There is no mistaking that the festive season is here. What with all the sickly-sweet adverts and a disturbing amount of mince pies being thrust at you from all directions it is near impossible to avoid.
So, with that time of year upon us once more we decided to lend a hand and help you through a particularly tricky part of the festive season: Work.
Your office environment and colleagues can both undergo a radical change at this time of year, there may be a distinct air of cheer about the place, the very real danger of being dazzled by décor and of course, music. The type of music that sticks in your head until early February at the very least.
It’s ok. You can make it through by following our simple Dos and Don’ts:
Don’t Insult the Office Decorator
No really, don’t. In fact, don’t even make a joke about it, because trust us, whoever crowned themselves Official Office Adorner will be a perfectionist. Furthermore, they will be adamant that their somewhat lopsided tree is undeniable proof of their decorating prowess. Yes, the baubles may be badly spaced out and alright the tinsel isn’t quite long enough to disguise the overall sparseness of the tree but fine. Nod, smile and compliment, thus ensuring a merry time for all involved and making sure you aren’t struck off the Christmas card list.
Don’t Hold Back on the Christmas Jumper
‘Wear A Christmas Jumper To Work Day’ is an office favourite and of course can be rife with stress. After all, choosing what sort of jumper – glam and glitzy or simply godawful – is one of life’s great dilemmas. Our advice? The uglier the better. That jumper your nan bought you five years ago, which has a giant Rudolph on the front complete with light up nose yet may not enable you to cut a striking figure in the office? Wear that. It’ll let your colleagues know that you are ‘fun’ and festive and in no way a Grinch in disguise. A Grinch in Rudolph’s clothing if you will…
Do Write Cards
Remember: you’re fun, you are not a scrooge who grumbles at the rising cost of cards. So, buy some and write one to every single person in the office. Even Janet who makes a point of missing you out on the tea round. We suggest you make this process truly worth your while and write something beyond ‘To Barry, Merry Christmas, Love Florence’. You’ve paid good money for that card so make sure you fill every square inch available. With anything. Unfunny jokes, terrible puns and appalling renditions of Santa’s Sleigh. This makes you look every bit the jolly Junior Executive you want to appear whilst also numbing the boredom of writing the same thing twenty times.
Do Take Care with Secret Santa
If you take anything away from this then make sure it’s this rule: Secret Santa’s are a minefield of potential faux pas. If you’re too thoughtful and everyone else has gone ultra-jokey, then you look like a square (as the kids of today say). Go too jokey though and you run the risk of being deemed unthoughtful whilst unveiling how odd your sense of humour really is. So, in the same way you would take care on a landscape known for its quicksand, so too must you tread carefully when choosing a Secret Santa gift.
With any luck, you’ll know the person you have to buy for, in which case you should be able to make a well-informed decision as to what to buy. In a bigger office though you might not have such luck and so you will probably have to use underhand tactics. One such tactic is by studying their desk, an almost fool proof way of determining their likes and interests. A calendar that depicts various beauty spots in the UK for example can lead you to deduce that they like to travel and so a charming festive umbrella might be the perfect gift. Or a mug that has the slogan ‘I’m with Stupid’ could tell you that they have a razor-sharp wit which only the extended writings of Oscar Wilde might sate.
Once you’ve grasped what they like, you then need to discover whether they fall into one of two categories. Category A) Loves and appreciates a funny gift, or Category B) Hates the former category with a vengeance. To truly know this, you will need to study them from afar, strike up conversations yourself that in no way signals you are trying to wheedle out information and of course, corner one of their friends and demand answers.
You will come across people who take the sacred vow of Secret Santa very seriously and will not thank you for revealing who you have to buy a gift for, or that you are desperately trying to discover who got lumped with buying a gift for you. Once again we advise caution around these types of colleagues as they are even more deadly than a scorned Office Adorner.
When in Lapland, Do as the Elves Do
If you love Christmas, then you have a duty to try and teach those who don’t what the secret is. Perhaps even create a University Course in it. Preferably one where sled handling is part of the curriculum along with Advanced Gift Wrapping.
If however you are a Grinch in hiding we know that every time you pull on a fake Santa beard and greet your colleagues with a ‘Ho, Ho,Ho’ you feel like a fraud. Every time you have to smile and sing along to ‘Jingle Bells’ you have to hide the wince. Worst, every time you get greeted with a ‘Merry Christmas!’ you have to reply in kind. Like you mean it.
Yes, you’re a Grinch at heart, but at least one unburdened by green fur so the important thing is this: No one need ever know it.
So eat, drink and be merry! And leave all your contempt, scorn and irritation for when you get home.