Office Christmas parties have become quite the competitive sport in recent years. What was once a few plastic cups of lukewarm bubbly gathered around the water cooler (and quite possibly an inappropriate snog with the accounts geek in the hallway) before the team dispersed for the holidays has become an event planner’s dream, with many companies investing lots of time and money into creating next level Christmas parties as a way to say thank you for all the work you’ve put in throughout the year. It’s a great team bonding exercise; a celebration of company culture and a way to start the holidays early.
While there’s definitely a party culture in Ibiza – not to mention some of the most impressive, off-the-scale event planners who can make anything happen – there’s not so much of a corporate culture here and the seasonal nature of so many of the island’s businesses means company Christmas parties are not quite the crazy no-holds barred affairs that might automatically spring to mind when you think of the party capital of the world. First of all – there are only a very limited amount of venues open in which to host your event. Second, most if your team are scattered all over the world by this stage. And third – when you have parties on tap all summer long, by December (for some of us, anyway), all you really want to do is curl up by the fireplace and get an early night.
Take the White Ibiza annual Christmas get together for example. Now I’m sure many of you would be expecting to hear stories of a sunny lunch that started on Thursday afternoon and carried all the way through until Friday morning, dancing on a bar, crazy road trips through the countryside to find the next destination or a sunrise skinny dip at Las Salinas. Nope. For us, it was quite the unconventional Christmas party; a stylish and civilised team dinner in a lovely restaurant where we sipped sake and nibbled sushi until just before midnight (because like Cinderella, most of us wanted to be home before midnight to avoid turning into a pumpkin).
Instead of shrieking and squealing into a karaoke microphone or guzzling champagne from the bottle and taking group selfies in the bathroom, we bantered about the fact pumpkins have flowers; we agreed everyone absolutely must purchase 400-thread count Egyptian cotton bedding in the new year; we ruminated on how to make vegan bone broth; we googled the Spanish word for radish and we giggled over the fact adult British people still say things like ‘dippy eggs’ and ‘eggy bread’ (as you may guess, most of our team are from other parts of the world). And then we all went home, with not even the slightest temptation to pass by the Marina and see if there were any other parties we could crash.
As I snuggled into my amazing new winter duvet with a lovely warm cup of organic lavender tea before the clock struck 12, I asked myself whether our version of an office party was boring? Or worse still – were we boring? I started to look at pictures online of friends in other countries at their Christmas parties, or clients’ Christmas parties and tried to envision putting myself in their place. Did I secretly want to be playing beer pong? Was I wishing our office had been transformed into a tropical fantasyland with topless waiters handing out cocktails all night long before splashing about a blow up pool in the conference room? (Sidenote: we don’t actually HAVE an office – our entire team works remotely)
Did I imagine myself making out with a co-worker in the toilet? (Another sidenote: all my co-workers are women) Did I want to be serenaded by a reality TV star who was being paid to be at the party? (Final sidenote: yes, this really happened to a friend of mine). I must have drifted off during these thought processes, because next thing I knew, I woke up just after the sunrise with my make-up removed, last night’s clothes in the laundry basket and my shoes neatly tucked away where they belong, without even a hint of a hangover (a Christmas miracle!). I was happily at my computer at the sprightly hour of 9am, ready to write a blog about Christmas parties and NOT having to do it in between trips to the bathroom to puke (as has been the case in previous party times) or indeed, not being able to recall the event I was trying to write about. And so the answer to my original question about being boring was immediately clear. No. Definitely not. Well, not this year anyway!
Of course not all Ibiza Christmas parties are as chilled and laidback as ours. There’s a huge community of self-employed people and freelancers in Ibiza, many of whom were recently lamenting the fact they had no office Christmas party to attend. Within 15 minutes, a WhatsApp group had been assembled, a Facebook event created and voila! Dozens of people came together and created their very own kind of non-company Christmas party complete with Santa hats, reindeer ears, new friends and all the kind of antics you might associate with Ibiza. In this case, I can’t be the one to kiss and tell, as I was sworn to secrecy, but for anyone wondering if Christmas parties in Ibiza were all as well-behaved as ours, well, rest assured – the party spirit lives on!