’tis the season of workplace holiday angst

It’s Thanksgiving, so in place of regular posts the rest of the day, here are some holiday posts from the past to enjoy.

1. I punched a coworker at the company Christmas party

2. company is banning alcohol at its holiday party, even if we buy it ourselves

3. my manager insists on assigning seats at a holiday lunch that we pay for ourselves

4. Christmas tantrums, Hanukkah balls, and other workplace holiday disasters (includes the origin of Hanukkah balls!)

5. do I really have to attend my office holiday party?

6. my office Secret Santa gave me a sex toy

7. my office wants us to chip in to send our CEO’s family on a ski trip

8. how can I tell my staff not to give me holiday gifts?

Happy Thanksgiving.  (And starting next week, we’ll have a flood of updates from letter-writers. Exciting!)

{ 28 comments… read them below }

  1. Worker Bee (Germany)*

    I miss Thanksgiving and my american friends. The latter more today than any other day. Have a great holiday. Greetings from the office!
    Oh so excited for all the updates. Love this time of year.

  2. Sketchee*

    After reading some of these and some of the comments, it’s a wonder that companies still try to have parties and holiday events at all! It’s a no win situation, people seem to just dislike the things so much. Haha =)

    1. danr*

      At my last firm, holiday parties were held during the week before Christmas and were staff run. Each department or a group of departments had their own parties. We had none of the drama. What were we doing wrong??? [grin].

  3. John B Public*

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    I’m thankful for Allison’s work and experience that she shares with us, and I’m thankful for everyone’s input and comments that enrich this site.

    All of you are an amazing resource for us working schlubs, it’s nice to know when our expectations are off base or when we’re really surrounded by dysfunction.

    -J Q P

  4. Mallory Janis Ian*

    Holy Hanukkah balls! T’is the season to copiously use the phrase ‘Hanukkah balls’. I’ve been waiting for this all year.

  5. Mimmy*

    I never understood the story behind “Hannakah balls” (must’ve missed this post originally), so thanks for posting the office holiday disasters!

    1. FD*

      IIRC it came from a company’s misguided attempt to be inclusive by getting Hannakah themed ornaments for a Christmas tree.

  6. Connie-Lynne*

    Oh my god, I had forgotten Alison’s excellent response to gift-money-collectors who get pushy with “It’s not that much” was “I’m glad that’s true for you” and a smile.


  7. Liz*

    I’m curious — the comments in the ski-trip-for-the-boss post veered off into discussion of a workplace etiquette book that Alison was keen to write. Did anything come of that, Alison, or did it go on the backburner?

    (My boss, the owner of the business, was recently in hospital, and there was considerable debate about the etiquette of using the company credit card — so, her own money — to buy her flowers. Such a book would have come in handy!)

  8. Wren*

    I wonder if the company with the OP who got the sex toy put in the effort to find out the culprits. Even if the whole thing was conducted blind with no record, if they really wanted to know, they just had to ask every person who participated to report what they gave and what they received, and either someone would have to admit they were the d-bag responsible, or there would be an inconsistency which would out them.

    1. AuroraRose16*

      Were the group of guys that did this 12-year-olds? I sympathize with the OP. She put the money and effort into her gift…who might have been given to one of these dummies. They might have messed up future holiday events with their immaturity.

  9. R*

    I hate to derail, and maybe I should wait for later, but I’ve landed my boss for Secret Santa. (This is incredibly galling from the ‘gifts flow down not up’ view point especially given I’m literally on the opposite end of the hierarchy at work). Any suggestions on gifts? I don’t know him at all, not even his exact age (somewhere around 60 I suspect?)

    1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      Ugh. I feel for you.

      For secrete Santa this year I got the person who was so bad at her work that they had to pass off all of her complex projects to me and I had to hand over all my simple ones. Oh, and then I later found out she makes 50% more than I do.

      Very bitter about having to get her gifts but it is too late to switch.

  10. Hornswoggler*

    Dumb-English-Person question: what is a door prize? I’ve come across this on a lost of recent holiday-themed posts and comments and I’ve never heard of it before. Is it like a raffle prize or something? Thanks for any enlightenment!

    1. NJ Anon*

      Usually at some sort of event, each attendee gets a raffle ticket (for coming through the door?) and at some point a ticket is randomly drawn and that person wins the “door” prize.

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