It’s that time of the year again when you start to read about a million articles and blog posts that begin with the sentence “it’s that time of the year again.” So, while we hate to contribute to the ever-expanding pile of Christmas claptrap, we thought it might be an opportune moment to dispense a few words of critical Christmas advice. Or, Christmasvice.

In particular, we’re talking about office Christmas parties, which are basically what TV show writers resort to any time they need their characters to hook up, break up, get fired or publicly humiliate themselves, because that’s exactly what happens at Christmas parties in real life. Like any other deeply ingrained social ritual, there are some Christmastide pitfalls you should be aware of, whether you’re an organiser, an attendee, a +1, or just a helpless bystander.


Records suggest that the first Christmas happened roughly 2,012 years ago in Israel, a time and a place not exactly known for its loose end-of-year work functions. In these old-school manger-parties, and later in Medieval churches and plague-ridden villages, people used to let their hair down and get their freak on to the likes of “Come, Holy Ghost, our souls aspire” written circa 900 AD:

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.

Unction. Unction? Now, compare this to an excerpt from the karaoke fan favourite “Love Shack”, written circa 1989 AD:

Huggin’ and a kissin’, dancin’ and a lovin’, wearin’ next to nothing
Cause it’s hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies! The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s
Movin’ around and around and around!
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby!
Folks linin’ up outside just to get down
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby
Funky little shack! Funky little shack!

Funky little shack indeed. Modern-day hymn recitation means somebody’s going to magically find an out-of-tune piano, and Gladys from accounts is going to hog the soprano part while everyone else mumbles through some sad Latin dirge amidst a flood of long-repressed memories from their time in the Catholic school system. Karaoke on the other hand means an excuse to scream as loud as you possibly can in to a microphone while Japanese girls dance for you on plasma screen TVs and waiters bring you trays of drinks. You do the math.