Work Christmas parties can be awkward affairs.
On the one hand not going at all, especially for senior staff, is hardly sociable
but on the other, they can involve so much artificial bonne homme and alcohol
that their after effects can seem far from festive.
Yesterday's lunchtime Christmas party of the newly merged PWW firm,
was the best I have ever attended in over 35 years of office life.
The venue was at the City of London Cutlers' Hall, which
has its origins in cutlery and sword making. The Cutlers' Hall was atmospheric
and festooned with Christmassy decor as well
as some magnificent silver swords (and cutlery).
We had the Hall to ourselves.
The 80 PPW people
including 6 guests, sat around a horseshoe shaped table.
There was a grand pianist in attendance.
The P&B Methodist tradition of Grace Before Meals was adopted as whole heartedly
by the Catholic WW contingent. Party hats and Christmas crackers
plus good food and drink would have ensured success anyway but
someone had an idea that we should sing.An idea that would not normally have appealed to
me very much. Nonetheless a few partners and staff were
volunteered to form a choir and we were away with a gusto.
Even staff who were Muslim or of other non Christian faiths,
or none, were soon swept up in the spirit (Spirit?) of the occasion,
singing eg "Away in a Manger" as enthusiastically as the most
earnest of the Christian staff.
Interspersing the carols with
popular non religious songs eg from The Sound of Music and having
a very talented pianist willing to take up the challenge
of so adlib or was it adhoc, a choir, made the party really fun and a lovely
way to begin the Christmas holidays.
I especially liked the mix
of festival and respect for the Christmas message.