I’ve been to enough office Christmas parties to know what time is right to photocopy your bum without the boss batting an eyelid (around 11:12pm) and to know what to wear to pull the much younger but still quite cute intern (stockings and a suspender belt).
But the office Christmas party is still a minefield, as are most Christmas parties to be honest. Pack in a bunch of overworked 20, 30 and 40-somethings and add a bit (a lot) of booze and you’re lost in a sea of snogging and lethal shot drinking.
One year as an intern invited to the office party of the men’s lifestyle magazine I was working at, I found myself in G.A.Y and drinking so many mojitos that I forgot to pay the tab. That same night saw me practically fall out of my lowcut dress and flash my puppies to the whole of Leicester Square. Oh and the same night again saw me argue with a Scotsman on the way home and wake up the next morning not remembering how I got back to my not-100%-safe area of East London.
And it was only last year where a good male friend declared his never-ending love for me despite his ex-girlfriend being pregnant with his baby. We snogged on the sofas and he knicked me a cocktail glass from the fancy bar we were in before I told him we didn’t have a future because I was with my dream man already. I never saw him again.
So you’ve got to be careful. You see these people day in, day out. And what you think is a quick snog with the admin bloke is actually the talk of the office for the next three weeks.
As an early Christmas present for you all, I’ve compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts for the office party. Print them out and try not to get into too much trouble. Merry Christmas!
Go! Many people avoid the Xmas do because they don’t want to mix with people they wouldn’t spend their time with normally or because they fear they’ll do something embarrassing. Go. If only for the simple reason that seeing your boss with his tie tied around his head and rocking out to KISS will be the biggest laugh you’ve had all year
Glam up to the high heavens! This is your chance to show the office what you look like when you haven’t experienced a 45 minute rush hour commute without having put any foundation on. Add a pair of false lashes, switch up your make-up look or go for a sparkly dress if you’re always seen in a trouser suit. Trust me, there’s no other time sequins on top of glitter on top of sequins is acceptable.
Have something to eat. I sound like my mum here but I’ve learned from experience that drinking on an empty stomach will only cause you to tell your boss’ PA you think she talks about her dog too much/you hate her outfit/you think her breath stinks.
Make plans to get home. Again, sound like my mum but having a taxi booked or knowing what time the trains are means you can get out if it’s boring, get out before you’ve had seven too many or just have comfort in the fact you won’t miss the last tube and have to get the night bus from Kensington to Bethnal Green alone and hammered.
Flirt with your colleague: But only if you’ve been doing so for a little while and are both single. Sometimes it takes a little bit of vodka to get the, er, juices flowing.
Take your friends from home along. I bug my boyfriend to take me along to his work Xmas parties because I want to make contacts and land a job. Obviously he says no and he’s right to (not least because I’d be throwing my CV in the face of his CEO as he orders a pint). If you bring along a partner or other friends, you’ll only end up chatting to them all night and not making the most of your office friendships. Leave the husband at home for one night of the year, we’re sure he’ll manage a night in on his own with a few fans and Made in Chelsea on Sky+.
Start drinking from the middle of the morning: Or, if you do, take it easy. I know a lot of offices crack open the champagne at 12pm as we rush to get the last bits of work done but the last thing you want is to be the girl passed out on her desk come 4pm and home in bed by 530.
Talk to your boss about serious stuff: I know being in the casual and relaxed environment of a bar might make it easier to talk to your boss but now isn’t the time. If you want that pay rise or promotion or have a major problem with Jane from accounts then discuss it at work when you’re both sober and feeling professional.
Photocopy your arse: Or anything else embarrassing. After a few gins and a bloody Mary, sitting on the photocopier will seem like the best idea in the world. But don’t. Just don’t. Got it? Don’t do it. Nope. Not now, not ever.
Flirt with your colleague: Yes, I know I said this is a do but it’s only a do in certain situations. Both married/taken? One of you married/taken? Then don’t. Shagging in the cloakroom cupboard won’t just end up in a few bruises from the bottle of Flash falling on your head but it could end up in broken relationships and a horrible awkwardness at work that you defiantly do not want.
So that’s it, folks. Got any better tips? Let me know!
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