It is that time of year again when you’ll find yourself re-watching Love Actually, remembering you like eating cherries and, yes, attending your work’s annual Christmas party.
Here’s how it works: Some woman with a very senior title gets lumped with planning the whole affair and needs more time to prepare but pulls it off flawlessly and with only a few chaotic emails.
There will be a reminder for everyone to remember you’re still at work, but how is anyone expected to remember that when there’s an open bar and someone just opened a wildly inappropriate Secret Santa gift?
There will be men in beige chinos, someone will bring up politics, and there’s a 90 per cent chance you’ll regret something you’ve said to someone with a more impressive job title than you.
So, to survive the silly season, here’s a list of seven things you shouldn’t do at your Christmas party.
1. Don’t kiss anyone, seriously, no one
It is strictly a no-kissing event; I don’t care how good Steve looks in shorts. You’ve got to take a deep breath and remember you’re at a work party.
This is a terrible idea, and if things don’t work out, you’ll be stuck only feeling comfortable enough to go to the printer when he is on his lunch break to avoid awkward small talk.
This isn’t the beginning of a romantic comedy, you’re in a pub with a bunch of people you disagree with on how to use Excel.
2. Don’t stop counting your drinks
I know there’s an open bar and when you don’t have to pay for your drinks suddenly, it’s easy to lose count and start thinking, “Should I see if I can use that pillar like a pole and show everyone a dance I learnt on TikTok”.
There are times when you can cut completely loose, this is not one of those times. Have a few polite drinks, laugh, and then toddle home.
This isn’t a hens party and at no point should you be shrieking, wearing a tiara or slurring, “babe you deserve so much better.”
3. Don’t bring up politics or religion
I know you’ve had a few wines and you really want to make a crack about Pauline Hanson selling her sweater collection, but I ask you to have some control here.
You don’t want to end up offending one of your co-workers, especially the one in charge of deciding if you deserve a pay rise.
Instead, keep it light and talk about The Block or, if you want to start a bit of drama, ask people what they think of strapless dresses – no one can agree on that one.
4. Don’t give out personal advice
People will have a few drinks and someone will say their husband sleeps in socks and it creeps them out, and another will confess they’re considering leaving their wife because she hasn’t laughed at their jokes in a decade.
This is not the time to launch into your best Dr Phil and tell them what to do with your lives. You don’t want to be stuck avoiding eye contact with Dave over your desktop computer because you told him to leave his wife and now he is depressed, living in a studio and didn’t even get custody of the air-fryer.
5. Don’t comment on what people are wearing, besides, “You look great!”
It’s always a wild time seeing your co-workers in non-work clothes. Legs are out, arms are free, and ankles are everywhere!
It can be tempting to think you are suddenly Joan Rivers and want to remark on what people are wearing, but stop yourself.
Unless it is a compliment, you need to leave people alone and let them live. Yes, even the men in Hawaiian shirts and boat shoes with no socks.
6. Don’t repeat that rumour you heard
We all know how this goes; a couple of months ago, you heard that Jake had been stealing the staplers, painting them fun colours and selling them at a hipster store in Sydney’s Inner West.
When you first heard it, you thought it was definitely untrue, but now after a few wines you think you’re a detective in a long-running show that never gets cancelled. Because of this, you want to preach this story like fact to anyone that will listen, including the woman that you are pretty sure works in HR.
If you find yourself straying into this territory then stop yourself immediately and head for the exits.
7. Don’t bore everyone by talking about work
Sure, make a comment or reference here and there, but seriously, don’t be the person droning on about that meeting, how someone is terrible at Excel, or how you think Michael calls meetings to hear the sound of his own voice.
It’s so boring. Talk about something fun and light; if things really get dire, definitely just discuss The Matildas and what a national treasure they are.