Tonight, my company will host our annual holiday party. We’ve rented out an amazing catering hall. There will be plenty of free alcohol, although as an alcohol distributor, that’s to be expected. Someone will win a 60” flat screen TV. Dozens more will get neons and pub mirrors. Last year, they even gave out an old-fashioned toboggan and a huge wooden wagon. Not a single employee will miss this event. In fact, our night crew come in early so that they’ll have time to attend. It is, by far, the most beloved company tradition we have.
It’s not the extravagant gifts or even the prime rib that make this party so important. It’s the fact that every year, the owners of our company get together and throw their employees a party to thank us all for a hard year’s work. And ya know what? That means something.
I realize why so many of our readers (and the general public) would rather have a bonus at the end of the year. I know that we’re all a little strapped for cash, especially during the holiday season. A holiday bonus is a welcome addition to the bank account and one we could all use.
But those bonuses remind me of the often quoted business-owner motto, “I don’t need to say thank you, that’s what I pay you for.” Throwing money in someone’s direction might be appreciated, but it feels like a much less personal way of showing one’s gratitude.
Holiday parties are often made fun of for the awkward conversations with co-workers you normally tried to avoid. We roll our eyes at the secretary who gets a little too intoxicated or the executive who gets a little too handsy. We try to network through them, strategize them, avoid them. We worry about what to wear and who to talk to. We spend so much time thinking of holiday parties as work that we forget their basic function. It’s a way to celebrate.
I honestly believe that our business-owners appreciate our hard work and they use this party to show us that. You can call me naive or unrealistic if you’d like. Just don’t be upset if I call you Scrooge. I think that this year-ending tradition helps my company to start the new year on a positive foot, with an optimistic viewpoint. It helps every employee feel a little more dedicated to their company and a little more valued by their bosses. The holiday party feels like so much more than a free meal and a couple presents.
Money is always nice, but during the holidays, the appreciation and thoughtfulness that our supervisors put in to our celebration means so much more. My co-workers and I would be disappointed if we didn’t receive a year-end bonus, but I think we would be devastated if we lost our office party.