Here's the Scoop: Dec. 9, 2009

Just follow the rules...
Holiday work parties…you’ve got to love them. I think.
At some point, these festive events have shifted focus. One of the strangest trends I’ve noticed is that the term “holiday party” has taken on a more vague meaning. I used to think that this name was inserted so that no one’s religious beliefs were offended. That’s fine.
Now, I think these occasions are simply called “holiday parties” so the no one really questions which holiday is being celebrated. It seems that workplaces have gotten caught up in the same trend that plagues retail stores — they rush things just a bit.
For instance, I have already attended a “holiday party.” I think it was meant as a celebration of the 2009 “holiday season,” but I’m not entirely certain. Maybe it was a bit of lag time from 2008. Or, perhaps the planners were a little overenthusiastic and wanted to squeeze in the 2010 holiday party before anyone had conflicts.
From what I hear, it’s the sheer number of parties that causes these events to occur earlier each year. I suppose, that the actual date of the party can be justified — as long as everyone follows the rules.

It’s quite simple
And it seems there are a lot of rules for such gatherings. They may be numbered a bit differently in various “Top 10 Lists” but most of these directories have common themes, including: Don’t Drink Too Much, Don’t Treat the Office Party Like a Singles Bar, Don’t Tell Dirty or Off-Color Jokes, Don’t Talk About People Behind Their Backs, Don’t Use Foul Language.
By now, you’re probably noticing a pattern. You’ve realized that the word “Don’t” appears in each party rule. And, you’re also likely wondering: “What can I do at a holiday party?”
From what I can tell, not very much. Certainly nothing fun.
I Googled a number of “Office Party Rules” and each one of them was pretty restrictive. Which leads me to wonder: What’s the point?
I mean, if you can’t do inappropriate things at an office party, then why even attend? What will everyone gossip about around the water cooler on Monday?
You might be asking yourself the same question, but I should point out that most of the “Office Party Rules” lists include one “Do” item. It seems these party experts recommend that employees should attend these parties. I guess the rules-makers don’t think it’s appropriate that bosses are stuck with 32 cans of leftover cheese spread.
So, for those of you who are invited to an office holiday party that is actually going to take place some time near the holiday that it’s intended to celebrate, I will offer some advice. Go. But have no fun. Always keep the rules in mind. When in doubt about overdulging, remember that “Don’t” is the key to office party success. Enjoy. Well, not really.