A survival guide to Christmas in the workplace

If you’ve been happily organising the carols concert since June then this is not for you. But if the very words, jingle bells, bring you out in a cold sweat then we have you covered.


Secret Santa

Buy them a joke-a-day calendar, a candle in a tin or festive socks and think no more about it.


Tinsel all over the place

The first few baubles and sparkly trees will hit hard but in time you’ll be able to train your eyes to notice it less. Like when you’re talking to someone you don’t like and focus slightly to one side of them. You will become a lot more aware of all the non-foiled and fairy-lit places in your world.



Just say no. If you have to, look as if you’re going to cry. Then walk away and think no more about it.


Drinks after work

Bereavement and hangovers don’t mix. Say you’re on antibiotics. Strong ones. New ones. Acknowledge no further conversation on the subject.


The office party

Don’t go. If they are understanding people, say you don’t feel up to it this year. If they’re not understanding people, lie. Say your mother has been rushed into hospital or your child has a soaring temperature or you came home to find your dog groggy in a pool of vomit. Go home. Invite a friend round or indulge in your favourite box set. Go to bed, thankful that your mother or child or dog is fine. Go in to work the next day, say everyone is fine now and express slight remorse that you missed all the fun. Then think no more about it.


The pity-laden, What are you doing for Christmas this year? question

Whatever your plans are, say “Spending it with family.” The asker will smile, say “Aw, that’s nice” and go away. If it’s someone you know, like and would like to spend Christmas with, ask them.


The last day before the holidays lunch with all the trimmings

Say you have a dentist appointment. If it would make you feel better, book a dentist appointment and go. Congratulate yourself for taking care of your health. Think no more about it.


Of course if you genuinely like your workplace and regard your colleagues more as close friends, then you might want to be more honest and share in their festive spirit as best you can. But if your workplace is a mix of misfits with a few nice people desperately trying to escape, then be French. Or at least, adopt the single-minded nonchalance of the main character in a French film. You never see them agonising over doing things they don’t want to do. Bof.



Words by BeachBumble  

First published in Widows and Widowers magazine Issue 5

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