Top 5 Holiday Party Horror Stories


March 31, 2013

So, we’re about a week away from the annual company holiday party season kick-off.  It seems like all companies try to cram the holiday parties in before December 15th.  Here’s my question…..

Should HR attend the holiday party?

Ok, as employees, we deserve a little celebrating too.  We’ve worked hard all year and this is our reward, right?  Plus, there is usually great food (probably something or other wrapped in bacon), drink, and maybe even a little entertainment.  BUT, what trouble lurks at the holiday party? Well, for starters, if alcohol is served, my guess is by the end of the evening there will be quite a few people having a lot of fun at the party.  What does that mean if you’re in HR?  Are you participating?  Are you monitoring?  Should you still be there?

I’ve been to my fair share of company holiday parties over the years for several different companies.  Some were tame and others were quite wild.  I have seen and heard things that as “Trish outside of work” I wouldn’t bat an eyelash.  But, those same situations as “Trish HR” are quite inappropriate.  Here are my top five holiday party horror stories (none of which are from my current employer):

  1. Cat fight in the ladies room– Yes, it’s true.  Full on war of words turned girl fight.  It was extra special because they were wearing cocktail gowns.
  2. The guy that wanted to kiss everyone– You know the guy.  He’s quiet all year at work, kind of awkward.  Pour a few scotch-on-the-rocks into him and he becomes a kissing machine.  Not pretty. Really.
  3. Gonna make you sweat– Do you remember that song by C&C Music Factory “Gonna Make You Sweat”?  Well picture a full dance floor and a secretary and a male employee dirty dancing so much they were drenched.  It was like watching a train wreck.  No one could look away.
  4. Did you know I’m nursing?– Ok, won’t share many details about this one but suffice to say a “new mom” was taking pride in showing off her new assets to anyone who wanted to look. Had to tell her to knock it off or leave.
  5. WWF on the dance floor– Ok, this one was actually funny.  Two employees were dancing.  Wound up dancing horizontally on the dance floor as the husband stood over them chanting “WWF! WWF!”  Did a disservice to the World Wrestling Federation for sure.

So, there are my top 5.  Share one of yours, if you dare. While you’re thinking, you can enjoy a little C&C Music Factory to inspire you.


  • A few years ago at the 1st offsite holiday party my company had in several years, one of the employees (luckily for that person, never identified) thought it would be funny to request a song for the GM.

    That song was a popular song by Gillette that spoke very indelicately about the lack of size of a man’s …. manhood.

    I truly wished the floor would open up and swallow me.
    It was not a good evening.

  • Then there was the time before I was in HR. The time where the plant manager had (at least) one too many and started insulting the well-connected HR manager. 48 hours later there was a new plant manager.

  • Clearly you have had a more colorful holiday party history than I have had. I think I have been missing out…

    Thanks for the stories.

    • @Tammy- What a nightmare! Can’t imagine having to deal with that GM as he heard the song. Ugh!

      @Tim G- Wow, lesson learned not to piss off the HR person at the holiday party, right?

      @Michael- Stick with me kid….

  • Love #3. People sweat, it happens. I get it. Some people sweat while dancing, and some sweat while just walking around the office. From what I’ve witnessed, the employees that sweat just walking around the office tend to rain out of their pores when they are out dancing at company parties. Deeeeescusting!

    Thanks for sharing this list!

    • @Rich- Glad you enjoyed it. For me, sweat and co-workers and dancing don’t mix. lol

  • Thanks for sharing! Unfortunately, most of my embarrassing party stories are from college (though probably equally entertaining).

    Honestly, though, HR should be there to have as much fun and entertainment as the rest of the company. The party is a chance for mingling and socializing that the normal workday doesn’t provide, and it’d be unfair for HR to remain in role – as it were – when everyone else does not.

    • @Jonathan- Thanks for the comment. I know you’re right, but something about being there for too long makes me uneasy.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.





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