Christmas Survival Guide: The Office Party

Follow our tried-and-tested advice to have a night to remember, rather than one you wished you could forget!

Ah yes, the office Christmas party. Love it or loathe it, it’s an inevitable part of the holiday season, and the one night out in December that can’t be avoided. Whether yours is a big black-tie bash at a posh hotel or a fancy dress disco and cold buffet down the Dog and Duck, if you follow our advice over the coming pages you’ll avoid the most common Christmas party problems, such as eating a week’s worth of calories in one evening, missing your last train home because the karaoke hits kept on coming, and not being able to take a taxi because you’ve maxed out your overdraft with countless transactions your bank statement later details as “Miscellaneous Shots”. Cheers!

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Load up at lunch
You’ll know from previous experience that drinking too much on an empty stomach is the express route to a night you’ll never – ever – forget. This problem is prevalent at office Christmas parties across the land because people fail to eat enough during the day so as to get all their work done, then neck the first few pints like they’re water to help “break the ice”.

Don’t let that person be you. Ensure you line your stomach at lunch with a meal high in protein – think chicken or fish – with plenty of veggies and some fats, like those found in avocado or olives, and add some slow-release carbs such as brown rice.

That’ll set you up nicely, then snack on more olives or some plain nuts before your first drink, because having food in your stomach will slow down the absorption of alcohol so it’ll enter your bloodstream much more slowly. Follow this with the tip on the next page and you’ll not only have a better night out, you’ll wake up the morning after as fresh as a daisy. Well, almost.

Drink water with each round
This is one of our favourite tips because it saves you cash and calories! It won’t even mess up the round-buying system if you encourage your colleagues to do the same – and they’ll thank you tomorrow for helping them avoid a horrific hangover.

Simply alternate each round at the bar with a pint of water or other zero-calorie soft drink. It’s so easy to do, and once you do you won’t understand why you didn’t do it before! You’ll stay in the “tipsy” stage (easily the best bit) for longer, and you’ll spend less money, consume fewer calories, and remember more of a fun-packed evening that wasn’t ruined because someone – AKA you – had “a few too many”.

Even if you’re in a big group, or with people on a mission to get mullered, offer to help with each round, then grab a pint of water while the drinks are being served. Drinking less booze and staying hydrated will make a massive difference to your enjoyment, how well you sleep, and how good you feel tomorrow.

Arrive fashionably late
You don’t need to have been to many work parties to know that most of the boozing is done within the first hour or so. That’s when drinks are free, and it helps break the ice when you’re cornered with “Angry Alan” from Accounts. But drinking too much too early sets the scene for a night to forget.

Avoid the alcohol and the awkwardness by arriving fashionably late. You’ll be less likely to end up in a wallet-busting round system, and you’ll keep a check on how much you eat and drink so the night’s not a complete write-off.

It’s best to turn up just as everyone else is starting to relax, so around 45 minutes after the official start time, or just as seats are being taken if it’s a sit-down do. Arrive too late and you may be loudly or sarcastically welcomed by your co-workers. What should you do with your free time? If it’s a drink-only event use it to further line your stomach with a light bite – lean protein and veg is always a good bet.

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Bonus tip! It’s ok to skip the shots!
It’s inevitable during the night some bright spark will bellow “Shots!” across the dance floor. And it’s equally inevitable it’ll be the one person at the party in the least need of more alcohol.

When this happens remember you’re at a work event and not a rugby club initiation ceremony: you don’t have to partake. After all, no one has ever woken up and said “I wish I’d done more shots last night!”, so don’t bow to peer pressure and drink more than want.

The same goes if you want to make an early exit. Once you’ve stayed for an acceptable amount of time make your excuses and leave. Unless, of course, if you’re the boss. In that case you have to stay to the bitter end, because it’s your credit card behind the bar!

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