The Christmas Party is the work event of the year. The whole shebang. The grand occasion. The big shindig. The time when everyone in the office can let their hair down. We literally can't think of anymore similes to describe it. But it's pretty big. It doesn't matter what happens at the Christmas word do, everyone is going to talk about it for the rest of the year.
So you might think we're mad for proposing the idea that it should most definitely happen in January rather than December. After all, December is when Christmas happens, right? The Bible hasn't been rewritten recently, has it?
Stick with us though - here are five - count them! FIVE! - reasons why you are better off having your Christmas work do in January.
1. Everyone is busy in December
Between buying presents, stringing up the kids, hiding everything from the Christmas decorations, wrapping, cooking, taking out new credit cards, researching original festive recipes, syncing all your Christmas tunes to your iPod and making sure nobody is left out on the big day, December is a pretty hectic time of the year.
This is the month when everyone comes home - you're likely to have friends and family get in touch with you that don't usually bother until the festive season rolls around. You don't want to turn down the opportunity for a drink with them because of your work party, do you? Go on, give yourself and your colleagues one less thing to worry about.
By contrast, the only appointment you're likely to have in your January calendar is gym, and that's only if you've been ambitious with your New Year's resolution.
2. Everyone is feeling a bit deflated
With all the binge spending in December, you pretty much feel like putting a padlock on your wallet or purse. That means no unnecessary spending, which is likely to put a serious dent in your social life, unless you're like this writer who doesn't earn enough anyway to have much of one.
With that in mind, a free party with the work colleagues is exactly what you need in January - it gives you something to look forward to and, if your organisation is sensible, you won't have to spend a penny on booze. Which leads us to…
3. You'll get a better deal
December is a pretty busy time of the year for Christmas parties and, if you want to have your event close to the big day or a weekend, you're likely to pay through the nose and get little in return.
However, all of those organisations that specialise in corporate travel, work parties and that sort of thing have very little to do during January. So they sit around twiddling their thumbs and occasionally offering HUGE discounts for you to take advantage of. So take advantage of them already!
4. You get extra time to organise everything
Like we said before, December is busy for everyone. How many times did you think "God I could really do with another month to sort all of this out…" the last time you organised a Christmas party during the run-up to the big day? Well, your wish has been granted. Retrospectively, at least. That's no reason for you to try and push it back to February when your procrastination gets you into trouble next year, though.
5. It doesn't have to be a Christmas party
Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends, not for being sat around a table with colleagues, many of which you might barely know. Watching Pauline from accounts and Brian from marketing hitting it off over a glass of wine might not be everyone's idea of a good way of finishing the year.
However, by branding your shindig a New Year party, you're completely changing the focus. You can use it as an opportunity to say, "Right - we're going to have the best year ever!", encouraging people to look towards the light of the future rather than the dwindling events of the past. It's a bit meta, but we think it's the sort of thing Richard Branson might say.