By: Todd M. Schoenberger, @JonesFallsPub

Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

All-in-all, 2016 has been kind of a dud.  Other than the historic and overly-epic drama of the Presidential Election, the year of the monkey is leaving us with wanting and desiring more.

Sure, there have been one-off energetic moments, such as the Cubs (finally) winning the World Series and the tragic loss of Prince and David Bowie; but overall, though, this year will likely not be one many of us will reflect as significantly memorable.

todd-schoenberger-corporate-holiday-partyNow don’t tell this ho-hum nonsense to New York City’s party planners!  They are planning the season’s most sensational corporate holiday parties even Jay Gatsby would be proud of, and hoping to create a 2016 memory for posterity.

One of Manhattan’s more reputable corporate party planners, New York Fun Factory, is reporting a ten percent pop in revenues this holiday season.  The company has an enviable list of clients, which include hedge funds, Fortune 500 companies, and nonprofits.  NYFF’s clients are spending an average of $120,000 on parties this year, compared to $100,000 in 2015.

“They are all high-end clients and, if anything, they are spending more this year,” said co-owner Jonathan Glatt to the New York Post.  “It’s the last vestige of corporate socialization.”

And why shouldn’t companies commit to eye-popping budgets to entertain and celebrate with their employees (and significant others, of course).  The markets are roaring, the economy is soaring and the fella who just won the White House is making people think we’ll soon experience Reagan 2.0.  It’s a good time to be alive.

todd-schoenberger-holiday-partyAccording to New York Magazine, the most expensive party at the New York Palace Hotel this year, hosted by a car company, will have over 200 guests, a twenty-piece band, Brazilian dancers, and “fun booths” where people can have their picture printed on various objects.  The budget for this soiree is a cool $250,000.  And down at the China Club, there’s a 1,300-head affair planned with a jazz quartet and a flamenco band.

“For a long time—well, since 9/11—they weren’t hiring bands,” event coordinator, Adrienne Hara, said to New York Magazine.

If you are one of the fortunate invitees to these sensational bashes, it’s a good idea to remember you’re still on the clock.  Grant it, you’ll likely be toe-tapping to a Billy Ocean remix while sipping a holiday concoction that’s likely stronger than what you may be accustomed to, but the event is still a work function.  Hence, the critical word here is ‘work.’

A poll conducted by human resource firm, Adecco, reported 40 percent of respondents had seen or suffered a major indiscretion at a work-sponsored holiday event.  In addition, nearly a quarter of you admit to drinking too much, while 14 percent were terminated because of bad (i.e., sexual) behavior.

Yikes!

todd-schoenberger-corporate-holiday-partiesFortunately for all of us we have Battalia Winston here to offer unsolicited advice.  The global executive search firm offered a set of workplace party rules that many of you, ahem (yes, you know who you are), should tattoo to your chest.  I added my own thoughts to these rules, so you can thank me later.

  • Two-Drink Minimum. Yeah, ok. How about you just don’t drink? You want to get sauced, do it in your spare time at home. Everyone knows of some former co-worker who decided to treat the annual party fest as a senior prom and make a move on the boss’ wife. Not a good idea.
  • Choose your Date Wisely. Another great suggestion. Men—try to bring someone who uses utensils and speaks in complete sentences. Ladies—do you really want to explain to coworkers how your date has five teeth: two in his mouth, three in his pocket. Best to be picky in this area.
  • Hands Off and Eyes Up. Here’s the best explanation from Battalia Winston: “Female employees are often dressed to the nines, showing skin. Keep your eyes up and hands off at all costs.” There’s nothing for me to add here.
  • Your Evening Dress should be Professional. Indeed, but if you need a lesson on how to dress at a corporate function, you may just want to pretend you’re ill (and get sauced at home). Why risk it?
  • Exit Early. So true. In this world of PC’n and social networking, nothing good will ever come from staying too long at the corporate event. My suggestion: Show on time, drink a Sprite, and split before co-worker David entertains everyone with his Karaoke rendition of Caribbean Queen.

Good luck on the party circuit, people!  If you have a funny story from the 2016 corporate holiday party tour, please share in the comments section below.  Be safe and have fun!