Neil Parfrey: Are Christmas parties worth the spend?

Is that the sound of the elves labouring away, or Santa puffing his way down the non-existent chimney?


Actually, no, it’s me growling at anybody who mentions the words ‘Christmas party’.

I am a December baby, and for years I have cultivated the image of a Scrooge-like character, stalking the floors, spreading my humbug among my workmates.

The reality is different. As a father and a grandfather, I love the joy that Christmas brings to little faces. For me, Christmas is a family time, and we should embrace the more traditional aspects of the festivities.

Some might argue that the office Christmas party is also a tradition, but I remain unconvinced of the benefit. The fact that the venue is normally naff, featuring cold turkey and slightly lumpy gravy, should be enough to deter most people.

If it isn’t, then the thought of Daphne from accounts strutting her stuff to Abba, with the boss still stuffed like the Christmas turkey in his collar and tie, should make anyone think twice about attending.

Even worse, it is the general principle of enforced enjoyment. Don’t get me wrong, I like my colleagues, but alcohol and forced bonhomie do strange things to people.

So, while I hope you all have a marvellous time at your office party, I shall not be joining you. I shall be washing my hair and doing a passable impression of the last turkey in the shop.

Happy Chrimbo!

Neil Parfrey is head of pensions at Heineken UK


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