Andrea Mara

Official website

The Office Christmas Special

Little black dresses, large gins, lots of shots. Speeches, spills, too many beers, late night tears. Every Christmas party ever.

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New dresses bought each year, sparkles everywhere – eyeshadow, clutches and heels.

Glamorous venues like Powerscourt and Luttrelstown and the Guinness Storehouse. Drinks then buses then drinks then food then drinks and more drinks.

Important questions about the free bar: “How late do you think it will go on?”

“I heard it’s all night” the bright-eyed, hopeful response, “but get me a double vodka and Redbull while you’re up, just in case…”

There was the year we had a talent competition, the year we had prizes for best-dressed staff, the year we had our own casino.

Then hangovers and The Fear. Some walks of shame on Saturday morning, some sheepish looks on Monday morning. And some sparks of something that might lead to something else – lots of that.

But always a party.

Then BAM. 2008. The financial world caved in. And the party was over. The little black dress was pushed to the back of the wardrobe.

We couldn’t just do nothing though.

Someone brought in a spare Christmas tree – a little lopsided but still looking good. Everyone brought in one or two decorations.

The recession brought some unexpected treats – Roses and Celebrations for less than the price of a work-day lunch soon appeared on every spare desk.

Secret Santa was arranged. We needed a gift-exchange ceremony, so decided on beers in the office. And Christmas jumpers. And it was unexpectedly great.

A year later, we did it again, this time with crisps and wine and proper wine glasses borrowed from a nearby off-licence.

The following year, a Christmas-themed quiz was introduced. And spot prizes for singing the year after.

This Christmas party in the office has become a stable fixture in our December calendar, and while we joke about how it compares to the parties of more sparkle-filled, decadent years, we secretly love it.

There’s no dressing up apart from optional Christmas jumpers, no travelling to the venue, no worries about who is sitting next to who at the dinner table, and no speeches. There’s plenty to drink, non-stop chat and some serious letting down of hair. Though no dancing. Maybe we need a DJ next year.

This new type of Christmas party has become far more enjoyable than it’s more glamorous predecessor – but perhaps I’m just showing my age. And if a champagne dinner was back on the table next year (so to speak), I might just dig out that little black dress.

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