Every year… Yes, this year too Christmas will be performed. If you like it or not. Auntina, who since the beginning of time organizes the annual office Christmas party at Hotair Ltd, is totally snowed under with work. More in desperation than by faith in her capability she had delegated the organizing to Confusina this year.
As usual when workload looms, Confusina was not taken so much with the idea. But Auntina manages to persuade her:
Auntina: „Confusina, I desperately need your help. I thought of bringing a fresh breeze into our Christmas party this year. And as you always have so zappy ideas I immediately thought of you.“
Confusina sighs: „What will I have to do?“
Auntina: „Don’t worry. Here is the list of attendees. The invitation is already prepared. You just need to find a nice restaurant, fix a date and insert the relevant infos in the invitation. And then send it out to the complete list.“
Confusina: „And how to …?“
Auntina: „find a restaurant? Oh girl, don’t tell me you’ve never been on Tripadvisor or Google Maps. I thought you youngsters permanently do these things nowadays, don’t you?“
Confusina: „Well, euh …“
Auntina: „Such a Christmas party is a very important event for the whole company, you know. If well done, Bigboss will notice. And finally, the organizing of an event is a project too. You are studying project management, and you are permanently complaining that you can’t practice enough. Here we go!“ With these words she hands over to Confusina a USB stick with the documents and gives her a little nudge towards the door.
Confusina, hesitating about her emotions, shambles back to her office. She is torn between frustration about the huge amount of work to come and the enormous responsibility she has just been assigned to. Finally, the pride prevails. And now, she tells everybody whether he or she listens or not what important project she is managing now.
Two weeks passed by since this conversation between Auntina and Confusina. With juvenile thoughtlessness, Confusina had put the data stick with the documents for the Christmas party aside. There were more important things to do. For example, telling the colleagues about it… We know her good enough to visualize this. No need for further details here.
10 days left until Christmas and Confusina has not done a stroke of work for the Christmas party. “Now its about time!” she finally realizes and gets to work with enthusiasm. She remembers Auntina saying something about Tripadvisor and Google Maps. “Let’s have a look if we can find something decent in this one-horse-town … there you are … and just around the corner! … Isn’t that the one Bigboss always goes with clients? … Sure, that’s it!” Without hesitation she picks up the phone. Yes, a bit short-notice but they’ll render possible for the Hotair Ltd. Bigboss is a very good client after all. How about Thursday before Christmas? Perfect? Wonderful. They would send her over the propositions for the menu by email.
Confusina hardly believes it. “That was easy! Why does everybody always act like they were born yesterday? Took me less than 5 minutes.” No doubt that our Confusina likes it that way. She beams with pride and rubs her hands together with glee. Then she inserts the name of the restaurant and the date into the invitation file. Now, attaching it to a mass email and send it to all the folk on the list. But wait, didn’t this nice man from the restaurant say something about menu propositions? “Man! This could have gone wrong! People need to chose beforehand what they want to eat. That needs to be in the invitation too. So I better wait for the guy to send me that thing.” So she puts the whole project aside and doesn’t waste a thought about it for the next two days. Until finally this email with the menu propositions from the restaurant arrives. When reading these propositions, Confusina’s mouth starts to water.
„Game pie on cranberry bed … (Yummy!) … or Hokkaido cream soup with king prawn spit … (Miamiam!) … Pink roasted duck breast on lavender honey served with a winterly roast apple … (Hmmmmmm!) … or lamb square on thyme jus … (Wat’s that?) … served with rosemary potatoes … vegetarian alternative … (Who cares for that? Let’s see, where are the deserts? Oh, here) … Christmassy apple tarte with walnut ice cream … (Bergh, walnuts!) … or Coeur fondant au chocolat with apricot core … (No clue what that could be, but it sounds chocolatey, and chocolate is always good!) … „
Still salivating from the stimulative read, she blows in Auntina’s office waving the menu propositions.
Confusina: „Found a super restaurant! And the food is a doozie!” She puts forth the sheet with the menu propositions right up to Auntina’s nose.
Auntina turns pale and her eyes grow wider and wider: „You’ve chosen THAT for our Christmas party ?!?!?!“
Confusina, a bit irritated because of this unexpected reaction: „Euh, yes. Is a cool joint. Bigboss always goes there with clients. Must be good then. Isn’t it?“
Auntina gasps for breath: „Good it is. But did you have a look at the prices ?!?!?!“
Confusina who just realizes that she had completely ignored this aspect: „Euh … well … euh … no … I thought when Bigboss always goes there …“
Auntina: „That thing with the thinking, you should leave this to somebody who is well versed in it! Did you calculate the costs for the entire party with drinks included?“
Confusina looks crestfallen: „No, not yet.“ And when she realizes that she has messed up, tears start to well up. This could even have soften Bigboss who fortunately is absent for the moment, and Auntina was too busy maltreating her calculator and so took no notice.
Auntina, now looking up, sees Confusina in this deplorable condition; “Oh girl, bitter tears are not of much use now. I’m at least partly responsible for this dog’s breakfast. I should have briefed you much better.“
Confusina: „Briefed me?“
Auntina: „Euh, to orient you north. I should have told you more precisely what works and what does not. But I was thinking, in your studies you would at least have learned the basic processes of project management. Seams not. However, THAT does not fit into our budget. No way! Looks like we’ll have to cancel the Christmas party this year.“
Confusina: „WHAT? CANCEL?“
Auntina: „Sure, cancel. We don’t have enough time to find an alternative now just before Christmas, all restaurants are booked. We are not the only ones who want to do a Christmas party. You’ll come to my office tomorrow at 4 and we go to Bigboss together and explain him. I’m not going to do THIS alone. You better prepare for this.“
Oh, she really messed this up, our Confusina. Of course she’d already heard about budget planning and deep inside she knows what it is. But it was so pretty easy and quick to find this restaurant. And she always wanted to go there anyway. „Shit!“ Tomorrow at 4 she would have to explain to Bigboss why this year there would be no Christmas party. And it was her fault. Auntina could blame herself as much as she wanted. In the end, everybody would say that she, Confusina, had messed it up. And they would be right, she had messed it up. “Shit, shit, shit!“
In this broken-hearted mood Gurufix finds her at the coffee dispenser.
Gurufix: „Oh my dear girl, what’s wrong? You look miserable.“
Confusina: „Have messed up.“
Gurufix: „Every mess can be cleared up. What happened?“
Confusina: „Don’t have a restaurant for our Christmas party. Better, I had one but it is too expensive. And tomorrow at 4 I have to explain to Bigboss that this year’s Christmas party needs to be cancelled because I was too dumb to organize it … He will be fuming … Sniff.“
Gurufix: „This means, you have until tomorrow afternoon to find a solution. So, stop wining, pull yourself together and be inventive, girl!“
Confusina actually stops sniffing and looks at him with huge eyes: „But what? Restaurants you can forget, just before Christmas, they’re all booked now.“
Gurufix: „So think of something different. Be creative! You need a location. Perhaps there is someone out there who has a location but no money for a decent Christmas party … ?“
Confusina broods over a while, then: „The children’s home !!!“
Gurufix: „The children’s home? Sounds like somebody having an idea of saving. Tell me!“
Confusina: „My aunt is director at a children’s home and she told me they’ve already consumed their budget for this year and so they cannot do a big Christmas party with the kids. And presents are just not possible. But they have enough space. We could …“
Gurufix: „Phone her immediately and fix the date with her! This is a great idea, girl! And don’t forget to ask her for the wish list. I guess they already have a long list at hand with all the stuff they could use for the kids. And then you go shopping. Bigboss will have to fork out some money for this. And know what? If you sell this idea to Bigboss tomorrow, I’ll do the Santa Claus for you!“
Confusina: „Really? … Great!“
And so it came to pass that Confusina could present to Bigboss a nearly fully organized and a bit different Christmas party. Auntina had discreetly prepared Bigboss to a total mess, and now the two of them were all surprise from this new idea. Surprised and enthused. Bigboss allocated such a huge budget to buy presents for the kids so that Confusina could not entirely spend despite her long hours shopping binge in the toy department and despite her aunts energetic support. The left-overs were donated to the children’s home during the party.
The rest of the party was quickly organized. Confusina modified the invitation and asked all attendees to contribute with some food. With Bigboss, she had managed to convince him to move the time of the party so that it would start in the early afternoon to have more time with the kids. Projectix volunteered to take care of the drinks.
When the Hotair team arrived at the children’s home, the gym had been converted into a festive hall. The kids, having done hand-crafted Christmas decorations since weeks without really knowing what for, had now zealously decorated the hall. The brought treats were placed on a long table, completed by home-baked Christmas biscuits made by the kids with the aid of their teachers. There were sausages, salads of all kind, multiple cakes, even a real fruit loaf, hot children’s punch for the young and Chrismassy smelling mulled wine for the old … In short: food and drinks in great profusion.
To the great surprise of the visitors, the kids even had prepared a little ad-lib performance. It jolted a bit, the kids weren’t so confident with the lyrics yet due to the short preparation time. At the end of the piece, the kids produced the Christmas song “Jingle Bells” and the Hotair staff spontaneously joined in which provoked again a little stuttering because of Bigboss’s surprisingly loud and booming bass voice.
Gurufix kept his promise and appeared disguised as Santa Claus. He dragged an enormous sack behind him. The kids needed to help him to pull and push this monster forward. And they were beside themselves with joy.
Over eating, drinking, chatting and singing the evening came. When the Hotair team said goodbye, the kids offered to each of them one of the little hand-crafted room deco pieces, as a sort of souvenir to the best Christmas party they ever had.
The last thing the kids heard was the booming voice of Bigboss again: “We’ll come back next year!”
Well, we’ll skip this section this time. Man, its Christmas! Make a wish!
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