Written by Dotty Winters


A fabulous party

Does the idea of the work Christmas party fill you with dread? Make your own fun, says Dotty Winters. Here’s how.

Illustration by Claire Jones.

Illustration by Claire Jones.

Office parties. Love ‘em or hate ‘em; everyone hates them and if you say you don’t, I’ll know you are a liar, so there.

Most of us are fortunate enough to have at least a few people in our lives that we love and respect but many of us also have colleagues. They may be the last bastion of organised fun and enforced jollity, but office parties are as much a part of Christmas as uneaten walnuts, an annual visit to Iceland for frozen beige food and slowly killing a poinsettia. Don’t despair though; here are my top tips on how to cope.

1. Fundraise. Many businesses will expect you to pay for the compulsory organised fun. This is unjust. Feel free to start a Go Fund Me campaign and expect all your colleagues to contribute; Christ knows you’ve sponsored them for enough dubious crap throughout the year.

2. Fuck Spanx. Yes, they smooth out a few bumps and make your dress slinkier but one sniff of the mulled wine and you’ll immediately tell everyone you are wearing them and they’ll add two or three stone to their mental image of you. If you do Christmas parties properly, lumps and bumps are the least of your worries. Also, you might need to go for a poo in order to give yourself five minutes’ sanctuary.

“Remember: a cocktail is any two or more drinks mixed together, so add a shot of eggnog to your lager.”

3. Drink, or don’t drink, there is no try. My extensive research suggests that there are only two advisable approaches to Christmas party drinking: No drinks or ALL the drinks. Both options are worth considering:

• No drinks: You will be the guardian of gossip and the writer of history. As the only sober person in the room you can watch everything that is going on and be the office-authority on all the gossip. Don’t restrict yourself to things that actually happened; get creative with your rumours.

• Drink: If you are going to drink, start early. If you are seen necking mulled wine with your breakfast barm no one will dare doubt your Christmassyness. When you fail to arrive at the Christmas do everyone will assume it’s because you passed out on your sofa and declare you a legend. For extra points replace the mulled wine with Vimto but don’t tell anyone – you can just act drunk then spend the evening sober enough to sort your sock drawer out, or doing any other life admin that is more fun that an office party. If you do make it to the party, remember: a cocktail is any two or more drinks mixed together, so add a shot of eggnog to your lager.

4. Wearing tinsel is for amateurs. Create a full Mardi-Gras-style headdress out of two or three whole, full size Christmas trees, create a sound-activated LED bustier and wear elf shoes.

5. Minimise the risk of wandering hands from Gropey-Graham-in-Logistics by fashioning a cocktail dress from a Global Hypercolor T-shirt. Also, report that dude to HR.

“Memorise a full routine from Strictly. Something dramatic, like a pasodoble is ideal.”

6. Secret Swapsies. Secret Santa is never actually secret in any office, but everyone is expected to maintain the pretence that it is. You can use this conspiracy of deceit to your advantage. Tell everyone it has started snowing and, while they are all peering out the windows, remove all the tags from the Secret Santa pressies and replace them with an assortment of tags, all addressed to you. Remember to act surprised as each gift turns out to be yours. If anyone tries to challenge this, loudly accuse them of ruining the Christmas magic.

7. Dancing: Memorise a full routine from Strictly. Something dramatic, like a pasodoble is ideal. If anyone asks you to dance, perform the whole routine (remember your angry face). You won’t have a partner, so just grab a helium balloon as a stand-in. When you finish with a flourish remain on the dance floor panting and sweaty until everyone finishes applauding, then go about your business as if nothing happened.

8. Make your own fun. Entertain yourself by pretending that ‘mistletoe’ means the same as ‘camel-toe’. #Japes

9. Plausible deniability: Someone always cries at the office party. It may be you. If anyone asks why you are crying begin a long monologue about the state of the world and how children are the future. Tell everyone that Christmas is hard for you because you are in tune with the universe and just feel everything SO deeply. It will make you look empathetic instead of pathetic, plus no one will ask you any more questions.

Remember, if you really can’t face the office party, just stay at home and live-tweet it. You should be able to come up with a convincing narrative from the blurry selfies on Facebook. If anyone questions your commitment to fun, produce your tweet blog as evidence. Before you know it people will be swearing they saw you throwing festive shapes on the dancefloor.


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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.