Work Christmas Parties – Mistakes To Avoid

If there’s one job in the office that should be brilliant and exciting, it’s organising a Christmas Works’ Do. Sadly though, all to often, it becomes a nightmare, and you end up banging your head forlornly on a photocopier.

Here at Landed Houses, we’re quite keen on parties, particularly at Christmas – but golly we’ve heard some horror stories. Here’s our guide to The Worst Mistakes in arranging Office Christmas Parties…

Ignoring The Brief

It has taken six months for a coven of PA’s, HR reps and that mad woman from Accounts to decide what they want to do. They’ve given you a 1000 word brief, signed off by the MD, and they’ve printed it for you, emailed it to you, and had several ‘little words’. No matter how naff you think the idea of an informal fork buffet, followed by speeches and Agadoo might be; this is their brief. Deliver it.

One day, your moment will come, and you will lead said coven into glory and a circus-themed Ball. This is not the year. This year, it’s bridge rolls, vol-au-vents and big-bottomed dancing all the way.

Miscounting The Numbers

Yes, we know you’ve just discovered Bindon House, and it’s completely perfect for many things, but sleeping 150, plus spouses is not one of them. Equally, don’t go mad and hire the ball-room of the local town hall if there’s only 30 of you. Accurate numbers are hugely important food-wise as well….you are not divine. You cannot do anything funky with forty loaves and a few packets of Scampi Fries.

In amongst the number issue, is the whole ‘reply’ thing. Passing people in corridors and having them shout over their shoulder, ‘Jolly good, darling, put me down for table of 6’, can create you giant problems. Make everyone email you with a reply, so if they duck out, you have something to wave furiously in your defence.

Misjudging The Theme

Oh dear, this can go both ways. If your MD and the coven have asked for ‘something a little ‘Rah”, they are going to expect acres of snowy white table cloths and some fabulous installation-art table centres. They are going to be distinctly unamused by your jolly line-dancing gig, complete with sawdust and spittoons. Similarly, if they’ve asked for ‘something different’, they are going to loathe an interminably-coursed banquet in your local hotel, followed by a bop to The Lambada.

Going Over Budget

Don’t do it! Ever! Because then the management will use your ‘frightfully excessive’ past history to cancel any parties ‘in the years of austerity’. Worse, they might decide you’re incompetent and you may as well nail your career map to a door. And throw darts at it.

The X Factor

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, people were unafraid of admitting to the X Factor. In the new century however, we’ve all gone madly  proper, and screech in outrage if even a few flirty remarks go on, let alone a snog in the stationary cupboard. However, do not be fooled. If flighty (but married) Tallulah from Public Relations is found in the embrace of Paul from Legal, both pie-eyed on themed cocktails, you will cop the fall-out. Particularly if Flighty Tallulah’s six-foot rugby-playing husband is there, and noses get mashed.

Remember Your Role

If you pull this off, and create the Best Office Party Ever, your reputation will be made, and another wriggle up the career ladder will be assured. Get it wrong however, and you are inches from sliding disconsolate down the back of a jolly long snake. Your dreams of making the board, will have fallen right off the board.

So, how to do this? Well, by avoiding the biggest mistakes, obviously. But also…

Do not be seen to be enjoying yourself. Your superior and MD want to be able to say ‘very well done, you’ve worked so hard’. They can only do that if you can show them blood sweat and tears. If you manage to work your fingers to the bone,  remember to wince when they shake your hand.


Alternatively, you could visit the Landed Houses website, at, and one of our amazing houses could do it all for you.



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