Holiday Parties – Then & Now

We’re going to a Christmas open house & holiday gift exchange this afternoon. My wife’s friend hosts it almost every year. Holiday music, friends, games, and fun conversation in a beautifully decorated home makes for a wonderful afternoon.

I always love holiday luncheons, even when they were just ‘scheduled festivity’ at the office. The big, secular MegaCorp Holiday Luncheon was OK, but many of the smaller teams or divisions I was in had really great Christmas events. Sometimes a brave, local agency would even invite us – the client – to one of their infamous parties.

Related: Holiday Office Parties – Mad Men or MegaCorp?

I used to like to host my MegaCorp team for a lunch out, right before people start leaving for holiday travel. There was a nice, cozy restaurant near our corporate campus that had wonderful table next to a fieldstone fireplace. We often asked for that spot and it seemed like every year big fluffy snowflakes were piling up outside the window as people were sharing their holiday travel plans. (MegaCorp was usually too cheap to pick up the tab, so I would just pay for it with my own card).

For gifts, I always got everyone a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. For probably 20+ years without fail. Bailey’s is nice at the holidays and easy for someone to re-gift if it’s not their thing. Bailey’s was also one of our company’s liquor brands, and so it was good to support our MegaCorp cousins during their key season.

I continued handing out Bailey’s the rest of my career – even after our business was spun off by the liquor guys. At times, I would buy a couple cases of the indulgent stuff. After I retired, I’m guessing the liquor store wondered what happened to me!

Maybe I’ll bring some Bailey’s to the Christmas party this afternoon. With inflation, a bottle of the festive cordial is pushing up close to the $30 gift minimum. I can tie some candy on the bottle with a ribbon if I need to.

What holiday office traditions do / did you most enjoy? Any fun stories / memories?

5 thoughts on “Holiday Parties – Then & Now

    1. They threw the most amazing holiday luncheon ever in 1990. Guest entertainment was the MN Orchestra! They got criticized for their largesse in the Star Tribune.

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  1. Dread holiday parties at work – glad to see I have been able to avoid for two-years now with Covid. Would rather take a check for $25 instead 🙂 Of course, being an introvert, that explains things.

    With that said, I know some people like them.

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  2. We had outstanding holiday parties at our MegaCorp. We had great door prizes. We would always give away things like big screen TVs, laptops, a bunch of iPad’s, PlayStations, and a bunch of gift cards for $1000, $500, and $250. The employees loved the massive Christmas meal, open bars, dancing, and freebies. Several “exceptional” years we also gave out stock options to all employees (those eventually ended up being the most rewarding). Most of us corporate officers would spend the last few weeks of December flying around to our various plant holiday parties. It was a great time for all. I do miss that holiday spirit. It was a very rewarding company for our employees (and shareholders). Unfortunately, our exceptional growth was noticed by a bigger MegaCorp (competitor) that acquired us, and those wonderful parties were gone less than a year later (…and so went moral).

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Merry Christmas, Thom! Yes, some MegaCorp parties are great while the going is good. That said, the arc of history bends away from corporate indulgences. At my last MegaCorp, they asked us to pitch in five dollars apiece for the Christmas party! I bet it cost them more to administrate the fee than it was worth!

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