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Christmas party etiquette: 2021

Christmas is the time of year when amateurs are often forced to party like professionals. It’s not their fault, but the annual shenanigans can leave a trail of victims in their wake. Here are a few pointers to help you through the festive period with, hopefully, your dignity and job intact. 

On the day of a big Christmas lunch or evening party, there are some things you should consider. Not all of them obviously; that would be boring, but maybe one or two.

Have some breakfast
Nutritionist Kerry Torrens advocates a filling and sugar-stabilising breakfast, such as porridge, if you are heading out in the evening. Starting the day with a generous breakfast can help control your appetite later in the day. She recommends adding a dollop of probiotic yoghurt to help boost immunity.


I don’t wish to be hypocritical (can’t eat breakfast myself) but if it’s your thing, don’t forget it.

Practise drinking mindfully

For some reason I am sure this is an oxymoron, but semantics aside:

Aiming to “drink less” is too broad, says Rosamund Dean, journalist and author of Mindful Drinking: How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life; she recommends being more specific. For her, that means restricting alcohol to three days each week as well as limiting the number of drinks she consumes. Planning what you’re going to drink in advance, finding a signature soft drink and fully savouring the tipple in your hand are among her top tips.

Just don’t make your Christmas party one of those non-drinking days. Or maybe do.

Power nap
Not everyone can squeeze in some shuteye before a big night out, but if you can, power naps have a lot going for them. Just 30 minutes can make a difference, writes Nick Littlehales, author of Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours. If that is impossible, he says you can still get some benefits by finding a quiet corner, closing your eyes and disconnecting for a moment. Try not to do this at the Christmas party though.

Adapt your exercise routine
Personal trainer Holly Davidson says it is important not to give up exercise until the new year. “Come January, you’re going to be really wishing you hadn’t done that.” She suggests continuing to schedule workouts, but break them into shorter blocks. I.e. Do less.

Keep healthy snacks nearby
The festive season brings an influx of sugary temptations that are hard to resist. Keep a selection of healthier snacks, such as fruit or nuts, in your drawer or bag. “Never go to a party really hungry,” says Davidson. “Have a snack before you go.”

Stay hydrated
Jennifer Lawrence had H20 tattooed (incorrectly) on her hand to remind herself to stay hydrated. You don’t need to go to those lengths, but water is crucial if you want to avoid a hangover. Take regular sips throughout the day and try alternating alcoholic drinks with a glass of water when you are at an event.

Wear a mask

Totally impractical and probably a waste of time. If you take public transport to your work’s party, it’s worth donning one to avoid the tuts of disapproval, but at the party itself; forget it.

The UK government has set the example this year for party etiquette and it does not involve masks.

To be frank, most of the above are completely ridiculous. Don’t drink too much, don’t declare undying love to anyone and avoid any conversation with your boss. You should be alright.

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