Christmas parties come in all shapes and sizes. The big bash, the intimate gathering, the good old fashioned knees up and, of course, the office party. If you’re a party person there’s no better time of year than the festive season – each and every sequinned top, Santa hat, cocktail and soggy cocktail sausage brings with it an extra helping of seasonal cheer, and every party provides the opportunity to spread your festive magic.
If the prospect of a Christmas party fills you with dread, however, fear not. Psychologist Joanna Cannon, writer of The Trouble With Goats And Sheep which is out in paperback on Boxing Day, has some top tips to guide you through the festive season. She says:
- Avoid the crystal ball. Rather than thinking what might go wrong at the party, spend the time beforehand doing something you enjoy to take your mind off things. Don’t think ‘I’ll say something ridiculous’ or you’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy
- Calm your inner tiger. Our bodies are clever at responding to an emergency and, while this might be vital when escaping from a tiger, it can be unhelpful at a drinks party, says Cannon. If you feel anxious, concentrate on your surroundings and the person you’re engaging with
- Find a pet subject. Everyone has a pet subject, and they’ll mention it very early on. It might be their job, their pet or children, and if you can spot it early on, your small talk nightmares are over. Ask others about their pet subjects and you’ll never be stuck for conversation
- Avoid the party bore. There’s safety in numbers. If in doubt, join a group of people. It’s much easier to chip in if you’re part of a crowd
- Go easy on the heels. Wear something you feel good in. Poor self-esteem and social anxiety are best buddies
- Focus on good times. Never, ever do a post-mortem examination. Move on, no regrets
- Face your fear. Always ask yourself: ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ And if it did happen, would it really be that dreadful?
Futon Company says: There’s lots to be said for attending a great Christmas party but if you’re feeling super cosy at home and really can’t face the thought of going out, there are plenty of options. You could watch ‘The Office Christmas Special’ or ‘Elf’ or, if you’re feeling sociable, why not have a party of your own? To get you in the mood, we have plenty of goodies that can make even the smallest places into party-ready spaces…