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Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: Office holiday parties

Back when I worked at the college newspaper, we would have occasional parties after the work was finished for the night. We'd sneak a keg into the office, set up some beer pong and such. I always kept my head down at work and didn't goof off. But I went all-out for these parties.

I would show up wearing a kimono, or in a farmer's hat with a jug of moonshine. Everybody got a kick out of it. I don't think everybody would get a kick out of it if I did that at a Baltimore Sun holiday party. Either way, it's not an option -- there isn't an official Baltimore Sun holiday party.

In today's column (and, I think, one of his best so far), Owl Meat discusses the horrible, hazardous office holiday party. Here goes:

Nothing good can come from an office Christmas party.

With alcohol, it's a tinderbox of professional ruination. Without liquid spirits, it's a fluorescent prison of bad sweaters and forced cheer. Ho ho, no no. ...

Perhaps it's from watching "Mad Men," but I imagine a time when office Christmas parties were riotous blowouts of unleashed American angst and good-natured release of repressed urges. Back when the three martini lunch was a sign of success rather than addiction.

The dry Christmas party at the office is the worst. Throw in Secret Santa and the torment deepens. Sometimes I think these parties are all for the office party lady. You know her. She collects money for birthdays, showers, and all sorts of personal events that don't belong at work. She has the most awesome Christmas sweater ever, a gnarly philodendron begging for death, and a jar of honey mustard pretzel nuggets on her desk. She lives for the office party ... and cake. Cake cake cake.

The other party option is off-site at a bar or restaurant. This is better because at least you are out of the office. People tend to let their guard down at these parties and that's when trouble starts. Get drunk at an office party and you will never live it down.

Potential hazards: The inappropriate sexual advance, telling your boss what you really think, spilling personal info, or even a crazy dance.

Obviously it depends upon where and with whom you work. If you work in a stiff corporate environment, the "holiday" party is a mine field of sugar cookies and corporate manners. The wise person sips half a drink and begs off early due to some bogus family obligation. That's not much of a party, but at least you won't get snickered at on Monday.

What's worse than your office party? Your significant other's office party. Oh, the horror. Being a guest at someone else's office party is less fun than watching Olympic curling or cleaning your bathroom with a Q-Tip.

A few years ago at an office party, an amateur Cosmo-naut insisted with slurry enthusiasm that I simply must come to his house to make kumquat preserves. Uh, sure, e-mail about it next week. Last year, a senior researcher lashed out at her husband after one too many Manhattans – about their cat. More amusing is the non-drinker who stumbles upon the frozen cocktail – the Piña Calamity. Wind up Poindexter and watch him go. One minute he's the nerdy statistician and the next he's a ... Girl Drink Drunk.

Was there ever a time when holding mistletoe above a woman's head gave you license to mouth-mount her? Perhaps in a Jane Austen novel, but nowadays it looks more like sexual assault. Expect a sit-down with HR if you try this, Mr. Darcy.

I don't remember behaving badly at an office party and I'll leave it at that. So have you witnessed any amusing or horrifying work holiday parties? Come on, spill it. Extra points if any sort of nog is involved.

(Getty Images)

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