I had no choice but to organise the firm’s annual community affairs Christmas party, but I can’t explain why I volunteered to also organise my department’s Christmas event, or why I’ve taken it upon myself to boss everybody regarding our Christmas lunch. Am I a glutton for punishment?
Anyway, the department’s Christmas event took place last night and was a great success. We have an evening function every Christmas and every summer, and it’s always the same: a three course dinner at a nice restaurant. That’s all very well and good, but it’s a bit dull after a while and it tends to mean that you can only talk to the same two people all night. Past dinners have been livened up slightly by holding a quiz, but the questions are set by the partner responsible for our department and his tastes are slightly more intellectual than I would prefer: at the summer dinner, questions included ‘name all the double land-locked countries in the world’ and ‘what where the first five countries to give women the vote’. Rock on.
Determined to do something different, I formed a small party committee and we designed an event that was as far from a semi-formal dinner as we could manage: a children’s party, with balloons, streamers, party bags, games and ridiculous dancing. It was always a bit of a risk, because it was the kind of thing that would only work well if everybody got into the spirit of it, but I’m pleased to report that it was a stonking good night. In total, 25 of us drank a lot, played musical chairs (very competitive – the partner was sent flying at one point), had a distinctly low-brow quiz about childhood music and TV (my team won because we were awesome), ate canapes and danced like idiots.
I did drink too much, though. It was one of those nights where you feel fine in the bar, but realise that you’re hammered as soon as you leave the building. I nearly fell asleep in the taxi to the station and it was only through a herculean effort that I avoided nodding off on the train and waking up in the middle of Norfolk at midnight (my biggest commuting fear). There were no taxis at my home station, so I had to traipse through the frosty streets for ten minutes – I didn’t want to wake up Tristan on such a cold night.
This morning I have felt fairly rough, but I think the lack of sleep has been my biggest problem. I did have my failsafe hangover breakfast, though, and that helped to sort me out a bit. You should try it if you’re ever hungover: it’s a bacon sandwich on white bread with butter; a banana; and some freshly-squeezed orange juice. And a couple of headache tablets. I don’t know why that particular combination of food and drink works, but I have tested it many times over the years and it always makes me feel better than anything else.
I think today’s hangover is the worst one I’ve suffered since the great Wine Tasting Debacle of 2006: the only time that I have had to call in sick because of a hangover.
The final event on the list is the Christmas lunch, which takes place in our staff restaurant next Monday. The restaurant serves the lunch for a week and each departments books its own table. In the past we’ve done Secret Santa and given each other fairly mundane presents, but we’re all a bit bored with it (and skint, after a deluge of birthdays, weddings and new babies recently), so I’ve decided to shake things up a bit. Instead of buying stuff, we are having a re-gifting Santa sack. Each person will contribute a wrapped present and they will be distributed at random. The twist is that no money is to be spent: everybody must find the present in their own house and wrap it with whatever they have lying around. I’m sure that everybody, like me, has books they’ve bought and never read, things they’ve been given and never used, or items they bought themselves and have barely touched. I reckon that we will end up with some decent loot.