Just when you think you’ve finally used up all the leftover turkey . . . just when you store your pilgrim salt and pepper shakers back in the basement . . . just when you emerge from your tryptophan-induced semi-coma and stop to take a breather . . . WHAM! The winter holiday season hits you like The Polar Express!
No sooner do you flip the calendar page, than a deluge of invitations begins pouring in to every school party, neighborhood get-together, cookie swap, gift exchange, office party and command function in a 50-mile radius.
For the most part, these events are fun and stress free, but what about those office parties and command functions? Whose bright idea was it to take people who work all day together in a professional environment according to strict hierarchies, and throw them all in a hotel function room with a dance floor, alcoholic beverages, and a relaxed dress code?!
These soirees are veritable hotbeds of potentially inappropriate or embarrassing behavior, so it is absolutely necessary to enter such situations with a strategic plan.
First, what not to wear? We’ve all seen those embarrassing social media worst dress lists for formal military balls, and although holiday functions usually aren’t as fancy, the same general rules apply.
Namely, don’t wear something that shows your junk.
Your spouse might enjoy seeing you jiggle all the way, but trust me, you’ll make a scene in front of your coworkers, so wear something that will keep you from bubbling out of your top or bouncing up and down your backside.
However, don’t lock and load your bits and pieces down too tight with restrictive undergarments, commonly known as “Spanx.” These girdles come in quite handy when used in moderation, but overuse of such figure-smoothing aides can leave you packed so tight, you might accidentally burst if you come in contact with a sharp object.
(Trust me, I know this from experience.)
Second, engage in lively conversation about something other than work. What you want for Christmas, who’s visiting for Hanukah, where to go skiing this winter, how much you hate fruitcake, whatever. Keep it fun without telling any dirty jokes.
(That said, remind me to tell you the one about the biker chick . . . it’s really good.)
Your goal should be to not say anything that might prompt you to wake up in the morning, smack your hand to your forehead and say, “Why don’t I ever keep my big mouth shut!”
(Another feeling I am intimately familiar with.)
Third, go ahead, imbibe in a festive cocktail or two. After all, good holiday cheer almost always calls for a toast with friends. But be forewarned: those peppermint shots you did with your spouse’s coworkers after wine with dinner might have seemed tasty going down, but they will mimic Syrup of Ipecac when you are filled with hot cheese dip and all sweaty from horse dancing to “Gangnam Style.”
Which brings me to the fourth strategic planning point: Dancing the night away is totally appropriate and expected at most command holiday parties. Everyone from every rank does, or at least should, let loose a bit once the music starts. It’s not only fun to dance, but it sends the message to your coworkers that you are human.
(Or, are we dancers? But I digress….)
So, King Tut, Hammertime, Robot, Moonwalk, Hustle, Vogue, Roger Rabit, Cabbage Patch, Macarena, Cha Cha Slide, Dougie, Shuffle, Crank that Soulja Boy, and Electric Slide to your Achy Breaky Heart’s content. Just don’t get carried away and find yourself grinding with your cubicle mate or “pulling a Miley” on your husband’s boss.
That’s not festive no matter how much eggnog you’ve had to drink.
(Tsk, no! I didn’t do that! Sheesh…)
In all seriousness, it’s important to arm yourself with a holiday party strategy that allows you to experience camaraderie without embarrassing yourself or your spouse. Plan properly, and you’ll not only survive your command function, you might even enjoy yourself!