Wild party fun on the cheap
Let me whisper three little words, "Christchurch City Council".
Here are another three that are just about as boring but also quite important: "Cut-price Christmas."
As part of the city's "new council, new broom, new attitude", it was decided that staff would have one $10,000 Christmas party in place of the more extravagant function held in previous years. And this single party would be the whole shebang for all 3164 council staff.
Other, less lean years, had seen a more costly whole-of-council event plus smaller group and team Christmas functions.
Someone did the maths and worked out this cut-price council Christmas would save almost $80,000 and the news comes less than a month after the council scrapped their $20,000 budget to entertain at Addington raceway on Cup Day.
Look at that, about $100,000 trimmed without too many tears.
And while we're on the subject of tears, there certainly won't be any of those in the wake of their festive staff function because the $10,000 price tag means attendees are budgeted two drinks apiece. No-one ends up crying in the stationery cupboard on two drinks.
Now, despite the saying, change is not as good as a holiday. Change is as difficult as a toddler with limited communication skills who has recently decided they can dress themselves.
I imagine many council staff will feel, initially at least, like this cut- price party edict is a kick in the yuletide pants but the reputation of the organisation has taken a real hit for the past few years and this will go some way towards repairing it.
In fact, a Google search of "budget Christmas parties" brings up a whole range of stories about private- sector companies eschewing their end-of-year function and donating the money to humanitarian aid instead.
So, you've got a cut-price Christmas party. What fun can be had?
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, so here are some tips to make that Christmas occasion good, cut-price Kiwi fun.
Bring your own Santa. Someone will have a suit tucked away in their attic. Get the skinniest guy in council to dress up as Santa and use the excess material from his jolly red outfit to sew another suit.
With the council's 3000-plus staff, you'll need two Santas. In fact, you'll possibly need three.
Cut the suit trousers down to create hot pants and not only are you looking at enough material for three men in red, you're looking at bare knees and the very real possibility of three times as many harassment suits.
Gossip maketh the office function.
The decorations need not be new or expensive. The city is strewn with fragments of sewer pipe and bits of old infrastructure which some creative soul can smother in glue and sprinkle in glitter.
Bus route pamphlets and tourist tip brochures were no longer useful post-quake so get folding and hanging. That's all the Christmas paper decorations you'll need.
And we've all seen the Canterbury District Health Board's All Right campaign posters. One asks: "Had a good boogie lately?"
Well, Christmas parties are a chance to get your dance moves out. Two drinks might put a damper on some of the more outrageous routines but surely someone will have the good sense to fill a secret hip flask and cut loose on the dance floor. It's not only your own dancing that can be cathartic, but having a good laugh at someone else making a fool of themselves can really lighten a mood. Surely someone can convince the mayor to have a go at twerking for the sake of morale?
And lastly, let's not forget that at less than 10 cents per copy, nothing beats good, clean, old-fashioned Christmas party fun like photocopying your own bum.
And although The Press does not pay for stories or news tips, we may just welcome an online gallery of "guess that council bum" if someone has the good sense to send us an anonymous envelope filled with those photocopy machine offcasts.
Cheers to you.