By nature, company Christmas parties are fun. They’re supposed to be at least. After all, it’s practically the only time of the year when everyone at the office gathers in one venue not to work, but to let their hair down even for just one night. The thing is, some do more than just let their hair down.
Over the years, we have learned that there will always be “that guy” (or girl, whatever the case may be) who does something so embarrassing at the office Christmas party that will be talked about for years to come. And, more often than not, these office Christmas party fails are fueled by alcohol.
No booze, or no office Christmas party?
Knowing what too much alcohol can do to a worker on party mode, some employers are either banning booze from their Christmas party or scrapping the party outright. Now there are people that cancelling a holiday party would be unfair, but there are those who would say the exact same thing about a no-booze party. Some would even say that management might as well scratch the party together than have one with no alcohol at all.
Luckily for these booze-lovers, most employers still throw company Christmas parties, and serve alcohol in them. That means there will never be a shortage of company Christmas party fails—much like the real ones listed below—in the years to come.
1. ‘I’m too sexy for my office Christmas party’
Let’s start with something a little tamer. It’s a fact that alcohol makes you shed your inhibitions, which is clearly the case with this guy from New York. After a few drinks at the office Christmas party, he made good use of a stripper’s pole in the creative director’s office and danced his heart out. Then someone made a video of the whole thing and posted it on YouTube. Now here’s a plot twist: the guy wasn’t just some guy from accounting or the mail room. The Magic Mike wannabe was the company president himself.
The wasted company president I can take, but what I’m having a hard time processing is the fact that there’s a stripper pole inside the office of a company’s creative director. Is it some hip, new tool to get someone’s creative juices flowing or something?
2. Fun with the photocopying machine
Most drunk guys would just settle for photocopying their genitals, but no, this rather large guy from the UK would have none of that ‘safety first’ nonsense. He went for photocopying his own backside, which, of course, would entail sitting on the machine’s glass cover. Surely enough, the glass broke and trapped his enormous midsection inside the photocopier’s innards, sharp shards of broken glass and all. An ambulance had to be called to pry him out.
3. Golden showers all around
Urinating in public while drunk is one thing, but urinating ON the public is an entirely different matter. That is exactly what an employee at an IT company in Australia did, urinating off the balcony of a city bar onto the customers of a restaurant below after consuming 15 beers. To add to his woes, a colleague who witnessed his major company Christmas party fail got so mad he hit him over the head, sending him to the hospital. Another major bummer for the guy: he also got fired.
4. He went off the deep end—literally
Many employers think it fashionable to hold a company Christmas party on a boat, but that is basically courting disaster, especially if free-flowing alcohol is on the menu. Case in point: At a Christmas karaoke cruise on Sydney Harbour a few years ago, a staff member tried to muster the courage to sing in front of colleagues by downing a couple shots of vodka. While he did manage to sing with a smidgen of confidence, he also went on to throw up in front of everyone and worse, fall off the side of the boat and had to be rescued.
5. The drunk kissing bandit
You would think that the kissing bandit in this story is—stereotypically—a guy. Not in this one. A female account executive at a supply company in New York admitted to being so drunk at the company Christmas party that she actually tried to kiss not one, not two, but THREE of her colleagues. She can blame it on the open bar, which is basically a guarantee that someone’s going to get so inebriated and do something embarrassing.
6. The whiskey rebellion
Nope, this isn’t about the 18th century tax protest in the United States. This one’s about an IT guy who had too much whiskey at his company Christmas party’s after-party. As told by a colleague, this IT guy chowed down on food from other people’s plates and smashed glasses on the floor for no reason. The worst part is he challenged the company’s CFO to a fistfight, literally ‘putting up his dukes’. Naturally, someone called the police, but the IT guy would have none of their authority and fought them as well. As you can guess, he promptly got arrested. While sitting in the back of a police cruiser, he was also fired.
7. The office Christmas party slasher
If normally mild-mannered people become the life of the party when drunk, can you imagine what free-flowing alcohol would do to someone whom everybody regards as already a loud and abrasive person even without ingesting any kind of substance? A woman from Indiana didn’t need to imagine that, because she witnessed exactly what alcohol did to their inventory controller—whom nobody liked on account of his not being a nice guy—at their office Christmas party.
Extremely intoxicated, the controller walked up to the company’s sales manager, sliced off the poor guy’s festive snowman tie using a pocket knife, and walked away like it was nothing. Never mind that the sales manager was talking to the owners of the company at that very moment. Her account didn’t say anything about the fate of that controller at the company, but she did say that the ‘victim’, the sales manager, never wore a tie at subsequent office holiday parties ever again.
If you ask me, I think the knife-wielding controller needs to get an appointment with any of the drug testing clinics in their area, because that can’t be just the alcohol talking.
8. Drunk dialling your boss is never a good idea
Drunk dialling is always a possibility when you’re, well, drunk. However, when you’re drunk dialling, aren’t you supposed to be dialling an ex, not your current boss? An accountant for a Chicago-based financial services firm however, appears to have not gotten that memo.
After making good use of the open bar, she dialled her boss’ work phone number, and had a friend leave a message about her not being able to report for work the following day. However, her friend (who was probably drunk too) got a bit creative with the message, and said something along the lines of “hey boss, you’re working her too hard and she needs a vacation.”
Fortunately for her, everyone at the office—including her boss, probably—were relatively good-natured about the faux pas and promptly ribbed her about the whole thing by playing back those messages, as well as posting pictures that showed her having a great time at the party the night she made that drunk call. Now that’s an indication of a healthy workplace culture, when people can just laugh off office Christmas party fails like this one.
9. Gym buff breaks arm after arm-wrestling at company Christmas party
Boys will be boys, and when there’s alcohol around, these boys will become even bigger and rowdier boys. Take the case of a foreign-exchange salesman in Auckland who was egged on into an arm wrestling match with a colleague, and promptly broke his upper arm for his trouble. The salesman said he wasn’t drunk, but admitted to have had a few drinks that night.
That’s the thing with alcohol. You don’t have to drink lots of it to be inebriated, because everything will depend on your tolerance to the substance. The salesman may not have felt drunk, but the alcohol has certainly worked its way into his system and made him bolder. And with all the bravado going around that night, you can be sure that the other guys were inebriated as well.
10. Drunk employee gets fired for abusing bosses at office Christmas party, then reinstated
Now this one is a cautionary tale for employers in general about providing unlimited alcohol at the company Christmas party. An employee who got fired after sexually harassing colleagues and throwing a few choice swear words in the direction of his superiors at a company Christmas party got reinstated by the Fair Work Commission.
According to the FWC, employers who serve unlimited amounts of free alcohol at office functions may not be in a position to insist on standards of conduct. I guess that means whatever misbehaviour a drunk employee commits at a Christmas party with an open bar, he or she shouldn’t be fired because it’s not his or her fault, but the company’s.
Now if you’re wondering wonder why many employers are already having second thoughts about serving alcohol at their Christmas parties, with some keen on not having a company Christmas party at all, there’s your answer.
Have you ever been involved in an office Christmas party fail? If you have, please feel free to share it with us in the comments. No real names necessary.