It's that time of the year. Christmas songs emblazon the radio, everyone is gearing up for round two of the most fattening meal of their lives, women are swapping egg nog and Christmas cookie recipes, and people are giving during this joyous season. The problem is EVERYONE expects you to give, including your coworkers (some of who you don't like) and giving and spending money are synonymous.
Working in a corporate setting can be very stressful at Christmas because everyone wants you to give an extra $5 for just about everything and because of corporate politics, you don't want to look like Ebenezer Scrooge, but you can't go broke spending money on people you don't care that much about. I mean seriously...the recession is real, you have gifts to buy, bills to pay, and plane tickets to purchase. The last thing you need to do is play corporate kiss ass by spending money you don't have because you are expected to.
So how do you politely decline on participating in the holiday cheer at the office without looking like an asshole or jeapordizing that "team player" attitude? Well I've compiled a list of ways:
Scenario 1: You receive the chain email with all your team members CC'd on it about how you all can adopt Lil Ju Ju Bee and provide him with the best Christmas he's ever had. While this is a very honorable thing to do, you just may not have the extra funds to contribute to Lil Ju Ju Bee's bicycle. Your supervisor tells everyone to reply back that is willing to participate. What do you do?
You respond with the following "While I would love to give money to help Lil' Ju Ju Bee have a great Christmas I have to decline as I have already adopted a tot through my church and will be contributing a good deal of money towards that."
See...now you don't look like an asshole. You declined and still look like a caring member of society.
Scenario 2: Two members on your team have back to back birthdays in December and the mass email goes out about everyone contributing money to their designer bakery cakes and gift cards. Maybe you don't have the money. Maybe you just down right hate one of those team members. You can't just not respond to the email. What do you do?
You respond with the following suggestion, "Might I suggest that since a lot of us are spending a lot of money around the holidays that we combine their birthday celebrations? I will contribute by buying decorations for their cubicles."
Decorations cost under $5 dollars at the dollar tree. Problem solved, and it was solved cheaply. The only thing you will be spending is an extra 30 minutes to decorate their cubicles.
Scenario 3: The potluck is in the middle of December and unfortunately not on a pay week. You have to buy gifts for your family, buy a plane ticket home, and board your dog during your visit home. Making expensive cheese rotel with expensive ground turkey in it just isn't in the equation for you. What do you do?
You offer to bring the paper goods because paper goods for 30 people will cost your under $15 at Aldi's. Well what if your office already supplies paper goods and you can't bring that? Offer to bring the drinks. 2 liters are at an all time low. I bought 3 for $5 at Walmart for my company's Thanksgiving schindig.
Offering to bring these items saves you prep time that you could spend on more important things like watching "Love and Hip Hop" or catching a football game and most importantly, saves you money.
So there you have it, you can take the cheap way out and decline participating in the Christmas spirit in the office without looking like a complete jerk after all!