at 11:15 am

UGH sounds like the last company party I went to. Cheap dinner with tiny tiny portions no one got enough of. You only got water free to drink and all the prizes went to the white folks. This is a multi million dollar company whose employees are mostly black and hispanic and not one of them had their ‘numbers’ called and I’m not the only one who noticed. The food was disgusting and I wasn’t kidding about the drinks. They served water in fancy cups and it was formal so I don’t know what kind of crap they thought they’d pull but yuck, have more fun doing pot luck on our own.

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Anonymous April 21, 2015 at 7:53 am

Update on this story.
A few weeks after the rescinded party and in the new year, the VP made another wildly unpopular decision that involved taking back commissions legitimately earned earlier in the previous year. This impacted quite a few employees and we lost a third of our team. For every new hire who came in, there were three people leaving.
The VP came to town for an annual company meeting in February. We were all told that under no circumstances were we to breathe a word of the party within earshot of this gentleman. Now normally this meeting would last an entire day and then the entire lot of us, VP included, would go for dinner together. But this new VP left town the second his presentation was over. He didn’t stay long enough to shake one hand or say a single hello.
A few weeks later select members of the team were taken on a beautiful vacation as a reward for their performance. Traditionally the VP always came on this trip and part of the benefit of the trip was the opportunity to get to know him. This VP? You guessed it. He left after a day.
It’s been over a year now and while the VP is still at the helm there, most of us have moved on to bigger and better things elsewhere. What remains of that team is so destroyed that they wound up having to both cut sales targets in half and give raises to stop everyone else from leaving but it’s still a revolving door there.

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