The build up to Christmas has almost reached its agonising conclusion.
Since November, when the first few flinching bars of Slade seeped from the radio, we’ve crawled through endless reels of TV adverts and Christmas lights.
It’s nearly over, though; the bonus has been frittered on tat for loathed relatives, the out-of-office message is on, and you’ve successfully navigated the Christmas party without making a complete trollop of yourself.
But though you’ve been on notice for the best part of a month, it can be tricky switching off.
Office culture is all-consuming, and fosters odd habits – from the people who meal-prep to the weirdos who travel to work in special trainers.
Leaving all that behind can be a wrench, but it’s essential if you are going to relax and reconnect with those people who ostensibly make up your family.
To that end, it’s important to keep jargon to a minimum. “Action that’, synergy, diversify, future-proof” and other such utterances are verboten.
If you’re unsure, picture, in your mind’s eye, a Silicon Valley type using the word in a sentence. Does it make you want to vomit? If so, leave it out.
Office talk is as nauseating as using the word “holibobs”. It makes me want to commit war crimes – so imagine what it’s going to do to your alcohol-hazed Uncle Bertie.
Food fads are all the rage in London offices. We’ve seen the tuppaware boxes in the fridges, the protein shakes, and the girl in accounts with a penchant for nuts.
We’ve done the thing of discussing whether veganism is the future, or if fasting will make you live forever. We know that fewer and fewer people drink. But Christmas has no respect for the office, or your diet.
There’s enough in your family’s fridge to feed Lichtenstein. And it is your duty to eat it. You can skip the meat if you like, but don’t talk down to those who don’t. There’s no more surefire way to irritate your grandad.
And, just so you know, Yorkshire pudding has no place in a Christmas dinner. It’s a hill I’m willing to die on.
While we’re on the subject of things that will anger elderly relations, put your phone away. Not just at the table, which you ought to do anyway, you dragged-up oik. Turn it off and sack it in the sock draw of your childhood bedroom.
No one is going to email you, and if your boss does, ask yourself, is someone who sends you demands at this time of year really happy? No. They’re a psycho. They’re the sort of person who will eat their own young in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Perhaps it isn’t the alcohol talking: maybe it really is time to quit your job to be a marine biologist. Your phone won’t work underwater either, so take it as a sign.
And, of course, there’s the B word. We almost made our way through a whole article without mentioning it, but it’s here. Don’t do it. Don’t mention it. Don’t hint at it. Don’t respond to the provocations. Talk about anything else. Cousin Georgie’s coke habit. Discrepancies in Nan’s will. Perhaps now is the time to unleash your closeted homosexuality. Hell, you even get a pass on office jargon.
Just please, for the love of sweet baby Jesus, don’t mention Brexit. Christ was born on Christmas to die for our sins. Let’s not make it harder for him.