Every Christmas party I’ve had in my entire professional life has been the same. It’s a potluck with sometimes management providing the meats. There 's usually a handful of people who feel entitled to bring their families to it. Then we argue over whether or not it’s a work engagement only or a social gathering, yep work engagement and during working hours. Someone always brings something that looks, shall we say interesting, as their dish, and it doesn’t really get touched. I try those to encourage people to keep bringing interesting things so it doesn’t become too boring and yes, some of it is gross… haven’t died yet. Help desk rotates in and out throughout the hours because someone has to man the phones… then about half go home for the day and the others stay to meet deadlines… some start their 1–2 week vacation.
There is never any alcohol. If anyone is screwing they’re the same ones that have found abandoned closets months ago. The only touching we do is for awkward pictures for the employee newsletter or website or a temporary good-bye for those vacationers.
Sometimes a manager you know will retire in a few years talks about the good ole days… the raging parties but almost all those people are gone or lingering and will be gone soon.
I know other industries are different… but maybe they shouldn’t be. They join the mundane events the rest of us have, but the best part was seeing and talking to others from departments you never see most the year.