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09th Nov 2019

Six subtle ways to lay the groundwork for skipping your work Christmas party

Tis the season to be antisocial!

Ciara Knight

Start today to avoid disappointment!

Work Christmas parties are A Lot.

Some people thrive, using the occasion as the perfect opportunity to network, gain social status and take full advantage of the free bar. For others, it is literal hell from start to finish.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to swerve the annual festivities, help is here. Simply pick one of the plans listed below and follow it word for word.

Here’s six foolproof* ways to lay the groundwork for skipping your work Christmas party.

*Results may vary.

1. Loudly brag that you didn’t get the flu jab this year because you are invincible

Whenever the Christmas party’s organiser is within earshot, you’re going to want to lay the groundwork for your inevitable lack of attendance. It can be as simple as a quick sniffle here and there, complaining that you’ve got aches and pains, but then brushing off the threat of illness by boldly announcing that you forewent the advisable flu jab this year because you are immune to the threat of this contagious illnesses.

It’s a very clever psychological play known as the double bluff. You’re drawing attention to yourself for the wrong reasons, tempting fate while also planting the seed of knowledge in your colleagues’ minds. Given that the Christmas party is over a month away, you’ll need to gently pepper your alleged immunity into every conversation with the party planner, ideally every second day so as to avoid overkill. When party time rolls around, simply “contract” “the flu” and give your feigned apologies. Add a little flourish with “Have a drink on me”. Everyone will applaud your bravery in insisting that they carry on without you, while also saying “This is why everyone should be getting the flu jab”, taking the focus off your lies and onto the state of country’s health services.

2. Get engaged and subsequently plan the wedding for the exact day of the party

For this method, you’re going to need to get very close to the party planning committee. Perhaps even volunteer to be involved, promising to organise the balloons. Nobody ever questions the balloonist, they simply accept that balloons are required if someone is in charge of them. With this power comes great responsibility, so you’re going to have to really lean into the cause. Scatter a few balloon brochures around your desk and request samples. Inevitably, for administrative purposes, you will need to know the date of the party before everyone else.

Once you know the date, you’re golden. Simply convince someone to love and marry you, then get the wedding wheels in motion. Book a venue, inform loved ones, get all the necessities sorted and then glide into work as you inform the head of the party planning committee that unfortunately your hands are tied and you will have to forego the Christmas antics in favour of getting hitched. It’s a win-win because your colleagues will have to attend the work party as per their contractual obligations, so you can keep the wedding small and therefore costs down.

3. Inform everyone via an all-staff email that you have a tendency to get the scutters

Nobody will query the legitimacy of your claims because of the large-scale embarrassment that you are voluntarily inflicting upon yourself. It is the perfect crime. You could’ve just messaged your manager and said that you sometimes get a “sick tummy”, which as well all know is code for the squirts, but instead, you’re going to make the entire situation so cripplingly humiliating, it cannot be anything but believable. On the day of the Christmas party, simply reply all with ‘Yep, it has happened again today’ and no more questions will be asked. Honestly, and I’m not just saying this, it will be the bravest thing anyone has ever done, hypothetically or otherwise.

Sure, you might henceforth be known as ‘Shitty Tom’ or whatever your name is, but that is a very small price to pay. Which would you rather – having the entirety of your colleagues know that you’ve been struck down with a festive case of the Rodney Trotters, or sitting through Susan from accounts’ shrill rendition of ‘Leave (Get Out)’ by JoJo? People will speak highly of your courage long after you’ve left the company and indeed the earth itself. You’ll get a day off work, but a lifetime of respect. Be the hero for once. You deserve it.

4. Make a big deal about ordering a leave-in conditioner online, then wait

Look, nobody knows the correct amount of time to leave a leave-in conditioner in for. It could be twenty minutes, or it could be seven years. Regardless, if you make it public knowledge that you’re ordering one online, everyone will believe your story when you turn around two days before the Christmas party and announce that you will be using it ahead of the festivities. “Good luck”, they’ll say, completely unaware of the fake horrors that lie ahead. Timing is crucial here so please be vigilant and get a few reminders set up on your phone.

For this next part, you’ll need to really sell it. You’re going to message the work group chat on the morning of the party. “Ugh, sorry guys, not sure I’m going to make it tonight. Stuck at home with a leave-in conditioner. Turns out I bought one of those 24-hour application ones. Anyway, have a great night. Furious to miss it, but have to obey the product instructions”. They’ll eat it up thanks to your genius mix of rage, sincerity and an upbeat attitude. Nobody can come between someone and their leave-in conditioner because it is illegal to wash it out before the time is up. Although disheartened, your colleagues will have no choice but to wish you well in your hairy endeavours. Just make sure your locks are glowing upon returning to the office.

5. Train your body into having an allergic reaction to Christmas cheer and/or vibes

Who can say what allergies exist and what ones don’t? Certainly not I, nor Jane from finance or Henry from HR. Unless you are a medical expert, you cannot contest the very legitimate allergies that can sporadically infect our lives if and when they please. With that in mind, set aside a few evenings in the lead-up to the party to train your body into rejecting Christmas cheer. This can be done quite easily, through overexposure to festive movies, scents, vibes and decorations. If you’re not getting sick at the sight of Richard Attenborough dressed as Santa, you’re doing it wrong.

All going well, your debilitating symptoms will naturally occur around the office as people start getting giddy about the big day. Your most crucial performance to date will come on the day that the office Christmas tree arrives. You need to execute mind over matter, forcing hives to appear all over your body. Slow down your breathing to a level that alarms your Fitbit. Keep shivering and saying “Who’s that in the corner?”, while pointing to an empty space. “Hallucinations? Woah. I hope I’m not allergic to Christmas cheer, LOL”, you’ll say, booking a doctor’s appointment immediately. Then get a negligent doctor to confirm your illness and write you a sick note for the Christmas party. You’re welcome.

6. Act really paranoid, suggesting that someone may have ordered a hit on you

This one needs to start as soon as possible, ideally today. Confide in the office gossip that you’re fearing for your life. Keep the reasoning vague, offering up several possibilities such as an unpaid parking ticket, late dentist payment or supermarket self-service scanner discrepancy. The most important thing to do is act very jumpy around the office, when the kettle clicks off or the toaster pops. Give off a sense that you are both shaken and stirred. Before long, every colleague will be keeping an eye on you like the leftover pastries in the boardroom after a meeting.

Precisely one day before the party, pay an actor to come into the office and carry out a hit on you. Obviously the gun won’t be loaded and you’ll be using blood packets for dramatic effect, but nobody can know that but you. Everyone will scream, the hitman (or woman) will drag your body off the premises to hide the evidence and with that, you’re free from hassle forevermore. All you have to do is go into hiding for the rest of your life and therefore never attend a work Christmas party again. Congratulations, you have beaten the system. Live your life. Thrive. Be free.

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