Monday, 6 December 2021


I’ve just had the first mince pie this year. That’s rich I’ve just had the first mince pie this year. Spiciness brings back memories of Christmases past when Christmas was just a three-day interlude.

The best mince pies in Britain 2019: Country Life's ultimate taste test -  Country Life

This week the “Christmas Party” debate has started. Boris, who resembles, as much as anything else, an out-of-work Santa Claus – full of “ho, ho, ho’s” with sacks of expensive presents but nowhere to do his stuff. He is (when was he not?) determined to give us the Christmas we need and deserve. He’s surrounded by Ministers and medical advisors who’d like to dial down these celebrations “just one glass of mulled wine and drink it slowly.” Boris, on the other hand, belongs to the “let’s get lashed and snog anyone pretty” party.

Remarkable photos reveal Boris Johnson and his now famous contemparies  partying in the 1980s | Express Digest

I loathe Christmas Parties of the sort being discussed; the corporate shindigs that HR hates yet thrives on when picking up the pieces of party ‘naughtiness’ or worse and the highfliers who compromise their careers by over-doing it. These are occasions when people of talent, worth and weak-will awaken the next day muttering “oh no, I didn’t, did I?” 

Christmas parties are expensive, high-risk adventures. They belong to the past when patronising, senior management were meant to smile indulgently at their staff “letting their hair down.” 

Avoiding Christmas Party HR Disasters - Employsure

I reject all the nonsense about bonding, motivation and building the culture. Read about the ghastly orgies of the discredited company We Work, and you may agree. Or you may think mine are the fun-rejecting rants of a Grinch. For sure I am not the Minister of Mirth. 

Because I hate phony fun. I hate self-destruction. I hate the imperative for “big parties” without asking “why are we doing it?”

I’ve watched a restaurant destroyed by an out-of-control crowd of Christmas celebrants. At another all three of the emergency services arrived – to save someone trapped in a lift (Fire); to rush to hospital a poor soul who’d fallen and twisted his kneecap, so it pointed agonisingly out of the back of his leg (Ambulance) and (Police) in response to householder complaints, a large number of policemen arriving to arrest “whoever was in charge” (exit discreetly all senior management).

Cops storm wake after dozens of 'travellers' break Covid lockdown to cram  into caravans for funeral party

It was infamous but it was a long time ago. Afterwards everyone involved felt like members of a riotous rebel insurrection. We were precursors of the Insulate Rebels who stick themselves to the tarmac. But on reflection we had more fun and made a lot more noise.

So, can we have fun without that office party?

Yes, we could spend that money better; yes, we could construct something more exciting than just another booze-up. But no, we can’t be entirely rational in deciding what to do. Fun didn’t get a degree. Fun doesn’t live in spread sheets. But fun does make us feel more human. And Christmas is and always was exciting and a revelation. You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate a great story and the spectacular music, tunes and celebration that Christmas creates. It’s still special and human.

Let’s just stop and think about how to create our own sense of fun and celebration. We don’t need an office load to create bonhomie. A few friends; a few colleagues; people you’d want to be with, not people you have to be with and don’t really know.

I remember my father, sometimes a little dour, suddenly a revelation of jollity, toasting me in Green Chartreuse (does it still exist?) many years ago and smiling “Happy Christmas, old boy”.

Green Chartreuse, 70cl. Gerry's Wines & Spirits - Buy wines and spirits  online at

That was a magic moment. 

Let’s have Christmas parties that make us feel more like that. 



1 comment:

John Eustace said...

Dear Richard, Excellent as ever, thank you. One minor moan! Did the press ever call Mrs Thatcher Margaret, or Cameron David, or Blair Tony, why do they (and you) persist in calling this shit of a man by his first name all the time. WHY NOT simply Johnson, we should be told (Ed)