Writer and The Sunday Times Style’s dating columnist Dolly Alderton knows a thing or two about life, and party etiquette. In the first of our three-part festive series she explores the unwritten Christmas party season rules; from what to wear, what to drink and what (not) to say to your boss.
“When it comes to Christmas party season, I never have the advice of one of my favourite writer Dorothy Parker far from my thoughts: ‘Drink and dance and laugh and lie, love the reeling midnight through, for tomorrow we shall die! (But, alas, we never do).'”
“Here lies the problem of parties: a good one always feels like your last night on earth. Who cares about your headache the next day? Have another snowball! Who cares about the Advocaat stain down your dress? It’s just fabric – you can’t take it with you!”
“But it is both mine and womankind’s viper-tongued Fairy Godmother Dorothy’s job to remind you there is always a next day. And not only is there a next day, as early as late November all through until early January, there will probably be another party you’ll have to recover for with grace and a gold pencil skirt.”
“So – here are my Christmas party watch-outs, from one Belle of the Balls-up to another: make friends with your dry cleaners – you’re going to need them to do some quick turnarounds. Three glasses of champagne or unidentifiable fizz is enough to give you a buzz, but four will give you a fuzz. Blot your red lipstick. Eat canapes with napkins. Never begin a sentence to a colleague or boss with: ‘I’ll be honest, when I first met you’ or ‘seeing it’s Christmas, it’s best to tell the truth.’ In fact forget the whole concept of The Truth.”
“Bronze eyeshadow is more flattering than you could ever imagine. Don’t attempt that last high note in All I Want For Christmas in a singalong; stick with the chanty refrain of the Live Aid anthem en masse. Always find someone to give you a piggy back to the bus stop or taxi rank so you don’t get rain on your suede or ponyskin heels – there’s always a tall person keen to be the champion. Buy notebooks, salted caramels and red wine for Secret Santa presents – don’t go for any joke novelty gift that can be grown or comes in a can (a miniature boyfriend, a wife, a baby). It is only a waste of your money and the recipient’s drunken tears.”
“Hang up your party dress when you get home. Take off your make-up – micellar water and a cotton pad takes less than a minute. And a mince pie with a small (small) spoonful of double cream makes a good breakfast for The Belle of The Balls-up. But only until January 2nd.”