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The Politics of Your Office Christmas Party

Jane Ryan

With autumn comes the inevitable emails begging you to book the Xmas staff bash. This season is known – not coincidentally – as the worst month of hell in hospitality. Here’s how not to act on your night of freedom with the company card.

If you enjoy a particularly good laugh ask any bartender, manager or floor staff about working Christmas parties. They'll have a few outrageously hilarious stories to tell, and many more involving a mop and tears of regret. I certainly have a few of my own from six years in London hospitality; from having to stop shenanigans in the toilets to putting CEOs in a taxi 45 minutes after the party has started. 

The good folk of the hopsitality world put up with so much awfulness from London's general public during this time they honestly deserve a medal. It's as if in those heady few weeks they cease to be real people but quite simply booze-providers (we love you!) or booze deny-ers (why would you do this to me!?). 

While there's no getting away from the silly season or the drunkness involved, there are some easy ways to make life better for your bartender and less humiliating to yourself. 

Don't Book Your Favourite Bar

You might love, love, love the Punch Room... "Who doesn't" - you think to yourself, "it's delightful there, and the booze comes in giant bowls. Fabulous!". Except we all have that colleague who never goes out, who doesn't know what punch is and who is no doubt going to try and order a cocktail, by name, that they once had somewhere else, with no clue as to what was in it but my goodness it tasted great. Already you're regretting your choice of location, all topped off when Steve from marketing is caught either harrassing a waitress, trying to "make a call" or destroying some priceless bit of bar kit. The result of this is you're never going to be welcomed back to your favourite bar again. Save it for date night and take Steve and the rest of the crew to a place where no one knows your name. 

Tip, Tip and Keep Tipping Until the Staff Actually Like You Again

This is crucial. You might have been a saint all night (unlikely...) but guaranteed one of your colleagues will have done something awful, said something awful, or is, just generally, awful. You've had a great night on your bosses expense account but if they haven't thought to tip then now is the time to empty your pockets and say thank you for putting up with us, and sorry we're awful. By the way, if you think you and no one else in your party was even a tiny bit awful, then you were the most awful. Trust us. 

Save It For The Bedroom

If you really must do regretable things with colleagues you don't even fancy, keep it out of the bar's toilets. Uber is there for a reason, book one immediately and go home. (Don't forget to tip on your way out. See above.) 

Keep It Simple

If you're in charge of ordering the drinks, whether it's on the night or beforehand, big rounds of the same drink are going to get you served quicker. If you've hired a private area there's a good chance the bar is still operating as normal around you and it's December so hey, it's busy. Individual or complicated orders will slow this whole process down. Sure you can pull the card of we're-paying-for-it-so-we-get-what-we-want - well, yeah - fair enough but don't complain when the order takes a while (and tip). 

Try And Hold It Together

We know... it's tough. The struggle is real. You've been forced to drink endless rounds of booze, the food was only starter-sized and that Steve from marketing keeps buying you shots. But cleaning up someone's sick four days before Christmas when you've been working crazy hours is just really unpleasant. Maybe say no to that last tequila. In fact, please say no.


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