For most people this is an exciting time, the opportunity to let your hair down and hang out with colleagues and family in a more informal setting.
In some cases, the fun police are out in force, fearing all sorts of terrible behaviour and risks to health and safety. Policies abound and crisis talks are being held.
For a small number of people this is an anxious time. This group have had a bad experience, they have either been subjected to awful behaviour at a previous event or done something themselves that has cost them dearly. This is an important group and they should not be ignored.
Let’s be honest, the Christmas parties are not the issue, alcohol is the issue and the way some people react when drinking.
So, in an effort to keep you all cheery at Christmas try these tops tips:
Total crazy idea; why not do something without alcohol? Activities like; go-cart racing, clay pigeon shooting, white water rafting, master chef style cook-offs or a child friendly bbq at a local park with games, music, face painting etc.
Redirect the Christmas party budget to buying your people a small gift and then host a morning tea with secret Santa on Friday 23rd December.
If these ideas just sound like a total nerd-out and you cannot possibly fathom the idea of a Christmas party without booze (notwithstanding the fact it’s against the law to serve alcohol to drunk people) I highly recommend:
- Make sure a few of your team remain sober… no, not just the HR folks!
- Have plenty of food and structure the event so the food gets eaten
- Have plenty of non-alcoholic options and make them interesting, such as “mocktails”
- Organise transport; if the company is putting on the drink the company has an obligation to ensure everybody’s safety, which includes getting home safely
- Don’t go overboard with the liquor
- Have a clear finish time, so it doesn’t drag into the night… or next morning
Trust that most people (the vast majority in fact) are intelligent and mature enough to know how to have a good time without being an idiot. But if you remain concerned or have had a previously bad experience and you want to issue a Christmas party policy, have some fun with the wording as it is much more likely to be read and understood than a stock-standard, dry worded document.
What do I mean? Try inserting some clauses like this:
- It might surprise you but that good looking 24-year-old girl in marketing doesn’t actually want a kiss from a sweaty 45-year-old.
- No, that hot guy in sales is not enjoying you rubbing up and down his leg… particularly as his pregnant wife is at the party too.
- When you’re in the zone on the dance floor and you can feel your inner Beyoncé or Channing Tatum about to bust out… please keep all items of clothing on.
Issue the policy at a meeting, so you can speak to your people like adults about what you expect, enlist the support of everybody to ensure the event goes well.
Then enjoy! Tis the season to be jolly after all.