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Christmas Staff Parties

Dovina's picture

This time of year brings the dreaded work Christmas Parties. IMO if it is a luncheon, during a work day,obviously spouses are not invited. What is your opinion on evening parties? Should spouses be allowed? I am on the fence on this one. I understand for the employer that can get costly, especially if there is a lot of staff. What if it is a small staff, say under 10 people?
Just curious of others opinions.

advice.only2's picture

We get a potluck...yippee! What a great way to be appreciated...bring your own food and for a code of 1100 people there will be six door prizes...if you get lucky and have the right raffle ticket you might just win...6 out of 1100...I love those odds...eye roll!

When I worked for another code they did an actual evening party, it was free for me but I had to pay for a ticket for my spouse, but this had food, drinks, a DJ and door prizes for everybody...I loved those parties.

I really don't attend luncheons/potlucks because to me they defeat the point of a party...for me it's no fun to leave work to eat lunch then go back to work...if I'm going to a party I want to get dressed up, go out for the evening and have fun.

Dovina's picture

Its nice that you had the option to buy a ticket for your spouse. As you said it made it for a great night out.

BethAnne's picture

Personally I like it when partners are invited as it makes the occasion more of a social event rather than a team building/bonding event. Plus it is nice to meet coworker’s partners or your own partner’s coworkers.

Most places I have worked at (except for a huge multinational company) the Christmas party essentially was a meal out but partners were invited and everyone paid their own way. The bosses might buy a drink for everyone but that was not expected and other than that there was no additional expense for the company. One national company the meal was partially subsidized by the company so it was cheaper than it otherwise would have been.

Dovina's picture

I also prefer when spouses are invited, it gives you the chance for your spouse to get to know all those people you have talked about, good or bad lol. Likewise if it is your spouses work party you get to socialize with the co workers and their families.

Aniki's picture

I'm not a fan of after hours work parties. I've seen coworkers (and spouses) get embarrassingly drunk and say terrible things. In fact, one party was 2 weeks after I'd started AND the LAST time I went to an after hours gathering. Crikey. I was so glad my DH wasn't there and I left shortly thereafter.

IMHO, my job is exactly that: a job. I'm not there to socialize and make friends: I'm there to work. If they're held during work hours (we have a luncheon), then I go. If it's after hours and I feel obligated to attend, I do not take my husband. My personal life is private and I don't share it with coworkers.

twopines's picture

I think if it's in the evening and people are "off the clock", then spouses or partners or a plus one should be invited to a party. Otherwise to me it's just going back to work for no reason, lol.

Dovina's picture

That's how I feel, we see enough of co workers during the work week anything after that is effort.

queensway's picture

Dovina I really think Christmas parties depend on what kind of business it is. But your question is a staff of 10 people. If the company can afford a party with 20 people I think that would be nice and people can bring a plus 1. But a lunch for 10 people at the office or company is fine to. We stopped christmas parties years ago. And give out a bonus to each person now. I love the holiday season so for me it is a season of giving. Any how just a long as it is something that spreads good cheer to people I think it will be fine.

Dovina's picture

I so agree on the spreading good cheer. I think the company can afford the extra, in fact because of my position I am pretty certain. It just gets "political" and it sounds silly but the person organizing the staff party is not in favor of spouses. Its no big deal, just curious as to what other companies did.

Curious Georgetta's picture

I think that a token bonus and some extra time off is a better gift that a Xmas party with or without spouses. Those people who choose to socialize do so in their own. I think an after hours event is an imposition on a working person's free time. A during the work day event where appreciation is expressed is good but many partners and spouses also work and this would be likely inconvenient for most.

Again, most people who wish to socialize with coworkers do so on their own and do not need their employer to facilitate their outside of work interactions. In my opinion money and time are the most valuable assets that you can give an employee during the holidays.

Dovina's picture

I actually agree with you. I would love to forgo all of this, just a little bummed I am not able to do this with my spouse. But then again this isn't my call.

SugarSpice's picture

my brother is enmeshed with his adult son. the son was his date at an evening company work party.

all the more reason to see its unhealthy to be too wrapped up in ones children.

SacrificialLamb's picture

When I first started working years ago the parties were for the employee and spouse/partner. This was decades ago and things had more of a family feel then. Over time everything became more about the budget and saving money. That was probably about the time I stopped attending. I gave them enough of my time during the day, I was not giving them time away from my family for a party.

memyselfandi's picture

I agree with you as the place I worked at years ago had more of a family feel also. Our dept was very close knit and oftentimes met after work for a few cocktails for birthdays, etc. Sometimes our spouses/significant others would join us; so everyone knew each other when it came to Christmas parties, etc.

While it used to be fun to attend office get togethers with spouses, it's no longer fun anymore. The drama and backstabbing is bad enough in the office environment without going out drinking with coworkers.

Livingoutloud's picture

Ours was on Saturday evening in someone’s house. I didn’t go. Not only I don’t want to see coworkers in the weekends I
also don’t want to drive an hour on the weekends. I commute enough during the week

Rags's picture

I have been fortunate to have worked in a few industries that historically throw top notch employee appreciation events including outstanding parties for EEs +1.

The most incredible have been events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Truly beautiful events. These were regional events so they included employees from the GCC region and their spouses. Airfare and hotel were provided.

I think that spouses or a +1 should be included for appropriate events.

While not mandatory these types of events are appreciated. At least they are by me.

SMto2's picture

For under 10 staff, if those folks would like to have a holiday party after hours where they can bring a date, then I think the employer should consider it. My DH and I are partners in a medium-sized law firm. We used to have an annual after hours party for our main office at one of our founding partner's home, where spouses were invited. However, not only did some people decline to attend because it was after work hours, but we were concerned about the liability of people drinking too much (plus, the aftermath of all the things people said due to drinking too much!!) Now we just do a luncheon during the workday for our employees only at a local country club. I don't really prefer that, as it just doesn't seem as festive to me. (I miss the alcohol! ha ha ha!) However, the cost is actually less since we don't serve booze, and it's much better attended because it's during the work day, so I guess it's a win-win in our situation.

CANYOUHELP's picture

Holiday office parties (annual ones), after hours should include plus one. If it is an evening party, I feel as an employer (and I as for many years), I should/ would always invite their spouse or significant other; to me that is office courtesy and the respectful way to plan social events at work,

theoldredhen's picture

Throughout my lengthy employment with the government of Canada, I never attended a Christmas party. For days after these bacchanals, coworkers would slink around the office, refaced and silent amongst whispered tittle-tattle of goings on so outrageous that I congratulated myself for having had the wisdom to stay home.

Alcohol and office parties invariably add up to embarrassment at best and sexual harassment at worst. I much preferred to maintain my dignity.

Cover1W's picture

We have an annual party, around 40 people.
It's usually a potluck (sigh) but the wine/beer is provided.
No one has ever been embarrassingly drunk, buzzed yes.
We all get along really well so it's generally fun, starts mid-afternoon so we can all be done and go home at a normal time.

This year I have two work events to go to the same night so I've allotted a time maximum at each so I can still be home at my normal time.

I've never been to any work event where someone's had too much. Or maybe I just leave early enough.

Acratopotes's picture

oh I've worked for both.... very big companies,

A: - Contracting company who closed doors over Christmas and new year - we had a lunch the last day of work and only employees

B: International company that did not close doors, each department had a budget for a Christmas party to do with as they wished and normally it was a dinner with spouses or a BBQ on a Saturday morning with families, but for the BBQ people had to bring their own booze only food provided, BBQ pack per person... then man department decided, only them, boys night out and get drunk on the budget, HOD decided with their departments

C: We are very small currently due to sinking markets and retrenchments, we had a dinner with partners no children... Pay your own booze

Last yer was the best we've ever had - Company gave us all a gift voucher at a nice place and said - Happy holidays, no dinner, no lunch nothing, now this I prefer lol, give me my envelope and leave me be, I do not like spending private time with colleagues, do not even do a gathering in the office, not interested in socializing with colleagues

WalkOnBy's picture

Now that I am in public service, we have a luncheon during the work day - obviously no spouses.

When I was in the private sector, two law firms for which I worked had a big blowout and each employee got to bring a guest. The third one had a party after work but it was only for employees.

JustGettingUsedToThis's picture

I work at an extremely poor inner-city, Title I school, and if the party/event is in the evenings, the whole family, extended family, and neighbors are invited. All paid for by staff, not grants or school funds. So....IDK??

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I’m afraid to ask what “Title I” means. Is it one of those schools with inadequate or broken central heating I heard about? Sad Poverty SUCKS.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture


thinkthrice's picture

they pick out a restaurant and its dutch treat .  everyone pays their own way.  spouses and SOs invited.  Chef never wants to go and this is the 2nd year without the super organized admin asst.  

The coworker with huge headlights who was instrumental in getting rid of the organized admin and who has no work skills has botched the arrangements for the 2nd year in a row.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture