Be careful. The War on Christmas is about to flank your rear. Or something like that. It’s classic military stratergy. Don’t fire until you see the whites of their snow.
Today we put my life on hold (such a delicious phrase) and take the occasional look at my wife’s place of employment. Always good times. This is the same place that, in Christmas past, made employees roll dice to get their seating assignments at the company Christmas party. That’s right, the fucking Christmas party. They turned what was supposed to be a festive holiday gathering that recognized contributions of employees into a damnable H.R. exercise. Buffoons!
To: All Employees
From: The Management
Subject: Christmas Policy
Chrissy will be coming around today with jingle bells on to distribute decorations. You are required to create a festive Christmas display at your workstation. Refusal would be unwise and will set you apart from the group.
H.R. has assigned several employees who will be allocated more than half the day each to work on this and other vital Christmas-related projects that will ensure the financial success of our company for another year.
Reminder: Office supplies remain secured under lock and key (use requisition form 13-Baker if you need paper) and there are no bonuses this year. Remember, you are lucky you didn’t get laid off.
Our observance of the Christmas season begins at 9pm on Thanksgiving (just like Black Friday). We celebrate the true spirit and meaning of Christmas: Using the holiday to put the maximum milk on sales.
Your Team Motivation Team
Leave it to the Christmas season to bring out the best in folks!
Now I set aside my guru hat to answer your letters about Christmas etiquette and ethical dilemmas, especially those pertaining to the magical world of Small Business America, the happiest place on Earth!
Dear Prudence Guru:
My company has announced their annual Christmas party and is demanding an RSVP. How festive! The event will include an actual dinner unlike the potluck events of years past. The party is scheduled in the evening, during off-hours, and on a week night. Spouses are not invited. The company says this would make the event too expensive.
Also, there are murmurs on the part of some that bonus checks might be handed out.
I feel torn between my husband and my job. What should I do?
I’m sorry to say this, but you are fucked.
Every non-asshole in America knows the miss manners rules of work-related Christmas gatherings. Here’s a reminder for the management at your company who are obviously not members of the non-asshole group.
There are basically two flavors of the employer’s Christmas party.
- Work Function. This “party” happens at work, during normal work hours, and when employees are on the clock. Spouses are not invited. Food is typically shitty pizza (see: Papa John’s) or potluck AKA Throw Your Own Party Because We’re Too Cheap.
- Off-Site Function: This party takes place at a restaurant and is not held during work hours. Employees are off the clock and not paid to attend. A meal is provided. A no-host bar is typical. (The host variety is an endangered species.) Spouses and +1’s are always invited.
Like a scheming Grinchy McSrooge your company has elected to select the worst elements of both to create an event that is etiquettely-challenged. The rules clearly state that if you are off the clock then your spouse or +1 must be invited. Failure to do so is a grave insult. Very bad form.
Skip the event, do something special with your spouse, and thank your company for teaching you about the true spirit of Christmas.
Dear Prudence Guru:
I know I should be grateful this year. A lot of people I know have been laid off. Where I work they announced there would be no year-end bonuses.
But then the bitch from H.R. made the rounds and distributed surprise “bonuses.” It was a $25 coupon book to local businesses including dog grooming and a gym.
What should I do?
Basking in Savings
Go ahead and get your dog groomed. You want man’s best friend to look his best when you stop by and let him pee on the office Christmas tree and poop on the presents.
Skip the gym in favor of spreading holiday cheer that they’ll understand. You have to speak their language.
Use the “shout” link in the menu at the top of this page to send me your ethical and Christmas etiquette questions. Perhaps I’ll respond to you in a future column. It’ll be my gift to you.