Silent Night? Not a Chance! Take It Easy At Your Christmas Do

What is it about Christmas that brings out the party animal in even the most polite, sedate and timorous of people? I recently went to a Christmas party for a publishing company for which I occasionally write.

The party was located in a lovely ‘Ye Olde Hotel’ in the middle of rural Sussex, with matching Elizabethan gorgeousness, a golf course and top-notch food, and during the meal I was seated next to a quiet, educated and unassuming couple, Kitty and Ashley who work in accounts.

We’d not met before and we sat round a lavishly decorated board and ate petit fours, prawns, fabulous turkey and brandy soaked Christmas pudding as we downed a few bottles of very nice red wine and chatted amiably about newspapers, the novels of Dickens, TV’s Secret Life of the ZOO, Christmas crackers and children (they have a couple). So far so good.

Three of these people will sleep on the office floor tonight two will end up in a broom cupboard together and at least one will spend the night in a cell.

After dinner we retired to the lounge area, booked out by the company for our use, with a free bar and comfortable seats and we continued talking while my date for the evening Monkey Puzzle Ben, ace-arborist and friend of my BFF B, occasionally regaled us with tales of school-boyish tree surgery antics in tall trees that frightened the life out of me and confirmed my wish to never have to use a petrol chainsaw.

As I mentioned at the start of this short but cautionary piece of writing, there is something about Christmas and Christmas bashes that can turn people from sweet, kind, thoughtful souls who love their families and work hard, into raving bonkers break-dancing psycho-demons who will remove their clothes at the drop of a hat, kiss you for no reason or start to argue loudly about the slightest of subjects as if their lives depended on it.

This man won a business excellence award and earned six figures last year. This evening he lost his shirt in a poker game and threw up on a labradoodle

So by midnight this respectable, bespectacled couple I was talking to, who drive a Volvo estate and shop at M&S, had accused me of being a communist, flung some Christmas pudding at the CEO,  swapped clothes, snogged noisily on the coffee table and spent ten minutes flinging liqueur bon-bons into each other’s mouths across the ice luge.

Meanwhile my ‘so called date’, Ben, had attempted to chat up the wife of the IT Director, fallen over a footstool, pouring beer into the handbag of the marketing manager and finally collapsed in a heap on the table that held all the presents from the management to the staff.

The couple eventually poured themselves into a cab, accompanied, in a shock turn of events, by Ben who by now had his arm round both Kitty and Ashley and totally ignored my pleas of “I thought you were my date”. They all three shot off into the night where, no doubt they went back to the couple’s home where, no doubt, they continued to drink and caused a major scandal in the quiet Cul-De-Sac where they live. Do I care? No. Not really.

Obviously, excess of alcohol is a major culprit in this tale of woe and weirdness,  but I am not a puritan. I don’t think you shouldn’t have the odd glass or two. I just think there are some guidelines to follow that make such evenings easier on the mind and the Facebook profile.

So here are my top seven tips to avoid the seven deadly sins of embarrassing behaviour at any of your Christmas parties.

  1. Don’t moan about Christmas and go on about how commercial it all is. Remember your hosts have just spent x thousands of pounds to give you a decent meal, bottomless free drinks and a night’s entertainment. This is biting the hand that feeds you in the very worst way and is just bad manners. Say “Bah humbug” to the wrong person and you could find yourself wearing some sherry trifle.
  2. Don’t drink anything you haven’t drunk before. No matter what the chirpy twenty year old from the post room suggests – He may insist that a vodka, cider and brandy or a champagne and gin cocktail or a jaeger bomb drunk quickly is “the best think ever LOL”;  He is are trying to make you look stupid. If you have not tried a drink before and found out whether it sends you dancing across a dinner table full of vulnerable pints singing ‘Merry Christmas everyone” or not –  don’t do it!  Unless, that is, you genuinely want to find your pockets full of vomit and your memory full of shame the next day.
  3. Don’t talk politics with the wives, girlfriends, husbands etc of people you work with.  I don’t care how much you hate Jeremy Corbyn’s beard or think Donald Trump is either a moron or the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, or both. This is not a jolly topic for a celebration and will potentially sour your Christmas meal and your relationship with the people you just met. And it might give you added indigestion.
  4. Dance carefully or not at all. Swinging your arms around doing that thing you saw on ‘Strictly’ last night to the strains of Do They Know It’s Christmas will make you look foolish and clumsy, if you are me, you will probably smack the vice-president’s wife in the nose, causing consternation and the end of a valuable freelance contract into the bargain. Restraint and some small but perfectly formed steps is the way to go. Subsequently, if ‘Come on Eillen’ or ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ come on towards the slurring end of the evening, get off the dance-floor as fast as possible. Either you or someone else is going to get hurt.
  5. Leave early and in a dignified fashion.  Don’t be the person outside in the bushes trying to find somewhere to wee because you can’t find the toilet and don’t be the one lying on the leather armchair at the end of the night moaning gently to leave you alone and trying to French kiss everyone that attempts to help you up. This will lead to bad dreams and a tremendous lack of respect from all concerned. Especially if you are there with your husband or wife.
  6. Be frugal and careful with the selfies, don’t send text messages or emails and don’t post anything on any media until you’ve checked it the next morning (or afternoon)
  7. And last, but not least, stay well away from the photocopier (The paperless office was always a fable,  we still use them you know).

And that’s it. Have a lovely pre-Christmas party or do if there is one in the offing and don’t forget to take my advice.  See ya.   Holly.

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