The holidays are upon us, and with that come all of the questions regarding office ettiquette for gift-giving, party-throwing, and the like.
When I worked with the Boss, I enjoyed giving a small token of holiday cheer. Because we only had two workers at our office, we did not have much of an office party. However, when the annual Christmas parade came through, he set up an open house with hot chocolate and cookies for parade-goers and his dad's chili in the kitchen for those special family and friends.
This year the rules are much different. I have twelve attorneys on my list, and I do not know many of them very well. We work in the same office, but there is not much opportunity to get to know them. I thought briefly about doing small gifts for all of them, but when I tallied it up, small gifts for all of them would still exceed my budget. I thought about doing something for the few of them that I know better than the others, but that did not seem wise either. I finally settled on nothing... at least not this year. I'll have to wait and feel out how the office handles the season before I feel comfortable putting myself out there in such a way.
Cakes, popcorn, gift buckets of goodies, I've seen my fair share of those this year. It appears that there is more to come. And those are just treats from clients and vendors. Almost every day one of the attorneys or staff will bring cookies or a spice cake for us to munch on during the day.
And then there are the parties. The staff had a "staff-only" ornament party last week complete with gifts and goodies. This was done during the work day and lasted about half an hour. The ornament exchange was fun, and the food was good, but I could not wait to get back to my desk to start billing. I suppose that is why it was a short party. Everyone had things to do, and the attorneys were waiting for us to do them.
The week before Christmas, the whole firm will have a party one afternoon. There should be plenty of food... the one thing I've learned at my firm is that we always have plenty of food. At some point, the attorneys will gather at a partner's house with clients and enjoy a party sans staff. I wonder if the staff has ever thought of doing the same at someone's house. But goodness, I would be all partied out by the time that happened.
I can't help but think that it must be a little off-putting, all this Christmas-y stuff, for my fellow office members who do not celebrate Christmas. Call it a holiday party all you want... when you have a tree and a Santa and you exchange gifts, you are celebrating traditional Christmas. At the same time, I believe whole-heartedly in the office party because, well, we've spent a whole year in the trenches together, and we should celebrate a little at the end of it all!
I've read posts and stories about the pros and cons of exchanging gifts at the office and of having parties, but I think every situation calls for its own unique approach.