I Found Him Dangling from the Roof: The Most Insane Office Christmas Parties
"My face was covered in blood, I had a black eye, and my head felt like caving in."
Illustration by Juliette Toma
Holidays are rough. Presents and Christmas trees are put head-to-head with the awkward forced socialization of office holiday parties. The annual events always end in disaster: Someone fucking the HR guy, a manager offering an intern cocaine—the list of chaotic moments goes on and on. In honor of the impending holiday doom, readers told us their worst office holiday party memories, from nights ending in bodily fluids to Christians assigned to plan Jewish holidays.
Bandages and Bosses
It was my first week at the new job, and the plan was to have a booze-soaked holiday shindig at a Russian bazaar. I showed up in a sequin purple dress and bandages on my face, because I had developed a rash, yep, on my face. My sister told me I might want to call this one off, but I am never one to miss a party. Feeling uncertain and uncomfortable, I began to chug Jim Beam on the party bus, and you know where this story ends up. I decided in a drunken haze that it would be best to have a one-on-one with the founder of the company. Soon the booze fully took hold, and I passed out. On my first week, I had to be carried out in my terrible giant fur coat that I was convinced was a good look (it wasn't). I showed up to work the next day and tried to keep my head down. One of the PR directors came in and started shouting, "TOP 5 DRUNKEST!" It was the worst.
I used to work at a Jewish organization and was put on a "Fun Committee" that mostly threw various holiday parties. My goal on this committee was to avoid actual responsibility in throwing these parties, and it seemed to be everyone else's goal, except for one girl who was a really hard worker and took on way too much responsibility. When it was brought up that we wanted to throw a party for Purim, everyone but this poor girl, who wasn't Jewish at all, backed out of organizing the party. This poor Christian girl was left to throw a party for a religion she wasn't a part of and a holiday she had never heard of. She wound up combining it with a Saint Patrick's Day celebration since the two fell on the same day, and it wound up being a lot of weird fun, but I felt really bad for her.
I had been dating this girl for two years and finally decided to introduce her to people that I worked with. I took her to my work Christmas party, and she was a hit with everybody. A few weeks after Christmas, we broke up. Another year went by, and another office Christmas party rolled around. My boss told everybody that he was bringing his new girlfriend and that things were getting pretty serious. As my boss showed up at the party, everybody went to greet him and found my ex-girlfriend on his arm. There wasn't enough alcohol at that party to make the awkwardness go away.
Bloody in Boots
Last year, I drank wine at my office party because I had won a bottle of wine as a raffle. I didn't eat much because it was appetizers only and they went fast. After the party, our CEO took us out to the bars. The last thing I remembered was my CEO looking at me and screaming, "Drinks are on me! Whooo!" When I woke up in the morning, my face was covered in blood, I had a black eye, and my head felt like it was caving in. I asked my roommate what happened, and she said I face-planted while getting out of the cab in our driveway. Now my office uses my name as an example of a certain level of drunkenness.
Three years ago, I went to my first work holiday party since I had quit drinking. It was actually the work party of a guy I was seeing. His employer threw the event at a very fancy downtown Manhattan apartment in the home of an actress. (He worked in film, and they had just wrapped a project in time to celebrate for the holidays.) I was depressed, had extreme social anxiety, hadn't yet learned how to be in sober in public, so I was convinced that everyone hated me. Later in the night, as everyone else got drunker, my date disappeared. I didn't really know anyone else, so I went searching for him and found him on the roof dangling off the top of a high apartment building by his fingers. His friends stood around shouting for him to come back up. I learned that he was an adrenaline junkie of sorts and leaving parties to dangle off the roof was a reoccurring problem. I just stood there, cold on the roof in my black tights and holiday party dress, questioning pretty much every life decision that had brought me to that moment.
Kill Them All
My boss at a non-profit in Brattleboro, Vermont, had the holiday party at her house, which I still feel is a lovely gesture. She made mint brownies. There were very bright fluorescent green spots on the brownies. I have to admit that anything that bright green is very unappealing to me, so I didn't eat any of the brownies. The next day, I arrived to work, and nobody else had shown up except for my boss, but she had to leave very quickly due to food poisoning. She was as pale as a sheet.
* Names have been changed