Christmas comes but once a year and so do the ever so precautionary warnings from HR Managers and Consultants about the perils of the work Christmas party.  

Sorry guys, but there is a reason HR gets a bad name – and this is one of them.  

Yes we need to make sure that our employees are ‘safe’ at the work Christmas do, and don’t end up in a brawl or drink drive – but seriously – your teams work REALLY hard all year and this is possibly the one time they get to let their hair down, drink one to many Proseccos and probably make a right fool of themselves.

But do you know what, in my times of working for someone, the work Christmas party were some of the best team bonding sessions we had, and we still talk about them to this day.  

People see it as an opportunity to let down their guard and be themselves – they no longer have to be ‘cautious’ Judy from Accounts, or ‘sensible’ Bob in Legal.  People love to have a boogie to Slade or play with those annoying squealing balloon things that fly across the dinner dance room. So don’t spoil it for them.  

Equally some people hate them, don’t celebrate Christmas, or quite frankly would rather stick pins in their eyes than spend more time with their colleagues than is contractually required.  That’s ok too.

So here are some sensible tips for having an awesome Christmas with your team:

  1. If people don’t want to come, don’t make them. Not everyone likes to be social and that is fine.
  2. Often simple is the best – so don’t bankrupt yourselves trying to do a ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ ‘Champagne for Everyone’ style party.
  3. Free bars are amazing. They cost loads of money and can cause people to get really really really drunk  –  but you know that already.
  4. Arrange for cabs for people to get home, or book into a hotel.  If you see someone try and drive home – stop them.   
  5. If there is trouble, deal with it as you would any other fight between grown adult human beings in a public space.   Yes you could be held vicariously responsible, but it’s unlikely.  I had to break up a fight once between two female directors – one had her nose broken by the other.  The company didn’t get sued, but both were mightily embarrassed come Monday morning and sorted it out between themselves.
  6. Don’t have a party on a school night if you want people to actually achieve something the next day at work.
  7. Most bars serve lemonade so don’t make a big deal about the whole drinkers vs non-drinkers thing.

And remember, you can’t control other people and what they do, so go on, have a night off duty and enjoy yourself….I dare you!