An office Christmas party survival kit – for introverts!

It’s here again! Christmas party time is in full swing with baubles on. Some will be eagerly anticipating the work’s Xmas jolly; others will pray for a bout of covid to get them out of it. Some will have already endured or enjoyed the office party, creating anatomical photocopies (you know who you are, Ian, from accounts). Behaviours which Laughology neither condones nor practices, obvs.

Indeed, the Laughology Christmas Party took place last weekend and was a sober affair involving secret locked rooms, a large chest and a severe old man with a walking cane and a white moustache. To protect the reputations of the innocent, I’m duty-bound to secrecy and can’t divulge any more, only to say that Doug, I know what you did, and I’ll never forgive you.

It’s been a strange Christmas party season this year, being only the second since the December 2020 lockdown and the first without any restrictions. We’ve been living so free and easy we can forget that last year we were partying under Plan B restrictions, still wearing masks, and brandishing our passes to get into many public venues.

Since ‘all that’, we’ve been getting to grips with the new working landscapes many live in. Remote teams, hybrid working and WFH are all now well-entrenched workplace practices. As a result, there’ll be people meeting their colleagues in the flesh for the first time at the work do this year, turning what should be a fun excuse to let their hair down into a Molotov cocktail of anxiety and free Pinot Grigio.

What could possibly go wrong?

What happens at Christmas parties should stay at Christmas parties, but…

Christmas Party stories can often go down in workplace folklore. Take some of these stories from a Christmas Party confessions subreddit:

“My old place gave out some paper tokens for free drinks. There was a photocopy place just a few doors down; a few people got A4 sheets printed up, and nobody paid for a drink the entire night.”

“Drunkenly snogged the IT guy and took him home with me. That was in 2009. We got married in 2015 and now have two kids together.”

“One manager had some training in hypnotism. What started as a bit of fun got really out of hand when he asked questions about people’s sex lives. On the same night, two managers separately fell into different canals in the city centre.”

“Only two of us bothered to turn up.”

“The boss had been hyping the Christmas do, saying he’d booked something special. It turns out it was seeing his fave band, Showaddywaddy, at the Frontier Club in Batley. Another year, the hotel fed me a dessert with nuts, despite being told in advance and on the night that I was allergic, and I collapsed and ended up in hospital. I’ve declined this year’s; they’re too dangerous.”

Tips for a fun, safe, disaster-free party

So if these stories fill you with dread, you’re anxious or nervous about your Yuletide knees-up, or if you’ve forgotten how to behave in social situations, allow Laughology to be your festive fairy godmother. Here are some tips for a fun, safe, disaster-free party.

  • Remember you are at a work event, and whatever happens at the event will follow you into the workplace the next day. So a good bit of advice is to think about ‘what would the headline be?’ If it scares you, don’t do it.
  • Eat first, drink later. Resist the temptation to neck as many free Proseccos as possible before the canapes arrive. Slow and steady.
  • Bear in mind that normal rules of gross misconduct still apply at an office Christmas Party.
  • If you’re taking photographs and videos, be considerate before posting them anywhere. Ask permission.
  • Safety in numbers. Have a buddy or a few people you trust around you. This also helps if you need rescuing from Ian in accounts when he backs you into a corner to talk through his model plane collection.
  • Plan to show your face, but leave early and ensure you have a pre-booked cab waiting. Think ahead about when to go and what excuse you can make.
  • Look for others holding court, and go with your ‘buddy’ to observe; this way, you can pass the time without being put on the spot.
  • Prep some good conversation starters and, more importantly, finishers. Ask open questions for starters, such as, ‘Where are you going for your Christmas?’ or ‘What’s the worst or best present you’ve ever had?’  For finishers, try, ‘Excuse me, I’ve just seen (fill the gap with your buddy’s name) and owe them a drink’ or ‘It’s been lovely chatting to you, please excuse me as I need to go to the bathroom.’


And for leaders

  • Invite everyone, including people absent through sickness or maternity and paternity leave.
  • Provide food and try to limit alcohol consumption.
  • Think about policies regarding the use of social media and ensure people are aware of these.
  • Send a festive poem that’s fun but sums up expectations around behaviours.  Sometimes people do need reminding.


Indeed, leaders should remember that Christmas jumper edicts and Secret Santa aren’t everyone’s cup of tea in these enlightened and inclusive times. Likewise, not everyone will want to do team Jägerbombs.


Some people may not celebrate Christmas because of their heritage, and that’s perfectly fine, they should still be invited, but there should never be an expectation of attendance.


Enforced fun is no fun at all. Instead, be kind and considerate, and, most of all, let everyone have fun.


And if after you’ve done the Christmas party thing, you’re keen to start 2023 positively, why not join Dave Keeling for our FREE January webinar – Stop, Collaborate and Listen: How to blow away Blue Monday blues.


Article from NWS Academy Member Laughology 

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