The Office Christmas Party is now so synonymous with certain companies that many even lists free entrance to the annual festive event as a perk of the job on the job spec. 

Listed among the many benefits of what comes with the job, the office Christmas party is now up there with BUPA healthcare, 30 days holiday a year, gym membership, duvet days, staff parking and free cakes on Friday.

Despite the furore and rapture behind the excitement of a night of debauchery and intoxication, the cost of the taxi fare from the event – 17% hate the problem of getting home – the forced socialising with objectionable people, not wanting to consume alcohol around drunken idiots, and a night away from loved ones, are amongst the reasons why some employees dread the office Christmas party.

The Secret Santa adds to the pressure as does the intense, intoxicated conversations of woeful self-pity, with cheap party hats, a glass of Lambrini, and another round of George Michael jokes, following another loop of ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!

And if these excuses aren’t enough not to attend, in 1938, a worker once wrote that he would not be attending the event as he did ‘not want his capitalist boss organising his private life and interfering with his social life’. 

Besides the anti-capitalist excuse, some companies frown upon members of staff when the opportunity to attend has been arranged and funded by the company. Having said that, nearly half of employees complain when the boss appears to have been ‘tight-fisted’ over the arrangements.

There is always going to be this struggle whereby some employees – particularly those who struggle to socialise and feel uncomfortable in groups of drunken people – don’t want to attend, and a company holds the opinion that it’s a privilege and part of the job to turn up and be grateful that their company provides a free office Christmas party. 

Taking into consideration that 50% of millennials are doing their socialising online, perhaps companies should now consider holding their office Christmas party over a 45-minute Zoom call. At least this would avoid any misuse of mistletoe and also save on paper and 3D printer products following the obligatory photocopying sessions, after a few Bacardi’s 

The First Office Christmas Parties

These days, it’s the management of a company that gets behind the idea of a Christmas office party and initiates the organisation of an event. In the late 19th century, it was slightly different as it was the workers who generally organised the event, often stealthily keeping the idea amongst themselves.  

Some miners even took the meaning of the word ‘underground party’ to a whole new level as they literally held the party underground, behind the backs of their employees, when they were supposed to be working. 

It appears that it wasn’t until after WWII that the office Christmas party started to become a regular fixture on the office calendar. Large companies began to put on concerts at hotels and workers were beginning to 

By the 1980s, the Office Christmas Party was universal, often called ‘the work’s do’ and, by 2005, 65% of companies had one. 

A similar survey from 2015 reads quite derogatory –  Not only does it confirm that 75% of people dread the impending night out but it also states that 7% fear being stuck with someone from IT or accounts. What?! Surely not! Are you telling me that analytical folk and those who have spent the majority of their lives in their parent’s basement, stuck in front of a computer screen, are boring and don’t know how to socialise? Some of the most interesting people I know are continuously stuck in front of a computer screen, typing endlessly to earn a crust .

Up until that point, the behaviour associated with an office Christmas party had already been documented and red-flagged. As always, with any event where alcohol is in the mix, there was an element of danger associated and companies were wary – through nothing more than years of empirical evidence – that people may not respond as intended or as expected. 

Whilst considering and dwelling deeply upon past events, in 2004, a concerned Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the TUC strongly advised against the use of mistletoe, due to the number of sexual harassment cases lodged against companies following the annual office Christmas party. Sadly, nearly two decades later, just over 1 in 10 women find unwanted sexual attention the most annoying aspect of a work’s night out.

It would be interesting to know whether the stats from the BBC’s office Christmas parties were ever collated from the early 60s onwards. With Schofield, Barrymore, Russell Brand and Savile on the payroll, the actual number of misdemeanours must read like a who’s who of sexual harassment charges.

The Hangover

And it’s not just big business and large corporations that wallow in regretful nights out. The hangover can sometimes linger a little longer than expected. Remember The Government’s office Christmas party scandal? As we all caged ourselves in our homes like animals, during a – as we all later found out – pointlessly stressful lockdown regime, Boris and friends were partying until all hours, drinking Moët and eating foie gras on granary crackers beneath taxpayer’s mistletoe. 

Following a culmination of decadence spanning circa 200 years, Hollywood comedy filmmakers Will Speck and Josh Gordon directed the 2016 film, Office Christmas Party – – starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Anniston. 

Despite below-average reviews, the film covers virtually every office Christmas party scenario to the extreme. Following exorbitant spending by the enthusiastic CEO, the rowdy behaviour culminates in hospital admissions, damage to property, hired prostitutes, cocaine mistaken for artificial snow, nudity and office-based orgies. 

Of course, this is an extreme example for comedy effect but there is a lot of truth behind the story. 

What’s your office Christmas party story this year?

We all have our very own office Christmas party tale to tell. Personally, I know of someone who was so drunk at a Christmas party that he forgot he was staying at a local hotel for the night. After being awoken from a urinal, he subsequently made the inebriated decision to drive all the way from Nottingham to Burton, in first gear. His wife was awoken from her slumber in the early hours as their £80,000.00 performance car rattled up the street, absent of the four Bridgestone tyres, before resting on the driveway and bursting into flames as her husband unlocked the front door, climbed the stairs and snuggled into bed, fully clothed and completed oblivious to the carnage he left in his drunken wake.   

 In order to avoid such frivolities and criminal charges, many companies opted for arranging a far more civilised sit-down Christmas meal, where wives and partners are invited to avoid post-Christmas party divorce procedures and dine together, celebrating life and raising a glass of Prosecco to their god and untethered capitalism.   

And now for the slightly more civilised part…

If your company is opting for a more civilised event, you will need experienced chefs to add some Christmas panache to the menu. With years of Christmas dinner experience, Citreus Catering provides a festival sparkle with a feast fit for the whole office. 

If you are lucky enough to be part of the 2023 Christmas experience at Heathland Grove, Derby – – we look forward to seeing you there and we sincerely hope that the main talking point is the quality of our food. 

Heathland Grove prides itself on exceptional quality and memorable events, and Citreus Catering are proud to be part of that special experience.  

expect from a venue, in a slightly less expected way. That’s the idea behind everything we do. It’s our job to make your experience less conventional. And a lot more memorable.

With uncompromising luxury and charm, Heathland Grove, which is ideally placed close to the A38 towards Burton on Trent, offers the perfect blend of Private Functions, Wedding Receptions and Corporate Events. 

If you have the numbers, we have the Christmas creativity to set the table with unforgettable culinary creations. Contact us here to find out how we can make Christmas memorable for all the right reasons – 

And here’s a final statistic that you don’t have to worry about with Citreus Catering: 26% of people are concerned that the food will be rubbish at an office Christmas party.