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5 Things Jews Shouldn’t Do at the Office Holiday Party

December 4, 2014 | by Marnie Winston-Macauley

If you can’t sing, tell jokes, don’t make the office party your debut.

Thanksgiving is over and it’s that time again. The holidays are upon us as is “The Office party” or “How I can make a complete yutz out of myself in three hours” – or maybe torch a career.

For non-Jews, all the HO-HO-ing, lights, bells, crèches, candy canes, holly boughs, songs (written mostly by Jews) over loudspeakers bring on unbridled joy, at least until they see their Visa bill. But We Jews are happy with our eight candles, chocolate coins, potatoes, a few dreidels and Star of David key chain.

Whatever you do, about don’t ask your boss about his recent paralysis with Botox;

Mercifully, most of us who let loose stick to the small stuff. Our voices get a little loud, we forget the boss’s wife’s name, or slip, face down, on the faux snowflakes. That’s an “Oy.”

A “Gevalt” is when you become an office legend years after you’re gone … which could be right after the mini mushroom wreaths.

For “Seinfeld” aficionados, Elaine’s “dance” at a J. Peterman office party is a “walking” disaster. She thought her co-workers, forming a circle around her were WOWed by her moves -- a combination of the Sprockets (SNL) and an insane centipede. We too are not immune. Is there anyone among us without a Tante Birdie who thinks she’s the life of the Purim party, while the guests are thinking “Oy Gevalt! Shoot me now?”

In another episode, George not only invented giving the gift of charity to “The Human Fund” to avoid spending a shekel, he made up a whole holiday: “Festivus for the Rest of Us” that his father, a lunatic, invented to fight commercialism. The customs included the “Airing of Grievances” where the guests scream insults, to “Feats of Strength” requiring wrestling, more screaming, and no doubt a stay at Mt. Sinai – the hospital, where the holiday spirit will consist of a diet of Jell-O and rice pudding. So much for Peace on Earth, which is perfect for George, whose religion, never mind his home planet, is a mystery.

I confess, I’ve been guilty of yutzism at these gatherings. At Howard Stern’s agent’s party, I managed to stick a whole cheese wheel into a tiny clutch purse. Why did I do something that even a demented magician wouldn’t try? Not only was geometry never my subject, but when 20 Jewish writers are making side bets, it isn’t easy to beg off the bagging, which led me to tilt, spilling a glass of wine on the fency-dency agent. He glared at me all night like Goliath looked at David. Not great for business.

So, what have we learned thus far? If you can’t sing, dance, tell jokes, don’t make the office party your debut.

Here are more Office Holiday Party Don’ts, if you want to be invited to the office party next year – assuming you’ve still got office.

5 Things Jews Shouldn’t Do at the Office Holiday Party

1. Get More than a Bissel Buzzed. Mamalas, you’re Jewish. Chances are you grew up with: a) enough Manischewitz to put you in sugar shock, but not get you shikkered; b) Slivovitz – for zayde; and c) One bottle of Canadian Club that’s been locked up for 20 years for “guests”. While We Jews have been known to imbibe on festive occasions, this isn’t Purim and unless you work for Hymie Schpeilman, they’re not serving Kedem. So you, darlings, could get shnockered on something a little stronger than kosher crème de menthe or schnapps. This can lead to bizarre happenings that include starting a round of “Tradition! Tradition!” or winding up face down on a fruitcake. Revealing your inner maniac is not a strategy for “How to Succeed in Business while Really Trying.” Redemption isn’t easy once you do the Hora with yourself in front of machers.

2. Debate the Mystery of Hanukkah vs. How Santa Could Shlep Around the World in One Night with a Sick Reindeer. You and I know there’s no Santa. But if you work “secular” the Office Party isn’t the time to: a) ask the CEO “So nu, how come there’s only one Menorah?” b) explain you get eight presents which is better than a set of Lionel trains (invented by a Jewish boy) and Chia Heads of the Three Wise Men; c) talk about the fire hazard of houses with more red and green lights than the traffic signals in Hoboken, New Jersey.

3- Kvetch or Gossip. True, despite no loshon hora, when warmed up, We Jews can get upclose and very personal. So, for you, my dear readers here’s a list of “Don’t Asks.” 1- about your boss’s recent paralysis with Botox; 2- the vilda Chaya in billing; 3- your chronic heartburn when under work stress; 4- about how the boss’s son is doing in the mailroom with this GED, while yours is acing “Norse Literature” at Harvard; 5- why the CEO is so cheap he gave turkeys instead of a bonus. Darlings, these “intimate” convos will travel faster than a speeding bullet landing in your boss’s memory bank. Tonight your “best pals” will become tomorrow’s enemies if you decide to get too upclose and personal.

4- Bring the Uninvited. While bringing the family may prevent you from having to cook at home, the boss has shelled out for this. If you bring your wife, children and in-laws, you’re over-taking, and annoying your colleagues who, instead of shmoozing with each other are stuck in the corner – foodless - with your aunt Tillie talking bunions.

5- Watch the Wackies: The list includes for example: suggesting you bring your accordion, bassoon or puppets to “entertain” in case the rap band bombs, or making a toast to the company when no one asked you. Pushing and over-hugging will also “throw you under that bus” which clearly needs a new driver, given all the accidents mentioned on reality TV.

Should you blow it, apologize! Yes. Talk, e-mail, or text all those you’ve insulted. If you need to use Bccs, then mamalas, take my advice and start e-mailing resume services.

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