Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 12.15.06
Stanstead, Quebec


General office party rule: no photocopying

The office Christmas party is rife with tradition: the goodwill between co-workers, the exchanging of suet-based gifts, skinny-dipping in the eggnog, the yuletide unicycles. Oh wait, those are traditions only here at Murray Corp.

Whatever your tradition, the office party can be a minefield - an admittedly bad theme for a Christmas party. Anyway, to get to the point, this week I'll answer your office party-related questions.

I do business with several companies and therefore feel obliged to attend a number of office Christmas parties. I'm worried about the damage this will do to my liver. Any recommendations?

If you're in an urban area, you're in luck. Most cities operate a volunteer service around Christmas time called Foie Rouge. If you plan to be doing some heavy drinking, you just call them up ahead of time and they will loan you a liver for the evening.

It's important to phone in advance because there are a limited number of livers available and the loan process takes several hours and four weeks' recovery time.

This is not to be confused with Fois Rouge, which is a service for those who like to live on borrowed time.

Our company holds a "Secret Santa" gift exchange. Instead of buying each other gifts, I think we should take the money we would otherwise spend and donate it to a local charity. What's a good way to broach this with my superiors without causing offence?

Uh-oh, looks like someone has a case of Christmas Guilt! Sure, donating to a help someone less fortunate than you will temporarily relieve you of that guilt. But a Homer Simpson key chain lasts forever!

Double-dipping: yea or nay?

Let basic hygiene be your guide. If you can pull it off cleanly, go for it. If, however, you slobber all over, back away from the Creamy Ranch. Incidentally, this same rule applies to kissing co-workers under the mistletoe.

I've been having serious issues with my boss lately and I've built up a lot of hostility inside. I'm worried that if I have a few drinks at the office party I may tell him what I really think. Advice?

Carpe diem. That's Latin for "seize the boss." There is no better time to tell off your superior than when you've had too many.

Why? Because he (or she) probably has had a few as well! Chances are your boss will be equally tipsy and will either a) not remember or b) be feeling the same resentment towards you and will welcome the opportunity to express what he (or she) is feeling. It's cleansing.

So go ahead; call your boss a "chisel-headed soul-sucking excuse for a man (or possibly a woman, it's hard to tell)."

I call Christmas parties "death by small talk." Any survival tips?

Party conversations can indeed be awkward. The best thing to do is to avoid talking altogether. But how?

Simple: Do not make eye contact. Stand in a corner and mutter to yourself. Keep your mouth full of shrimp in case anyone foolishly tries to strike up a conversation. If they insist on waiting until you've swallowed, present a written statement declaring that you've taken a solemn oath to speak only in Klingon.

You know what I like about you? C'n I tell you? You're… you're a good guy. No, I mean that. You really "get" me, y'know what I mean? You and me, we're not like these other people. Buncha suck-ups. Hey! Y'know what we should do? We should go let the air out of Ol' Chisel Head's tires. Yeah, man, that'd be so cool. C'mon… What, are you chicken? No, I won't calm down, you calm down! Shut-up! You're just like all the rest. You wanna piece of me? You wanna go?