ALFIE5 – Top Five tips to avoid a calamitous Christmas work celebration

It’s that time again; offices across the City are already filling up with Christmas trees, decorations are being glued and taped furiously to anywhere that looks remotely like empty space in the room, Mandy, John’s PA is already working out the Secret Santa list and Jim from reprographics has started to wear his festive jumper.

ALFIES gives you a good warning to first and fore-mostly enjoy yourself to your hearts content, but heed some advice from those in the know who have seen and experienced first hand what a disaster in slow motion looks like if you don’t pay attention to these 5 basic rules.

1.  Be inclusive and don’t forget your company’s policies while you party.

Yes, believe it or not, just because your company managed to strike a deal with the local All Bar One around the corner for a festive off site fuelled fête doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the wrath of HR or your Board. We have it on good advice that the rules of discrimination at work still apply.   

But, if it is you who is charged with organising the party, here are some tips to make it fun for everyone. First of all, make sure you tell everyone that it isn’t compulsory.  Don’t equally tell Suzan in procurement that at 60 she is better off at home catching up on Corrie, or little Richard who is a part time paralegal at 17 that he can’t come because he isn’t yet legal. If someone is unable to attend on religious grounds or because the hog roast on offer doesn’t suit their dietary needs, make sure you don’t tell them to trot off in a perfunctory manner.

Bottom line:

  • invite everyone,
  • don’t let everyone think it’s compulsory,
  • let those who wish to come feel invited and make sure the venue is appropriate.  

For those who are going, remember you are still at work and the remaining tips below apply in the event you should choose to tear up the rule book and seek to pretend this is free for all out of school. 

Equally, as an employer it’s important to be minded that this annual event may be eligible as a tax deductible, but it might prove costly should you encounter a claim for any matters that may arise if anyone of your staff seizes on the opportunity to turn rogue.

2. Don’t drink too much

Barrel of nerves because you’ve been hankering over Helen in your Hedge Fund for months and this is your chance to hedge your bets; or perhaps looking to tactically talk it up with your team manager for a hope of a financial top up?  Or, just simply excited about the fact that the entire day is devoid of having to depart with your own dosh. One thing you don’t want to do is to load up the festive fuel tank every time it looks empty, or be encouraged by the lads and fellow ladies in your group to glug from the glass to the heated and heavy calls of the marauding maniacs that surround you.

Our advice, line that stomach of yours with some solid sustenance before the fun starts.  During the party, if you do happen to find yourself becoming tipsy or feeling disastrously drunk, then down water to douse the flames.  Don’t embark on an all out mission to torpedo your way to a P45.  Finally, if you have had one too many, instruct one of your friends to restrain you before you start twerking like an intoxicated temptress.

3. What to wear?

The task of changing into your outfit to out do the competition on the night can be a performance that consumes you from noon until the carriages collect you. We’ve seen ladies saunter off to the secluded corners of the office at the earliest of hours, to turn the dumper into a dresser for face painting and wardrobe.

To the ladies, this isn’t the BAFTA’s, but equally it’s not a bottom draw boozer. Don’t dress to distress by wearing colours that wouldn’t look out of place in the highlighter pot or more transparent than an open window.  Do dress in dark colours and seek to impress by wearing something smart and comfortable, elegant and alluring. Avoid high heels as unless you enjoy trotting around with painful pins throughout the party. Equally, don’t wear anything shorter than shoulder length and knee high to prevent the entire company from gaping at your gape and below your nape. Oh, and steer clear of polyester and silk as the no amount of anti perspirant or powder in the world is likely to prevent you from showing off your sweat patches.

For the gent’s, let’s be clear. It’s time to make an effort and we mean fresh shirts, slacks, in fact, fresh everything. Don’t wear anything that makes you stand out like veal in a vegetarian. Be subtle, smart and suave. Ditch the suit and don something that wouldn’t make you look out of place in Esquire.

4.  Avoid candid conversation and grim gossip

We’ve all seen it, someone in the office who is married, just happened to be talking to an associate, or graduate trainee, and you decide to announce that ‘they just walked that way’ or were seen ‘leaving up the stairs’ or ‘canoodling in the corner’.  Believe us, we have also seen those very individuals you point the finger at seemingly avoid their own soup of controversy.  In fact, it often happens that it comes back to bite those who started to spread the hearsay however true it might seem.  So in short, don’t be the one to get caught.   Keep yourself to yourself and appreciate the decadence of mindless chat.  Be minded that what they choose to do is to their own ends and that is where this advice ends too.

It is also worth mentioning that you shouldn’t preach about promotions, office politics or choose it as a forum to complain in your newly drunken vocal overtones about the dude you don’t like in the debt markets department.  You’ll be likely to end up on the receiving end of your rudimentary rumbling.

5. How to behave on a hangover

Work can be reasonable about appearing an hour or so late the night after the party but don’t skip work altogether unless you’ve had it preapproved.  Sounds obvious but as an afterthought, the idea of emailing to announce you won’t be there following an episode of publicly self induced sickness is sadly not in the offing.

Consider perhaps a day of sitting quietly, unnoticed, in as balanced a manner as you can with a bin under your booth, with a supply of salts.  If you are able to converse then perhaps keep chat to a polite minimum in case you irritate your neighbour who may be suffering in silence.

Do take in some sweet treats such as a crate of Krispy Kremes to sheepishly bring colleagues on a side in the event you didn’t cope with adhering to any of the above advice.

So to all our ALFIES members, enjoy, relax, unwind, indulge and light up your festive do in as glamorous and as glorious a manner that will make you the talk of the town for the right reasons.  Let us know how you got on by posting on the site and if you are eligible and haven’t joined us please register for your exclusive membership at

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