A delicious thought struck me the other day. This year, for the first time in well over a decade, I will not be going to a Christmas work party. Technically I am still employed until the end of December, but I’m guessing I’d be as welcome as a new MS lesion on an MRI scan.
This means I won’t spend days (weeks) agonizing over my party outfit, striking the right balance between chic and trashy. I won’t need to find a ‘jolly’ pair of flashing Christmas tree earrings, or drape tinsel round my neck and I won’t need to get involved in a Secret Santa present-swap, so no sneaky trip to Poundland then (I highly recommend the candles and picture frames – wrapped in expensive paper, who’d know?).
Most of the work parties in recent years have been excruciating exercises in ‘office bonhomie’. The boss is generally dressed down in dodgy ‘cool’ clothes, they’ve put twenty quid behind the bar and we all sit there with a limp cracker and a single party popper. Conversation stumbles along until enough cheap alcohol is consumed and it’s at this point that all hell usually lets loose.
Old resentments spring up, snarky comments are traded and the boss just sits there, eyes glazed, trying to get us all to tell rude jokes. Inevitably, one or more of the women will rush to the loo, crying, followed by a gaggle of other women, eager to be the first with the gossip. With Christmas carols playing on a loop in the background, one or two will attempt to grab random drunken men for a dance and the smokers will decamp with their drinks to the back terrace and remain there the rest of the evening.
Am I sad then, to be missing out on all this fun? Er, no. It’s a relief. So I have decided to throw my own party for one. I’ll go to Waitrose for a nice selection of party nibbles, pour some Cava, put Cliff Richard’s Christmas CD on and have a fabulous time. There’ll be no need to dress up, so I’ll have a ‘pyjama party’ dress code. There’ll be no embarrassing photographs being emailed round the following morning unless the cat has developed opposable thumbs and there will be a sense of relief not to go to the office the next day only to be met with raised eyebrows.
So, to all of you who have an office party to go to, good luck and raise a glass to me…I’ll be thinking of you.