Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Office Holiday Party

Our office holiday party is fast approaching and once again I find myself in a quandary. I love the people I work with. Everyone gets along well, we laugh a lot and it's just a great place to work. This year the party will be at the same Italian restaurant that it was at last year. It's a nice place with good food.

Problem is.....I don't want to go.

We all have to buy a $15 grab bag gift, and I have a big issue with that. Last year I think it was $10, and I suggested we take all of that money and donate it to a charity or to the local food pantry, and no one liked my idea.

No, I am not a volunteer at any organizations, but I do donate money wherever and whenever I can. I feel that when you have an opportunity to do should. :)

I understand that the holiday party brings the staff together for some fun away from the office. I understand that it is once a year. I understand most of us are already making a donation to a local charity through the school district. I understand it's okay to spend money even though others can't....believe me I do spend money. I understand that we can't help everyone. I get all of that. I really do. For some reason this just bothers me. I just think spending $15 on a senseless gift that no one probably wants or needs is truly a waste of money....and in this economy, with so many people out of work and local charities crying out for just doesn't feel right to me.

It would be so awesome if we all walked with with bags filled with $15 worth of food that we could take to the local food pantry, or if we all came with bags filled with mittens, hats and scarves for the homeless. That would feel so good.

I know if I don't go I will be missing out on a nice evening with people I really enjoy being around, but I honestly don't think I can do it. If I do buy the gift and go, I know I will sit at the party and be very unhappy with myself for doing it. I would much rather take the $20 for the dinner and the $15 for the grab bag and stuff it into a Salvation Army kettle, or buy that food for the food pantry or the mittens, hats and scarves for the homeless...and I might just have to do that.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Were you happy with the decision you made?


Cathryn said...

I believe part of the reason you see the office party as a waste of cash and resources is because you do alot of recycling of materials yourself. Your home, your shops, and your lifestyle reflects those decisions. Those are healthy, resourceful decisions made by healthy and resourceful people.

Your colleagues, however, view the party as release from the constraints of work, and a social occasion. They see this particular party as their time that they don't have to think about social justice issues and it's a time to party.

This is not an easy decision to make.

If you already know you will be unhappy going to this affair--then please stay home. Or better yet, donate some time at the local animal shelter, homeless shelter, food pantry or nursing home. Your holiday spirit includes those who may not have much of a holiday.

You have a great way with people. You can tell them that this year, you are celebrating the true meaning of the holiday.

Have I been there? Yes. I was not happy when I caved in to my colleagues and at the same time. I wished had I had stayed true to my convictions because I would have been happier than winning the silly little door prize that found itself in the donation box two days later. I don't know if this will help or not. *Sends you a Zen Hug*

Kathy said...

You are awesome Cathryn. It's like you are reading my mind. Thanks. :)

jen said...

I understand completely. I have lots of times that my thinking is not in line with the group's. That being said...I think you should go. It's not about the gifts and you know that. It's about the people. Go have fun with your work friends. Can you opt out of the gift exchange? Not put anything in, and not take anything out? Maybe that's the answer. Just a thought. Hope you're happy with whatever you choose! :)

Angela said...

I think you should go and have a good time! Buy your $15 gift from Etsy and help someone out that way...

We have a Holiday party at work every year and exchange names. I would rather spend the money on my family than my coworkers- but I do it. There is one lady who decided (after 17 years) not to participate anymore and it was really a downer. It is just a night for fun...try to see it for just that.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

You should do what your gut tells you--skip the party, spend $4 of that money on a good coffee and enjoy a quiet evening and give the balance to charity. I think that while they're well-intentioned, office holiday parties are just another layer of stress during a time that's already pretty demanding on people's emotions/wallets/schedules.

Joyce said...

I can't agree with you more. I have been on the receiving and the one putting the company party together. I enjoy the place I work and the people at work but would rather spend time doing the things I like to do.
One year I suggested this to my employer and so we gave out very nice gc at employee's favorite restaurant. This year I thought how about doing volunteer work as a company. Would you believe I'm having a hard time planning this one? We will see things always work themselves out. Have a golden day! xo

Lanyardlady said...

My issue with office parties is feeling like you have to attend. I think each person should be given the option to do what most fulfills them during the holiday season; attend parties, buy gag gifts, volunteer time or make a donation somewhere. I would go to the party if you want to be with your colleagues, but I not hesitate to say I'm skipping dinner and I've given my $15 to charity. The spirit of the season is in doing what comes from the heart.

DUTA said...

Go to the party, as one never knows what the economic future will bring in the following years.

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