End of year functions make me cringe … a lot ….

Last Saturday Kennith’s company had their end of year function.  I was thrilled that this year they chose to do a family picnic.

I am not really sure how end of year functions are planner or organised, but I find them generally painful.  My experience usually encompasses an 8 to 10 seater table, people sitting around on addis chairs, and looking at each other, chatting politely and praying it will be over soon.  There may be variations on this theme, but usually that is sort of how it goes.

If you are unlucky there will be a dress up theme involved.  Cringe.

I have already rationalised that end of year functions are not designed for me. But everyone I speak to seems to agree that they are a “necessary evil” but I am still confused who enjoys them.  The evening or afternoon often involves smiling like an idiot for four hours, while you count the hours/minutes until you can leave.

My theory is that I would like to spend social time with work colleagues, but in a relaxed environment over great food and a few glasses of really good wine.  It’s great to sit in a comfortable chair, an exquisite setting and be able to hear each other talk.

Unfortunately I find most end of year functions are karaokes/bad food/loud music/bad loud music/dress up theme/a venue that allows for almost no conversation as you can barely hear yourself think.  My experience is that end of year functions are all of these factors, or a combination of these.

Generally the “rule” is you eat, then you sit for 15 minutes and say “okay, I need to go…” and then do….. This is how “end of year” parties go in my experience.  {I am not suggesting I am the spokesperson for all end of year parties, I am simply indicating this has been my experience … almost to date….}

This year Cape Union Mart opted to hire a location in Sea Point, and invited staff and their kids.

They catered with a braai/salad (Bruce’s Catering I think} sort of thing.  You bought your own drinks if you wanted alcohol.  They organised soccer, a gladiator thing, jumping castle and a slip and slide thing.  No one had to dress up, no one had to sit awkwardly at a table and pray it would end soon.

It started at 12h00 and went on until about 16h00 or 17h00. It was relaxing and cool, that I think it might be classed as one of the nicest Xmas functions I have ever been to.

I have a social phobia, so asking me to socialise with a group of people creates a high sense of anxiety, panic and sometimes poo streaks in my underwear.  But turn it into a family picnic, and then I am much more relaxed, as it does not force me to stand around like a half wit smiling and nodding like a deluded idjut – I can instead look really busy with my kids.  Win!

I got to play gladiator fight with Connor. Connor played soccer, the girls played for hours on the slip and slide or on the jumping castle.  It was relaxed, the sun was shining and I was quite happy to while away the afternoon in this manner.

It was a relaxing day.  The only error was they did not serve wine at the bar.  Rookie mistake.  But someone saw the problem and dashed out to purchase a half dozen bottles of wine, which made me all very happy.

I had a great afternoon with the kids, and I still got to speak to a lot of people while we chewed on a chicken leg, and messed potatoe salad on our respective chins.

Great idea.  Executed brilliantly.  Lovely day out.  Cape Union Mart’s clever people who plan end of year functions scores a 10 out of 10 in my book for a great “end of year function” …..

<< they were also good enough to have a roaming photographer who captured some great moments>>

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