Ah, the work Christmas party. A hotbed of festive energy and workplace repression where no one emerges a winner.
Here we chronicle the tragedies likely to befall your attempts to enjoy some festival cheer with people you have little in common with beyond a cluttered kitchen.
You'll overconfidently offer cocaine to a colleague because he listens to Hot Chip
It seems obvious that class A drugs and a workplace celebration don't mix, but it is remarkable how many people forget this come Yuletide. It's 22:17 and you're finally in the festive spirit and earning the respect you deserve from the room. You spy Matt, the trendy designer who lives in Stoke Newington who is undoubtedly an ally for the sesh.
Taking him by the shoulder you lead him off to the bathroom with a sly wink you hope doesn't suggest you're trying to offer him a hand job. Even at the point where he refuses to kneel on the toilet floor and snort your £80 cocaine cut with paracetamol, you don't take no for an answer. "My guy has the good shit," you say, "Mate, don't worry, I'm cool." No, you're not.
Everyone will witness the beginnings of a midlife crisis affair
Probably because most offices are rife with resentment and people barely tolerating each other, any displays of actual affection between two people can be spotted a mile off. Add the company bar tab to this equation, and any attempts at discretion go straight out the window.
Enter art director Neil who has put his phone on Airplane mode so he isn't distracted by his wife calling so he can say goodnight to his kids during bath time. He spends the evening trailing a coterie of the office's most glamorous women around the Christmas tree showing them pictures of him completing the Marathon des Sables last summer, until one of them finally relents to a snog and Neil takes the first shaky step on the road to ruining his life forever.
The quiet intern will overcook it
Instead of the more mature members of the company remembering the intern is only 19 and should therefore be at least vaguely protected, the poor soul gets ploughed with six pints of Guinness before dinner. Having said very little since his first day, Sam now can't stop talking about how much he loves the company whilst dropping loud and unsubtle hints about a possible job.
He is found two hours after he left still outside trying to get an Uber back to Chichester.
You'll have an overly frank conversation with senior management about the "direction of the company"
No matter how far you rise up the ranks of you're corporation, you're still going to have a boss and the Christmas party is probably the only time you'll socialise with them. And by socialise, we mean feel nervous, get too drunk and then proceed to shout your well-founded grievances in their face over the chorus of 'Stay Now' by East 17.
"He needs to know" says inner inebriated you as you repeat your conviction the canteen should be open earlier or that the Thursday morning meeting should have a more "collaborative vibe". The post-party anxiety will last until the second they show you a modicum of human kindness, which could take months.
Someone will cast themselves as lead party warrior
It might not be who you suspect, but someone will take the spirit of Christmas a little too far and try and turn your subdued drinks into a party scene from a Judd Apatow film. This usually includes ironic dancing to shit music, getting the shots in like an L.A.D and trying to recreate the Oscars selfie.
Ignore him and he'll eventually go away.
Somebody will share their deepest secrets
Professional boundaries are underrated and at no time are they more required than during alcohol fuelled work gatherings. Publicity manager Claire is resolute about making the most of the gin gimlets, even if that does mean missing the last train back to East Sheen.
Fast forward an hour and she's forcefully cornering anyone that will listen and telling them about her sexually unfulfilling marriage to Tom. Tom who you play five-aside with occasionally. Tom who you like and whose faltering erection you really don't want to think about. This isn't fun.
And you will certainly be sexually rejected
As sure as Santa hats and Slade scream-alongs, you will be brutally rebuffed in some form or another if you're single at your Christmas party. This may take the form of a classic mistimed mistletoe lunge, or an awkward stab at seasonal warmth that the PA takes badly before retreating immediately. Or it could be you trying to walk to the tube with a girl who then pretends she's getting the bus, only for you to be awkwardly reunited minutes later on the Victoria line. The point is you aren't getting out without at least a fleeting moment of self-loathing that you'll replay in your head until mid-February.