The Office Christmas Party.
Here are eight simple food and drink rules to get you through the office xmas party without any social blunders or alcohol-related embarrassment:
1) Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Indulge in a breakfast sandwich – bacon, sausage, thick sliced bread. I like to call this carb-loading: essential preparation for alcohol consumption.
2) Get a sugar fix before the meal. While you’re getting changed, doing your make up, waiting for everyone else to beautify themselves or whatever, suspend the usual rules about snacking and delve into that tin of Quality Street. A little sugar fix and some chocolate will get you into party mood.
3) Limit yourself to one pre-meal alcoholic drink. Any more than one and you risk being far too drunk by the end of the meal. Translation: when your colleagues pop open the champagne before you leave the office, politely refuse a refill.
4) Mix water with wine. During the meal you can bet that wine will be flowing far too quickly than is sensible. Make sure you intersperse glasses of water with glasses of wine to limit your intake.
5) Choose your seat carefully. The can be the rule that makes or breaks your decorum. Don’t sit yourself next to the overly generous pourer, and employ hawk-like eyes when it comes to your wine glass. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ve only had one glass when actually it has been topped up every time you’ve taken a swig.
6) Eat slowly. Treat the meal the way it is intended. Eat slowly and enjoy the food, give yourself time to let the meal go down and take the opportunity to relax and enjoy the conversation. The sole purpose of the xmas party is not to get as drunk as possible as fast as possible and throw up the food later on.
7) Say no to Sambuca. That’s right: when the post-meal shot frenzy begins and you find shot glasses of flaming spirits being lined up on the table in front of you, just say no. It may be fun at the time but half an hour later when you’re swaying on your feet and slurring nonsense to your boss, or even the next morning when you wake up with hangover and regrets, it won’t seem like such a good idea. Do not bow to peer pressure. Or alternatively trick them by slyly discarding the spirit into the nearest ice bucket/plant pot/spare glass.
8) Enjoy yourself! This is the one time of year when you can really let your hair down and get to know your colleagues outside of the work environment. So stop fretting and have a good time, eat, drink and be merry. Just be sure to do it all in moderation, and if you don’t, then make sure it was worth bending the rules.