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Navigating the Awkward Moments of the Work Christmas Party

Above: Some famous fictional office workers enjoy their Christmas party.

We have reached that wonderful time of the year. The season when the nation’s gainfully employed buy an ugly festive jumper from Primark and try (not) to make a total embarrassment of themselves at the work Christmas party.

It’s something of a British tradition; and like many British traditions, it tends to involve a lot of alcohol and things wrapped in bacon.

So how do you handle this seasonal social situation if you’re a Muslim? Will you be shunned by your workmates for shying away from shots? Will you accidentally convert to Christianity?

The truth is, no. Even so, while the work Christmas party is about as concerned with religion as an abandoned couch, you won’t be judged for a no-show if it doesn’t feel right.

But if you do attend, we thought we’d arm you with the deets you need to navigate through the awks moments you might encounter. Just remember: In the end, everyone’s there to have fun and complain about their boss – and you can do that no matter who you are.

The Booze

Whenever we bring up our nation’s booze-y reputation on Ummahsonic (this happened a lot when we were prepping you guys for Freshers Week), we try to remember a recent study that found a quarter of young adults in the UK don’t drink at all.

These days, being teetotal is halal and cool. OK, that might not mean 25% of your office will be sober in the Uber home from the party, but it does mean you won’t be the only one drinking a decidedly un-spiked punch.

The Christmas Jumpers

This year, we’ve seen Christmas jumpers with, among other secular delights, Big Shaq on them. That means if you’re expected to wear one, we guarantee you can find one that doesn’t have much to do with Christmas at all.

There’s usually a charity element to it, too, which we can all get behind.

The Food

Will there be halal options at your work Christmas do? We simply cannot say. Granted, it is 2017 and you’re there five days a week so you’d figure there would be, but still.

All we’ll say is this: any nibbles that have been sitting out in a room full of sweaty bodies dancing to cheesy Christmas tracks should probably be avoided, whether they’re halal, not halal; bacon-wrapped, not bacon-wrapped…you get the idea.

And remember, there is always the veggie options. Just be sure to ask if there’s any secret bacon in them…

The Secret Santa

If you don’t really vibe with Secret Santa but still want to take part, just view it as an excuse to do something nice for a random colleague. If you’re not comfortable with it at all, be like “where was my present during Eid, bro?” and you can all just laugh it off.

The Colleagues

A classic Christmas party tip is ‘avoid your boss’. However, this was obviously coined under the assumption that the person receiving it plans to be very drunk. Having said that, avoiding your boss is still a good idea even if you don’t drink because A) they’re your boss and B) there’s a chance they might be very drunk – a scenario that might expose you to classified information HR don’t want you to know about and/or just anecdotes you couldn’t care less about.

Your boss aside (well, maybe your boss, too), the work Christmas party is a great chance to laugh it up with your colleagues and speak to them about stuff besides work. You know, like stuff they enjoy, hobbies they do at the weekend, or topics they have an interest in. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become lifelong mates and a decade from now you’ll both invent an app that ushers in world peace and makes you billionaires.

Or maybe not. Either way, you can both enjoy a few days off over the festive season, no matter how you behaved at the Christmas party.

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