Tag Archives: christmas party

Party like it’s 2020!

Phil: Do you know what’s good about 2020?

No office Christmas parties!

No standing around awkwardly pretending to have fun. No wishing you didn’t have to drive home so you could enjoy a drink to dull the pain. No being stuck with colleagues who have partners picking them up so they can drink.

Yes, I know we’re all supposed to love this stuff, but some of us don’t. Can you just not go, leaving the party to those who enjoy it? No. Apparently, it’s the law that you have to turn up for the “fun”. It’s rude (I’m told) to explain that you didn’t choose to be with anyone you work with, it’s only being paid that keeps you in the same room as them. And only the threat of a tedious interview with HR that stops you murdering the lot of them. (I have worked in IT support. You have no idea how much we hated some of our users. No, more than that.)

But 2020 comes along and everyone is working from home. Parties are held via Zoom!

No dancing. Drinking if you want it because, well, you are at home.

And when it’s time to leave say something along the lines of “My Internet is playing up.”, switch the computer off and leave them to it.

In Kate vs The Dirtboffins, our IT nerd Kelvin has a neat party trick. He pretends to take an urgent phone call when he needs to get away. That wasn’t my invention, party monster Nolan came up with that, but if we are ever allowed into the same room as other people, I’ll remember it.

As it is, meet-ups via Zoom have worked very well this year. My circle of regular drinking buddies has grown now we no longer have to worry about geography. Yes, I miss visiting a pub, but even my annual nerds trip to London boozers has a virtual stand-in this year. It won’t be the same, but at least we won’t be jostling out on the pavement in the cold. And the beer is cheaper.

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Christmas Party but not as you know it

Candice: Phil told me I HAD to write the blog this week as I’d been keeping you all on tenterhooks talking about last weeks trip into the office.

Well, it was eventful. The whole experience was like starting the first day at a new job. I didn’t sleep well the night before as I kept thinking about what I needed to take with me, even though I’d packed it all and put it by the front door. I even cleaned my boots and laid out all my clothes for the next day, like I used to do.

In the morning I think it was the earliest that my daughter has been dropped off at school. I then got on the motorway and immediately remembered why I don’t like driving at ‘peak’ time, (though this was nothing like the usual level of traffic, just people being stupid because they were in a rush). However, I got there, Christmas jumper ready, flashing light badge on the go, tea and coffee ready to be made.

The day was a whirlwind of trying to work out how to work the new technology in the office (can you hear us, we can’t see you) and fitting in a whole weeks worth of work in one day. There was also a lot of food – everyone had bought something which had to be put in a central place and then we could dip it when we wanted (two metres apart obviously). It reminded me of being back in the office full time and being stuffed with too many chocs near to Xmas.

We went from back to back meetings to our virtual Christmas party – which was nice to do with a few key people around as it gave the event atmosphere. Though when we went to the quiz part we all had to disappear to different parts of the office so that we couldn’t hear each other team’s answers (not hard with social distancing), not that I am competitive at all.

By the end of the day, I was frazzled. I’d tried to solve our business planning problems and also a murder mystery too! I finished it off with the 5km run with my running buddy, our last before Christmas which was a really nice end to my sociable day.

Was this like a usual Christmas wind down? No.

Was it nice to go back in and see people? Yes.

Did I win the Christmas Jumper competition? NO!

Was I shattered that night and the next day? OMG yes. I have no idea what it will be like when we go back to travelling in on a regular basis, but I know it will be tiring initially!

I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year and here is looking at a different 2021!


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Just one sleep…


Huffkins – Yum

Candice: That’s what someone said to me this morning.  The excitement is brewing in our house, though it’s all about the details:

  • There is no 25 chocolate in her calendar so will she get a bigger one from the chocolate tin tomorrow?
  • Has Father Christmas remembered her OMG LOL (well no he hasn’t as that was a last-minute entry)
  • Can we clear some space for her new toys (me)- reluctance to that one

I’ve kept things simple, there are no presents under our tree so she has no idea what is coming. I’m hoping this will allay a 4am wake up!  Too many exciting things under the tree might cause problems.

This year has been very twisty and turny – or ‘Bumpy’ as the Queen has described her year in her annual speech.  Jobs have come and gone for my family, leaving us wondering exactly what next year will look like.  For now, I’m enjoying my new role and hopefully the same can soon be said for the other half.  Phil’s had a few bumps too, but not on his train tracks.

Normally I write a blog about Christmas Parties this time of year but mine has been very subdued.  Yes, I had a nice night out, good food, a few glasses of Sauvignon, and some good chat but it was all over very early.  Being a project person in a big company, employed people had their own parties to go too so there were too many decisions about which party to go to.  By the sound of lots of friends, this is getting more and more unusual as companies clamp down on spending on the nice stuff like Xmas parties, which I think is a real shame.

Phil and I had a nice meal the other day and exchanged presents.  We are both of the school that presents take precedence and like the excitement of buying something that we think someone will like.  I’m almost as excited as Erin about opening mine tomorrow!

Hope that all our readers have a great Christmas and look forward to some good reading and writing experiences in the new year.

MERRY CHRISTMAS (in a Noddy Holder stylie)



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Christmas is here

Image result for drunken christmas party

Candice: I’ve let Phil do most of the writing on the blog this year.  Being a parent and working full time does not allow a lot of time for thinking so I keep it for book writing and editing rather than blog writing.

But I felt we were  missing our traditional Christmas blog post about photocopying bums at Christmas parties.

The first book finishes with a Christmas party, and I still like the way that it opens.  I can still see dry ice and characters walking through the fog in a ‘Batman and Robin’ style.

I had my work’s Christmas party last week.  I can only just write this blog now as my head is still recovering.  I am not the best drinker so try to keep the alcohol intake to a minimum, this was not the case with my work colleagues who also decided that, as organiser of the Christmas do, I should have lots of free drinks as thanks.  One of those was a Jagerbomb…

I sloped off at midnight as I’d had a good two hours dancing and drinking since a lot earlier, I was an early bird compared to most.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Christmas party.  I pretty much always end up organising it, because no one else will, but it also means I have to spend a lot of time dealing with people asking stupid questions – what time does it start, how much is it etc.  But once the meal part is out of the way – ‘ herding cats’ is how a colleague described it, then I got what I really wanted. A chance to show that Mrs Demure in the office knows how to shake her butt.  Think more Tracey than Kate.

The other thing I had to organise was the Secret Santa, yet another herding cats experience.  However, I ended up with a well thought of present… a magic mug with that – when you put hot water in to it, the book appears.  Someone had been listening then.  So thanks to Secret Santa, I’m chuffed with it.


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Cashing in on Christmas

Candice: I watched an interesting program last night on Christmas singles.  There is a big thing in the UK about getting a Christmas number one.  Some have been very successful with it over the years and managed to record a Christmas hit which is still being bought and played 30 years plus later.

A few years ago a had the pleasure of meeting Noddy Holder, the man behind “It’s Christmas” in of the most well-known and well sold Christmas records ever ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’.  Noddy had been presented with a star on the Walk of Stars in Birmingham, the West Midlands equivalent to Hollywood Boulevard (though with less hookers).  We coupled his celebration with one of the Christmas events happening in the city, and nearly caused a riot.  Noddy knew exactly what that record had done for him, he called it his ‘retirement fund’.  And he was happy to pose for photos and shout that famous line as many times as we wanted him to.

Watching this show it demonstrated how the Christmas single had actually been a very clever ploy for certain bands and record companies. This is before the days of X Factor where Simon Cowell just uses it to line his pockets.  Jona Lewie’s ‘Stop the Calvary’ wasn’t written to be a Christmas song but by including that one line about, “…wish I could be home for Christmas”. tipped it into that favoured slot.

The same can be said for films, ‘Elf’, ‘Home Alone’, even ‘Die Hard’ have a Christmas connection, meaning they get bought year on year.

Our book finishes at the Christmas party, with a spectacular entrance by the KOD team and spiked punch.  Should this ever make it into a film I can see the pounds rolling in as it gets shown on ITV7 (or some other obscure channel) every year for time immemorial. Not that this was planned at all…

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Bah! Humbug!

Candice: I really like Christmas but the reason for my tardy post today is the lack of Christmas feeling in my current environment.  Did I only come back from holiday three weeks ago?

My work place feels like it has taken everything up about three gears from the usual pace because, come Friday, every one disappears until the 7th January!  My diary is back to back, my phone doesn’t stop ringing and I feel constantly frazzled.

I’d really like some down time, after not feeling inspired to write in a while, I managed to find a short story in my brain which has now gone into the Nolan Parker writing pot.  Phil has written a cracking Christmas story, to be revealed next week, but I need to do some editing before it goes up…. um when?

It might be Christmas party on Thursday, and the decorations might be up in the office but I am not feeling the vibe anywhere else.  Some one said to me today, “I haven’t got Christmas lag yet, it’s great.” Well in my world that’s poor.  I really like Christmas in the office normally; lots of cheap, ugly decorations from Poundland, crap reindeer ears and lots of bad food everyday.

Well, where I am now seems to have forgotten its Christmas.  We have decorations but are lacking in the spirit.  I don’t know if it will change at the party, I suggested going for a dance after our drinks reception and got a very poor response.

So I say, Bah Humbug to the lot of you.  I’m going to enjoy myself, find my flashing Christmas badge, dust off the santa hat, and throw some shapes to Mariah Carey and Shakin’ Stevens.  Come on, if you can’t let you hair at Christmas when can you?

I will not be photocopying my bum though… well, depends how many wines I have…..!


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Christmas Parties

Candice : As this post goes live I’ll be putting the finishing touches to my outfit before my office Christmas party.  Hopefully it’ll be abit better than last year where I ended up getting smashed because, being a contractor, I didnt really know too may people that well and ended up walking in on my own.  However, the ensuing glasses of vino on the free bar and Argentine Tango impressions helped to build my reputation and I did end up having a good last month as everyone had a bit more of an inclination of what I was really like.

Anyway, the Christmas Party is key to our story.

The team from K.O.D. stood outside the imposing doors to Oswythal Hall and wondered what they were doing there. HIA’s Christmas parties were described by the staff as “legendary” and this one was to be last big get together before the place would be closed down. Gareth had been really surprised when the invite landed at their office, as he thought they burnt all their bridges with the government agency;  what with the fact they’d been instrumental in the close down and had personally given everyone their marching orders, an all. However, the invite had been insistent that they attend to ‘Celebrate the end of an era, which you have been an important part of’, as the covering letter stated.  Tracey had even taken a call from a member of the HIA staff checking they were coming, though she couldn’t remember which one it was.

Without giving the game away, there’s conflict, snogging, dodgy outfits and the unmasking of one of our more mysterious characters.  There’s no bottom photocopying, but only because, by this point the photocopiers have been sold on to cover costs.  Seriously though, it would be far to predictable.

So, I’m off to throw some shapes to some good tunes I hope and down a few glasses of medicinal plonk.  Flashing Christmas tree badge anyone?


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Oh what shall I wear?

Cheese on the left, chalk on the right.Candice:  As my writing partner has pointed out, he’s not really a christmas party man. However, I like some shape throwing and love the concept of Christmas, so I’m kinda in my element.  (Do the expressions “chalk and cheese” come to mind – though I think it’s the contrast with having the same stupid sense of humour that makes the writing work).

Anyway, a key part of the whole process is the outfit.  Every year I say to myself, I’ll just get one of my old numbers out and that will be fine.

But as the day approaches I realise I’m bored out of my mind with that dress I wore twice last year, so have to have something new.

Where I am working at the moment, the shopping is poor.  This leads to mad sessions on the internet when I get home, ordering stuff from websites.  The other half has been at home so he’s chief receiver of my many parcels (to the point I got a, “You’ve ordered alot of new clothes recently” to which I sweetly replied, “But they’ve mostly gone back.” Flutter eyelashes)  Debenhams sent me five different dresses in three different parcels for a mad trying on session the night before the event.

I’m not alone in this though.  We went to a ball on Thursday and I had panicked call from the sister, saying can I come around to assess her new purchases as she’d had a last minute internet moment too.  Lucky Debenhams is all I can say!

So I might like the whole party concept but the reality it is just as stressful for me, in a whole different way.

Don’t even get me on shoes and accessories.

Ah well, at least this year I came up with a corker.  Though my facebook photos are going to look abit samie as I’m going to three events, all with different people, so I can reasonably wear it to all three.  Or maybe not…..  asos where are you!

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Party pooper

Phil: ‘Tis the season to be jolly apparently. For some it’s also the time of dread. Lurking towards the back-end of every year but advancing inexorably like the rubber shark aimed at a swimmer in Jaws, is the office Christmas party.

It will come as a surprise to many that not everyone looks forward to this event. Those most surprised will be the annoying busybodies who on the first day of December, delight in festooning offices with tinsel, cheap decorations and worst of all, mistletoe. They fail to understand that the people you work with aren’t your friends – you only spend time with them because someone is paying you. If the money stopped and you couldn’t escape then the walls, and much of the heavy-duty office equipment, would run red with blood.

In Kate vs The Dirtboffins, Kelvin is the man for whom the best Christmas present would be an extra shift covering for everyone else while they are out enjoying the forced bonhomie. Instead he finds himself stuck at some else’s office “do”. At least he has developed a survival technique that geeks everywhere will be proud of:

He wasn’t comfortable at parties. Unable to dance and hopeless at small talk, especially when he couldn’t hear what anyone was saying, his normal plan was to stand in the corner with a smile plastered on his face, nodding up and down to the music and hoping that no one noticed he was there. That usually worked and but in the unlikely event that anyone came along he’d just put his phone to his ear, hold up one finger and mouth, “I’ll be with you in a minute”.  They’d soon get bored and walk off.

Now you are probably thinking that I’m dead miserable – and you’d be right. Blessed with the agility of an oil tanker and a lack of co-ordination that would make even a government department blush,  I can’t dance and even if I could, would never have the nerve to ask people I might want to dance with. You have to see these people again the next day when you are all sober after all. Dulling the pain with alcohol isn’t always possible either. Working out in the back of beyond once, I needed to drive home at the end of the day and so was on the Diet Coke. This wasn’t the case for everyone though, if your partner is collecting you then you can get completely s**tfaced and spend what seemed like 50 hours trying to persuade the bloke from the IT helpdesk that wearing his tie around his forehead would be fun.

But there is worse. My all time favourite Crimbo party horror tale happened when I worked for the Ministry of Cows. We organised a party in the office. Since we office staff were pretty poorly paid, everyone brought in some food and drink and a merry time was had (bus or walk home – Yippee). That was until the least popular member of the veterinary staff turned up with partner and kids in tow. Each had brought a Tupperware bowl.

An empty Tupperware bowl.

They proceeded to fill these up with food, snapped the lids shut, and left.

Seasons Greetings to you all.


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