‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ Andy Williams may have exclaimed. But the potential for gross error is also at its optimum. Follow these tips to walk the fine line between bore and lunatic, and ensure you don’t end up being your company’s jingle bell-end.

1) Let’s start with some pre-planning: book the next day off work if it’s not a weekend. ‘But I’d prefer not to waste a day of my precious holiday with a work party-induced hangover’, you may say. But go into work and you will wish, beyond anything in the entire world, that you were not there, shuffling paper and watching the clock tick backwards in a paranoid, sweaty mess.

2) Think, in advance, of bad stuff that could happen on the night. Then, when the day has arrived, and before the first sweet drop of festive juice touches your eager lips, take yourself off to the bathroom. Make sure nobody else is there. Look deep into the mirror. Then verbalise what you will NOT do (snog boss, punch boss, resign) and repeat it to yourself, out loud, for at least three minutes.

3) No novelty ties. No Christmas jumper. Flash of cleavage = it’s Christmas. Nipples half-exposed = popular for the night: unpromotable thereafter. Keep those gifts wrapped.

4) Go heavy on Secret Santa. This is your chance. It’s SECRET. So all guns blazing.

5) Don’t talk about Secret Santa. Chuck your gift in the sack, open the one that’s given you. Smile. Forget about the whole thing. Losers dwell on Secret Santa and try to work out who bought what for whom.

6) Don’t eat a chocolate-based dessert. Go for a lighter one (citrus-based, if available). This will freshen you up and rejuvenate your drinking capabilities.

7) Don’t show off on the dance floor. People have video phones nowadays.

8) Stay clothed, no matter what temptation may present itself.

9) Keep your wallet/purse in your pocket. Of course show some mild caution (see 7, 8 & 10). But remember: they’re not giving you a pay rise. You ain’t getting a bonus. This is your chance to take what’s rightly yours.

10) No matter how late you stay out, make sure you are not last man standing. You don’t want to be the person that everyone mentions ‘still being there’ when they left.

Party on.