The Standard Party
Your boss has invited the whole office over to his place for a potluck cocktail party. Everyone is civil, in the holiday spirit, and has brought along some awesome homemade finger food. There is an abundance of turtlenecks and hideous middle-class holiday attire. The alcohol is flowing and people genuinely seem to be interested in one another. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town“ by Bruce Springsteen will be played at least twenty times. You’ll probably have to bring a date to avoid looking like a pathetic single person, incapable of attracting the opposite sex. The party wraps up fairly early and everyone heads home, while you meet your friends out at the bar. Be careful though, you’ve got a head start after drinking a few glasses of the boss’ wife’s eggnog. It was delicious, and you didn‘t realize there was rum in it until your third serving. No one can blame you.
The High Society Party
You work for a pretty big company and have been looking forward to this ever since landing this job. You received your invitation (which looked more like a ticket to the Super Bowl) nearly a month ago. The party is at the CEO’s mansion in the ‘burbs, fully catered with parking attendants and a small army of bartenders serving top shelf liquor to you and your co-workers. There‘s a saxophonist playing Kenny G‘s Christmas hits…holy shit, is that actually Kenny G? No, but it‘s his brother, Larry G, who charges half of what Kenny does and is just as good. Be sure to watch where you step, as there’s some sort of contemporary art piece around every corner that costs more than two years’ worth of your entry-level salary. The constant fear of getting lost in the massive domicile is present in your mind all night. There’s probably some kind of awesome secret passage in the study or a wardrobe that leads to Narnia, but you’re here to network. You’re shaking hands with drunk millionaires all night, remembering names, collecting business cards and carrying around the same drink all night, trying to climb the corporate ladder, feigning holiday cheer. At some point, you’ll have to use the restroom, which is bigger than your apartment and has enough gold in it to make Trump blush.
The Family Party
You almost want to sue your employer for false advertising after this party. You got the office email and were immediately excited…until you read it. “Family is invited this year!” Your heart sinks. So much for taking shots with Brenda from reception and trying to sneak in a makeout session before dinner. “SOS” texts to friends are sent out on a minute-to-minute basis as your ears split open at the sounds of infants screeching. Alcohol is limited, but this is the last place you’d want to get drunk, anyway. If you’re lucky, your boss’ son is pretty cool and you spend most of the night schooling him in FIFA, while mixing in a game or two of foosball in the basement. Who knows, maybe Brenda from reception is into guys who are good with kids? But be careful, some of your older colleagues may see your kindhearted nature and try to set you up with their 30-year-old niece. Make the most of your situation and get out of there as soon as the party starts to dwindle.
The Date Party
An old friend is in dire need of a date for their company party. You gladly oblige, because you weren’t doing anything that night in the first place and your date is pretty good looking. Plus, free booze is always good booze. Be prepared to recite your resume to every person you meet that night and field awkward questions about whether you and your date are actually dating. You won’t know anyone there and will have to monitor your alcohol intake accordingly. Maybe you lucked out and landed in party central, making drunk friends and paying for only a couple of drinks all night. If all else fails, maybe you have a decent shot at hooking up with your date after the party. All in all, you had an excuse to get dressed up and drink. Win-win.
The Actual Party, Party
Congratulations. You have an awesome boss. Ever since you started after graduation in the spring, the buzz around the office grew every day as the holiday season drew closer. Every babysitter in town loves this night, as your co-workers hire neighborhood teens to watch their kids as they tear up the town into the wee hours. You heard stories all summer and fall about last year’s party, where the CFO ended up drunkenly singing “Santa Baby” to his wife in the middle of dinner. Your office loads into party buses and hits a large back room at an upscale downtown restaurant for dinner and an open bar. Dinner is more like a drunken, 1960s, Dean Martin-style roast of your boss, with each insult and story sending the small crowd into uproarious, drunk laughter. Once dinner and story time are done, you all load back into the party buses for a night on the town. Co-workers turn into co-people for the night, grinding on each other at bars and ordering shots for the entire office. The HR guy won‘t sleep for weeks. It’s really a disgusting and unprofessional display when you think about it, but hey, it’s the most wonderful time of the year for a reason.