How to deal with humiliation at the office Christmas party

Worried about your antics at this year’s annual workplace rager? Already endured a healthy dose of booze-fuelled cringe with your colleagues? Either way, we’re here to help.

Deck the halls with bells of holly, it’s Christmas! I love the festive season, I love to party and, given my enthusiasm for all forms of corporate hospitality and entertainment, I really love a good, old fashioned office Christmas party.

Be warned, though: there are dangers to be considered here. The almighty Christmas party is a breeding ground for many variant strains of humiliation. After all, every ingredient to incite pure chaos is there: hierarchical breakdowns, the quick-slip of professional standards and expressions of forbidden love, all fuelled by (free) booze you’d normally pour over a pudding and set fire to.

The first ever company Christmas party I went to as a working adult was also the first time I tried ketamine. These two new life experiences really shouldn’t coincide: I ended up falling off the stage at The Box in Soho, only to be caught in the arms of our CEO. The next morning I strongly considered throwing in the towel and quitting, but, six years later, I still love ket. Kidding – I still work there!

There are many things you should steer clear of over the duration of an office Christmas party. A friend of mine uses a special pre-party tactic to protect herself from future cringe. She makes mental notes of all the topics she doesn’t want to end up spilling to a random person at 4am, and then locks these blacklisted subjects in an imaginary cage in her brain. Prior to your company party, it’s probably wise to lock any suggestions of a promotion or pay rise far, far away. Asking for a promotion when drunk, is simply asking for trouble.

Sometimes, you have to be selfless and take one for the team at the Christmas party. People need something to gossip about during the cold, dark months to come”

It’s quite funny that so many of us pretend to like our colleagues throughout the month of December. Come January, it’s straight back to a nod at the water cooler or a simple, stilted hiya”. For now, though, I’m enjoying pouring Baileys into my morning coffee and grazing on mince pies throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love my co-workers all year round, but it’s nice to have a break from work, work, work.

Sometimes, you have to be selfless and take one for the team at the Christmas party. People need something to gossip about during the cold, dark months to come. You can expect whatever antics you take part in here to be gossiped about for the entire calendar year.

A work mate of mine once had so many Apple Sourz shots we had to take her to A&E. She didn’t come into work for a whole week due to what a doctor would surely call a case of extreme embarrassment, but I emailed her to say: it’s OK, we all go overboard sometimes. She is now solely referred to as Sourz Steph and works remotely. We all need a nickname, right?

The key thing to remember is, things always seem worse in your head than they actually are. The Oxford Dictionary doesn’t include the word hangxiety” for nothing! The morning after need not be the mourning” after. Think of it as a much-needed blowout, and a new beginning. Besides, you’ve got the whole Christmas period to recover, and there’s always next year to make a good impression, right?

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