Christmas Parties: To Attend or Not to Attend

Photo Credits - Dmitry Vechorko via Unsplash

Approaching the end of the year, many companies will hold Christmas parties as part of the festivities during the holiday season. The past two years have been a challenging time to conduct social gatherings at the workplace. Having the Omicron wave during the holiday season in 2021, with Cartridge People reporting at the time 45% of UK workers were not going to Christmas parties and MoneyPenny reporting in the same year that 26% of workers had online celebrations, many are now eager the reinstate the holiday traditions in the workplace.

Christmas parties have long been considered an excellent way for office bonding among colleagues. It gathers everyone within the organisation, providing the opportunity for everyone to interact without the boundary of their roles and responsibilities. It can also be viewed as rewarding employees with a fun experience for all the hard work they have done throughout the year.

However, having Christmas parties in the workplace is not preferred by some. The current economic state has deterred some organisations from holding holiday events – as some industries are experiencing layoffs and hiring freezes. Many have expressed they would prefer individual bonuses instead of parties. On top of that, considerations of inappropriate behaviour during such parties have been an ongoing discussion.

As an employee, you should be able to choose to attend or not. The motivation behind having office Christmas parties is usually in favour of the employees but, things may not go as well as planned.

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Why You Should Attend

  • Celebrating Success and Contributions

Being with the company, surely your work and efforts have contributed to the business and operations. Christmas parties can be an opportunity for you to have this recognised within your workplace. Take it as a reward for all the work you have done and a chance to reflect on how far you have come in your career.

  • Build Stronger Relationships with Colleagues

In a work setting, it can be rare to interact with your co-workers in a casual setting. Christmas parties give you the chance to have casual interactions and get to know them in a more personal, less professional setting.

  • Opportunity to Relax and Unwind

With Christmas parties, you are given the chance to enjoy an evening provided by your workplace. High tensions and workload at the end of the year can cause stress, and parties have been thought to alleviate stress for some. Ideally, such parties should create a comfortable environment for everyone involved.

Why You Should Not Attend

  • Alcohol-induced Risks

In these events, alcohol is often available in large quantities. Various instances of alcohol-induced arguments or inappropriate behaviour have happened at office Christmas parties. On top of that, there is a possibility that some employees feel pressured to consume alcohol during these events. Companies should be cautious and establish rules to avoid any issues surrounding alcohol.

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  • Uncomfortable Social Interactions

Many employees do not enjoy socialising with their colleagues. A survey by CareerWallet has shown that 23% of employees admit that their co-workers are a significant element of the workplace that they loathe. Coming to a non-mandatory work gathering will not serve you any favours if you do not enjoy the company of the people there.

  • Lasting Effects of Parties

Concerns around social media posting during the party, as well as the day after, might arise. In an already alcohol-induced environment, individuals may be more reckless and post photographs of the party. This can have lasting effects beyond the evening of the party. Also, if the party was held during the week, concerns about work on the next day will arise and may become more of a burden for you to navigate.

Overall, having Christmas parties is not inherently good or bad. Such events can benefit workplace morale and relationships – but also pose risks for unwanted situations. No one should feel pressured or forced to attend Christmas parties, and employers should take good preventative measures to avoid any incidents happening at the party. The choice to attend is yours, and you should decide what suits you best.


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