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Season’s greetings and salutations, my postgrad peers! It’s the most wonderful time of year, and I couldn’t be in better spirits. Thanksgiving is over and now the office is in full swing, Yuletide, Christmas holiday beast mode. Each desk is decorated with care with small cards from corporate and little desktop trees. To add to the festivities, the secret Santa cards have been dealt. I myself will be heading to Starbucks to pick up my traditional Secret Santa gift card to The Coffee Bean. It’s ingenuous and unoriginal, but I mean, come on, what else do you get the dude in operations that you hardly even know? I talked to him once in the break room, and that’s only because he commented on the leftover hamburger helper I brought for lunch that day.
Yes, it would seem that just about all of God’s children are cheery and bright. But as I sit here, trying to avoid actually working, I can’t help but think of and consider the differences between college Christmas and corporate Christmas. Lucky for all of you filthy animals, I went ahead and took it upon myself to illustrate the differences between college Christmas and corporate Christmas.
The days leading up to Christmas break in college are terrific. You and all of your friends have been popping Adderall like Tic Tacs, studying your asses off, and have basically shut down anything that might resemble a social life. Then, at some point, there seems to be a collective “fuck this,” and everyone goes bat shit crazy. The holiday parties right before Christmas break are like the 12 days of Christmas, but without all the damn animals and way more alcohol. Everyone knows that going to an ugly sweater party is incredibly fun.
Corporate parties, on the other hand, are kind of the opposite. Yes, you still work your ass off and there is still that collective “fuck this” point, but the party itself is different. Instead of 12 Days of Christmas (8 Crazy Nights if you’re Jewish), you really only get one real corporate sponsored get-together. You and your coworkers will treat the event like the movie The Purge, wherein everyone waits an entire year for one night where they can do pretty much whatever the fuck they want. Your fellow employees will become different people entirely. You’ll see them giving speeches on top of bars, chugging scotch and getting real chummy with the VP as he gets drunk enough to buy countless rounds. Not to mention hiring a sax player to play nothing but “Baker Street” for an hour, all of which actually happened at my last company Christmas party. I woke up in my car. ‘Tis the season, y’all.
After the addy popping, textbook reading, finals fest and the festive parties that follow, you get to go on a sabbatical for roughly five weeks in your hometown. Five weeks in actual grown-up time is roughly a year to a college student on break. In fact, this time is so long, that most students on break are updating their Facebook statuses from “Can’t wait to be home!!! #Christmas” to “Ugh take me back to school already #overthis.” You see? It’s a complete 180-degree turnaround. The kids are literally begging to go back to school and leave a world with free food, readily available laundry services, and even less responsibility than they have on campus.
Corporate Christmas vacation time is joke. Do you realize that if Christmas falls on a weekday (this year) that most companies (mine) will not give you the 24th or the 26th off? These companies (mine) are run by Godless, soulless, life-sucking fat cats who don’t seem to care that I have family to coerce into being drunk with me. Thankfully I hoarded my precious little vacation time in anticipation for this douchbaggery and planned accordingly. That makes three days of vacation compared to when I used to get five weeks of freedom. It’s not even a full week to catch up with old friends that I don’t like anymore. I would gladly go through the hell that is finals week to taste that kind of bliss again. #overthis
The gift giving process for a college student on break is fantastic. You’re completely broke, so no one expects anything from you. A couple coffee mugs for mom and dad, and some free shirts you got from that sporting event you attended should do the trick for your brother. Bingo. Christmas shopping over and you spent, like, what? $20? Perfection. You could go full degenerate and just charge $150 bucks worth of apparel at the campus bookstore and just send mom and dad the bill. As far as getting gifts? That’s the beautiful other side of being a broke college student. Everyone knows you have no money, and will even joke about your poverty. However, this also means that you still get presents from mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents ($$$$) and even Santa Claus (at least in my house). You’ll receive gifts that you can’t afford, extra cash that you’ll use for “bills and stuff,” and at the end of the trip you’ll bring back a week’s worth of food because, remember, you’re broke.
Postgrad gift giving is the polar opposite. You’ve got a diploma and a paycheck, so people expect things from you now. Around Christmas time, this means giving gifts. REAL gifts. The mugs you got mom and dad just aren’t going to cut it anymore. Are you in a relationship right now? Better think of something super awesome and thoughtful. Don’t forget the inter-office secret Santa presents that you need to buy. Oh yeah and you’ll find time to do this shopping outside of work. This pretty much leaves Saturday and Sunday, because I’d rather be murdered in my sleep than go shopping after work, especially during the holidays. Hopefully I won’t be too hungover to shop for presents that the recipients will likely forget about in a month. Merry Christmas.
Damn. Christmas kinda sucks now.