Christmas party season: Tips and advice

Christmas party season is well and truly upon us, and you may find yourself receiving not just an invite to your own office party, but clients, your spouses and wider networks’, too.

But if this thought strikes you with a case of the nerves - fear not, as we’ve compiled some of the top tips to see you through your transition from desk-dweller to social butterfly with ease.

First up, if you’re the organiser of your Christmas party, do take advantage of HMRC’s £150 per person annual tax and NIC-free entertaining allowance that...


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JCresswellTax's picture

Milk or a Banana?    1 thanks

JCresswellTax | | Permalink











JCresswellTax's picture

Seriously?    2 thanks

JCresswellTax | | Permalink




Is this serious?

Once again, milk or a banana? Seriously?

Red Leader's picture

hey come on JC!    7 thanks

Red Leader | | Permalink

The old milk or a banana stomach-lining trick does help. And keeping off the Jaeger bombs, of course.

Kent accountant's picture

Jaeger bombs

Kent accountant | | Permalink

seemed like a good idea at the time :(

SteveOH's picture

It's milk AND a banana for me

SteveOH | | Permalink

I'm not taking any chances, an' no mistake.

And what's a Jaegar bomb when it's at home? I must be getting old, although it does sound fun :)

Kent accountant's picture

@SteveOH    3 thanks

Kent accountant | | Permalink

For us Oldskool party animals think depth charge.

Jaeger bombs are what the youngsters drink and think its never been done before...

...My god listen to me  - I do sound old...

Party????    2 thanks

Eddie2000 | | Permalink

Whats a Christmas party??? Been 6 years+ since we last had one....

Times is tough!!!!

Paul Cleverley's picture

Merry Christmas

Paul Cleverley | | Permalink

From Santa and his ho ho ho's.

Flash Gordon's picture

The ideal party    3 thanks

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

My ideal party is the sort where I'm at home, with no human company. No queues for the mince pies, the booze is free, no need for a taxi, no embarrassing photos, no regretting those comments that you thought were funny but that on reflection probably add to why everyone thinks you're a bit odd, no forced conversation that reinforces the fact that you're like a fish out of water at social events, no standing in the corner wondering how you're going to manage forced conversation to pass the time (did I mention that 30 seconds feels like an eternity). I really don't like parties. I have a curry tonight with a couple of friends and a lunch tomorrow with one friend (and I know I'll enjoy both once I'm there), but I'm so looking forward to tomorrow afternoon when I can shut the door on the world and hibernate till 2014! 

You can't beat a quiet night in with a cup of tea :)

FUN TIME!!!    1 thanks

Eyo | | Permalink

Is it 'milk and banana' OR 'milk or banana'? Just curious....

Rachael_Power's picture

Just a thought.    2 thanks

Rachael_Power | | Permalink

How about a banana milkshake?

Have fun and be yourself

sarah douglas | | Permalink

I love a good party, but I am not interested in all that nonsense and rubbish about making sure the right people see you.

 I find people are human and will just get on, if you are all talking and having a laugh.  The top bosses or important people who are nice are not interested in all that either. They are wanting to chill out as well.  You will probably find they will come towards you at the bar or something like that ,and you end up just having a great chat.  I admit I am Irish and the minute someone hears an accent someone always chats.

I do know one thing though when I walk into a room that no one in the room is more important then anyone else and I am not more important then them.  So I really could not careless who does what  or how high the role is everyone deserves the same time and respect.

In fact when someone is doing that they always come across as extremely rude as they are waiting for the next target of important people to meet . That then gives the impression their bored with the person they are talking to no matter how polite it is done.  I must admit I am always glad when those type of people leave a party as that is when the proper party starts. I had three this year and another one tonight which I am looking forward to.

I was at one party last year where we had milk in the whiskey, it did work but when it is at that stage.  A nice glass bottle of Irn bru the next day will get you going. 

At that time of night get rid of social media types and face bookers and what happens at  party stays at the party.


christmas party

StevieG | | Permalink

I presume therefore sole shareholder/director and spouse can spend £150 each on christmas party backed up by relevant vouchers?

Re Sarah Douglas - please, please, please...

MJShone | | Permalink

...don't adulterate whisky (or even whiskey - or even bourbon) with milk. Or banana for that matter.

okay fair enough

sarah douglas | | Permalink

But it was a bit like having a Baileys without the chocolate and we were all having a good laugh.  I have not tried Whiskey with banana but it could be interesting.

johnjenkins's picture


johnjenkins | | Permalink

Pint of milk an hour before booze time and a pint of water before bed time. In between is just a dozy haze until you get that dreaded tex picture of you smooching with the blowup doll that billy nomates bought to the do.

lme's picture

what does "extends into february" mean?

lme | | Permalink

I thought this was for an annual party at any time of the year (usually Christmas).


please can anyone explain the reference to february



and I might try a whole bunch of bananas and a gallon of milk to be on the safe side...



mrme89's picture


mrme89 | | Permalink

Rachael_Power wrote:

How about a banana milkshake?


Nothing like a greasy burger and strawberry milkshake from McDonalds to cure the hangover :)

johnjenkins's picture

Or a hare

johnjenkins | | Permalink

of the dog. Trouble is that always sets me off again hic.

sole trader party

geraldw | | Permalink

As a sole trader who employs his wife, can I claim £150 for her and her spouse ?

Lisa_Mandy's picture

Mine is tonight!

Lisa_Mandy | | Permalink

Plan of action:

1.  Eat a decent lunch (DONE).

2.  Pick one drink and stick to it - dodging the champagne on arrival and the nasty cheap wine on the tables.  I'll put my hand in my pocket for some vodka tonics and stay away from the jaegerbombs (HA - saying that now, but will almost certainly change my mind and start driving the party bus myself at 10.30pm).

3.  Get the meeting and greeting and schmoozing done by 8pm.

4.  Two paracetemol and a litre of water before I go to bed.

5.  Greasy fry up and two cups of builders tea at the caff down the road around 10am tomorrow.

6.  Go finish the Christmas shopping.

dialm4accounts's picture

Keep off the booze, it's more fun!    2 thanks

dialm4accounts | | Permalink

I'm near-teetotal - I found in my student days that drinking just made me sleepy and I enjoy myself more if I stick to the sparkling mineral water / lime juice and lemonade / elderflower cordial :)

Plus the fact it's great fun to tease bleary-eyed colleagues the following morning, because they can't remember what they said / did - but I can!!!




Christmas Party    5 thanks

Shay Daly | | Permalink

Parties are for fun not starchy affairs where you and your colleagues are being measured.If you don't want to enjoy the evening and feel that you should be on promotion watch,stay home you sad jerk.

@shay    3 thanks

sarah douglas | | Permalink

That is what I was trying to but you said in 3 lines better.  If you do not want to be there or only going to promote  then stay at home.  Your dead right there are supposed to be fun and the organiser puts a lot of work in.  I always enjoy myself anyway. 

Kent accountant's picture


Kent accountant | | Permalink

Hmmm, as mine is a family business maybe I could get away with recovering £150 a head on "business Christmas  party" which happens to be on the 25th??

Even better next year when Miss KA will be 13 and officially on the payroll.


Ba Humbug!

petersaxton's picture


petersaxton | | Permalink

I went to a Christmas works do and the Finance Director was very generous with buying drinks all over the place. When I bought a round of drinks, somebody joked about claiming it as a tax deductible expense - I was self employed - but I pointed out that's not possible!

A few days later I saw that the FD had claimed all the drinks he bought on his expenses!

annual parties

alan lowrey | | Permalink

HMRC's Employment Income Manual (EIM 21691) does not specify that the event must be a Christmas party nor does it make any reference to "extending into February".

In fact, the Manual suggests that the event can be something such as a Christmas party or a summer barbecue. It goes on to say that there is no need for the number of events to be limited to one per year as long as the inclusive value of the benefit per employee (and spouse or partner) does not exceed £150.


Steve Kesby's picture

Extends into February    1 thanks

Steve Kesby | | Permalink

I imagine Rachael's "extends into February" point is a reference to the Tax Return filing deadline, as well as acknowledging the point that Alan makes.

At a firm I used to work for we had both a firm-wide Christmas party and then the head of each department also took their department out for dinner.

In the Tax department, because of the 31st January deadline, we used to have our Christmas lunch in February, and we used to go to Barcelona for it á la EasyJet.

nodhedz's picture


nodhedz | | Permalink