It’s good that Christmas parties are being cancelled enforced fun is hell’

It’s good that Christmas parties are being cancelled enforced fun is hell’

Terrible dancing, dodgy dress codes and disappointing nibbles – what is there to even celebrate at the office Christmas party, writes Noah Keate

Brace yourselves: Christmas Day is less than three weeks away. We’ve had the pandemic, the pingdemic and now – the partydemic. Yes, drape some tinsel, model a Christmas jumper and head out to your work’s Christmas bash. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right?

Wrong. The Omicron variant has meant numerous companies have canned their Christmas parties. Perhaps yours is one of them, and now you’re stuck at home with a glass (or two) for company.

Don’t feel sad. I am here, if not as a Guardian Angel, to argue…guess what? Nobody should mourn Christmas parties. If anything, despondency is pure Stockholm syndrome. Rather, ’tis the season to be relieved at escaping utter chaos.

Where to begin? Outfits are a good place to start. Unless you’re me. What I know about fashion fits on the back of a postage stamp. Dress codes are immensely ambiguous. Black tie? Christmas jumper? Or the worst code of all – smart casual. That I a) recently wore double denim and b) did not care only demonstrates the fashion nightmare any gathering brings.

That’s before the location. In the city is fine (though public transport leaves a lot to be desired). Out in the countryside, disaster is guaranteed. Drivers getting lost, monumental pricing, traipsing to some country home: you are asking for trouble.

Any gathering is all about the food. I want a three-course meal to die for, a sweet and savoury buffet with divine choice. In reality? Christmas bashes contain little more than last-minute supermarket nibbles. Worse still is bringing your own food to share – no thank you!

I’m a natural introvert, so any large-scale socialising is challenging. Despite my best efforts, endless procrastination means pre-planned conversation topics before said gathering never materialise, with discussion drying up quicker than the nearby seafood platter. I can only repeat my excitement at Christmas arriving so many times, with Christmas cracker conversation starters rarely saving me.

There is music to deal with too at a Christmas bash. I love Christmas music at any time of year However, I’m hearing impaired so must shout as loud as possible, practically breaking Guinness World Records to be heard. Bellowing into someone’s ear is hardly an ideal situation, in or out of a pandemic.

Where music plays, a dance floor follows. Were I ever to appear on Strictly Come Dancing (and let’s face it, the government are more likely to admit to rule breaking last Christmas ), I would be booted off in the first week for crimes against art. At a Christmas party, it transpires dancing is mandatory. My moves, at best, are ‘drunk prancing’… and I’m teetotal.

The morning after the night before is full of regrets. You may have made a tremendously inappropriate remark to your boss and lost any remaining dignity. Normally, you believe next year will be better. Though I love the naive optimism, be honest. It won’t.

Sure, go for a Christmas meal, where the food is at least the focus. But if you’re asked to dance, escape while you can.