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15 December 2014
By Aaron Todd
It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not because Santa is making his final preparations to invade your home and trade decoratively wrapped gifts for a few sugar cookies. It's the best time of year because offices around the world are holding their annual office holiday parties.
There's something about seeing all of your colleagues outside of the confines of work that changes the way people behave. And it's a great opportunity to make some predictions about just what might happen at the annual gathering.
A day or two before the office party, get everyone on your team together and make a few prop bets on the outcome of the office holiday party. Every office party is going to have its own vibe, so you'll have to set your categories and lines appropriately, but here are some ideas to get you started.
10. Who won't stop talking about work?
One of the great things about an office holiday party is that it gives people who work together every day an opportunity to get to know each other outside of their working environment. You often get to meet your colleagues' spouses, learn about their children and discover personal information that you might not normally learn. Some people, however, just don't understand that concept and babble on and on about whatever project they're working on.
If you're going to have to listen to it, why not wager on who it's going to be and make things more interesting?
9. Number of dessert items
The holidays are an excuse to overdo just about everything, including sugary treats. Take predictions on the number of types of desserts that will be offered, or set an over/under line. Then, take bets on whether you (or someone else who is willing to take on the challenge) will be able to sample one of every kind of dessert offered. Be prepared with TUMS or Pepto-Bismol for the ensuing stomach ache.
8. Who over-imbibes first?
There's always at least one person who enjoys him or herself just a little too much at the annual office holiday party. Sometimes it's a whole host of people. The question is, who is going to be the first person to set that tone? Set the odds for a few likely candidates and a couple long shots as well, then wait and see who starts laughing a little too loudly and starts throwing a few unnecessary expletives into their conversations first.
7. Best dancer
Let's hope your office holiday party involves enough revelry and music to get people dancing. I'm sure you'll be able to hazard a guess as to who the best dancer in your office is. The thing is, the best dancer is probably one of the people you'd least expect it to be. Go for a long shot on this one.
6. First person to leave
The office holiday party isn't for everyone. Kudos to the people who still manage to make an appearance in spite of the fact that the last thing they really want to do at the end of the day is hang out with the people they work with. There's a good chance you know who those people are in your office. Then again, sometimes people surprise you. If you're having a hard time figuring out the best candidates, bet on the people with young kids who are paying for a babysitter.
5. Length of the boss's speech
When you go to your office holiday party, you go knowing full well that the head honcho is going to get up to thank everyone for coming and say a few words about the company. The question is, how detailed is he or she going to get? Set an over/under line on the length of the speech. That way, when the speech starts getting a little long, you can look at your watch with anticipation, wondering if the over or under is going to come through. If you bet the over, just be aware of what's happening around you when the speech gets there. You don't want to be cheering because you just won a bet only to find out your boisterous celebration came right after the boss said, "It was difficult, but necessary to lay off a third of our workforce earlier this year."
4. Time of night when someone orders the first round of shots
Some office parties get pretty wild. If yours fits this category, watch the bar closely and see when the first round of shots gets ordered. It's usually around this time that the night takes an unmistakable turn, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes for the epic.
3. Person responsible for the most inappropriate gift exchange item
Some office parties include a gift exchange, and invariably it's painfully awkward. People try to act excited about gifts they didn't really want, and if your office engages in a "Yankee Swap" — easily the most horrible of all holiday traditions — people can get really bent out of shape when someone takes something they really wanted and gives them junk in return.
Thankfully, there's always one person who makes the event comical by wrapping up something incredibly inappropriate or funny. Chances are, you know who that person is likely to be. Find a colleague who's willing to bet on it and follow your instincts.
2. Who ends up pairing off?
There's nothing more cliché than the office party hook-up, but to deny that it happens is to deny that the sun is going to rise in the morning. Sure, it may not happen at your office party, but then again, it might.
Set odds and take wagers, then watch closely to see if any of your prospective pairs end up sneaking off together.
1. Worst hangover the next day
People's calendars are stacked during the holiday season, so many office parties actually occur during the week. That means that people are expected to come to work the next day, often after overdoing things the night before. Most people know that's it a major faux pas to skip work the day after the office holiday party, so they soldier on and come to work no matter how hung over they are. Most hide it well; others, not so much.
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