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There is something about a work-based Christmas party that makes normally level-headed people lose all sense of reality and self-respect. The party always seems like a great idea at the end of November, but the carnage, damage and blushes the morning after leaves bosses wondering why they ever agreed to such insanity in the first place. An office party is fraught with potential for embarrassment, and that can have consequences for a promising career. As long as people go into these events with their eyes wide open, it should be possible to keep out of trouble. Here are the top five office Christmas party disasters, and they should be avoided at all costs.

1. Becoming a YouTube Sensation

There is always one person who decides that the party needs livening up, and that often entails a strenuous dance routine. However, the intoxicating effects of too much festive egg-nog may inflate a person’s ego, and the consequences can be hilarious. While the dancer may believe the routine is one to rival those in the best Michael Jackson videos, the rest of the office may be seeing something completely different. Of course, this is usually not a problem, as it befits an atmosphere of fun and frivolity. However, it could be toe-curling when it attracts one million hits on YouTube!

2. Giving an Impromptu Speech

When the wine flows and the good-will is in plentiful supply, there is always someone who takes the floor in order to deliver an unrehearsed speech. While the sentiment may be noble, the results can often be career-ending, as drink-fuelled bravado has the potential to offend collages and bosses. Well-meaning jokes about the boss’s friendship with his secretary can quickly turn the fun and frivolity into an awkward silence. Many promising careers have been ended by an attempt at office-based humour!

3. Providing a Free Bar

Christmas is a time of the year when demanding bosses want to reward their hard-working employees with some fun, and that invariably means the serving of alcohol at the Christmas party. This is, of course, a noble and well-intended gesture, yet it can be a cocktail for disaster. There is only one thing more dangerous than alcohol at an office party, and that is unlimited alcohol at an office party. Grudges and resentment are firmly suppressed throughout the entire working year; however, fifteen tequilas do have a tendency to bring old problems to the surface. A small disagreement over photocopier toner can quickly lead to a bar-room brawl that the cast-members of Dallas would be proud of!

4. Awarding Bonuses on the Night

The arrival of Christmas will already have everyone very excited; however, the dishing out of bonuses on the night of a Christmas party will send people into a frenzy. A civilised affair could very quickly descend into a display of depravity that would make the parties of Roman Emperors look like jelly and ice cream with playmates. Flush with extra cash, it may not be long before the office junior has been sent out for extra booze. Before hapless bosses can say ‘you’re fired’, strippers will be creating a little extra festive cheer, and the whole office will be transformed into a makeshift casino floor. The devastation left behind will take a week to clean up, but filling the hole in everyone’s pocket will take much longer!

5. Providing Party Food

Thousands of offices throughout the UK will be left looking like a school canteen after a food fight this Christmas. Putting on food for the festivities may sound like a good idea at the time, yet the decision is usually regretted the morning after. Free-flowing wine and spirits have a tendency to make people forget where their mouths are. Moreover, intoxicated workers in high spirits often like to partake in party games, and sausage rolls make excellent basketballs after a few beers!

A Christmas party should be a time of celebration and camaraderie, so it is important that people make sure it doesn’t become a career-threatening debacle.