Ghost of Christmas past?

Note: This is an amended rerun of Jody’s December 2000 column, which is taken from emails worthy of print.

Email from Pat Lewis, HR Director. Date: Dec. 1. Re: Christmas Party.
I’m happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on Dec. 23, starting at noon in the banquet room at Luigi’s Open Pit Barbecue. No-host bar, but plenty of eggnog! We’ll have a small band playing traditional carols … feel free to sing along. And don’t be too surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus!

From: Pat Lewis. Date: Dec. 2. Re: Christmas Party. In no way was yesterday’s memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday that often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we’re calling it our “Holiday Party.” The same policy applies to those celebrating Kwanzaa at this time.

From: Pat Lewis. Date: Dec. 3. Re: Holiday Party. Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table … you didn’t sign your name. I’m happy to accommodate, but if I put a sign on a table reading “AA Only,” you wouldn’t be anonymous anymore. How should I handle this? Anybody?

From: Pat Lewis. Date: Dec. 7. Re: Ramadan? Sorry – didn’t know. What a diverse company we are! I had no idea that Dec. 20 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating, drinking, and sex during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employee’s beliefs. Perhaps Luigi’s can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party – the days are so short this time of year – or else package everything for take home in little foil swans. Will that work?

Meanwhile, I’ve arranged for members of Over-eaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet, and yes, pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Did I miss anything this time?

From: Pat Lewis. Date: Dec. 8. Re: Can we also accommodate Winter Solstice?!
So Dec. 22 marks the winter solstice. What do you expect me to do, a tap dance on your heads? Fire regulations at Luigi’s prohibit the burning of sage by our “earth-based goddess-worshipping” employees, but we’ll try to accommodate your shamanist drumming circle during the band’s breaks. That’s the best I can do.

From: Pat Lewis. Date: Dec. 9. Re: Holiday Party. People, people, nothing sinister was intended by having the CEO dress up like Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of “Santa” does happen to be “Satan,” there is no evil connotation to our own “little man in a red suit.” It’s a tradition, folks, like sugar shock at Halloween or family feuds over the Thanksgiving turkey or broken hearts on Valentine’s Day. Could we lighten up?

From: Pat Lewis. Date: Dec. 10. Re: Vegans?!?! Really?!? Vegans?! I’ve had it with you people!!! We’re going to keep this party at Luigi’s Open Pit Barbecue whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table farthest from the “grill of death,” as you so quaintly put it, and you’ll get your damn salad bar, including hydroponic tomatoes. But you know, they have feelings, too. Tomatoes scream when you slice them. I’ve heard them scream. I’m hearing them scream right now.

From: Terri Bishops, Acting HR Dir. Date: Dec. 14. Re: Pat Lewis & the Holiday Party. I’m sure I speak for all of us in wishing Pat Lewis a speedy return from [undisclosed facility] due to her [undisclosed situation] requiring personal time off. I’ll continue to forward your cards and well wishes to her. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay. (We’re still trying to figure out what that means for non-benefits eligible and part-time employees.)

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