Christmas parties are one of the great joys of Christmas. A chance to let your hair down, have a drink and a dance with your friends, and then wake up with an unbelievable hangover.
It shouldn't surprise you that December is pretty cold in London. The average minimum temperature is 4 degrees centigrade, but the coldest nights can drop to freezing. We recommend that you take a warm coat and a pair of sensible shoes, because on the way home you're going to wish you hadn't decided to save £1 at the cloakroom by not bringing them.
Public transport runs as normal in the run up to Christmas (although there are no tubes and buses on xmas Day and a Sunday service on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day). That means the last Central line train runs through Oxford Circus around 12:30am, and the first train around 6am the following morning - useful if you're planning a really big night out.
The clearly named 'Night Buses' run all night, and Trafalgar Square is a good place to head if you're unsure which route your bus needs to take. However, always check with Transport for London just in case of changes. It can be tempting to jump into a minicab, but for safety we recommend that you either book one, or use a black cab.
If you're planning on a very late night, you might want to consider booking a hotel room. It can take a lot of the worry out of getting home in the cold, and also give you somewhere nearby to change your clothes before the party. Obviously this is not the cheapest option, but once you start including the cost of late night taxis vs using your Oyster card the next day, it may not be as much as you think.
If you're at an office Christmas party, don't forget that this is a work environment in disguise. Anything you do around your colleagues is just as likely to reach the ears (or eyes) of your boss, or your bosses boss. Just because everyone is having fun, and the alcohol is flowing, doesn't mean that it's ok to do the same things you might at a non-work christmas party.
When the next promotion comes around you need your boss to be thinking that you're a professional, not a drunk who can't keep their clothes on. Read one of our guest blogs for more on this subject!
If you're in charge of an office xmas party in London, the good news is that the are many options. There are a growing number of venues that are dressed for the Christmas season - some are just festively themed, but others might include a Secret Agent, Hollywood or Arabian Nights theme. These are generally available at a fixed price-per-head rate, and can be hired exclusively, or jointly with another company. A cheap party is going to start from around £35-£40 (including 3 course meal and perhaps half a bottle of wine), and rise to £150 per guest for a spectacular location, unlimited drinks and first class service. There are several Christmas event companies that can help you with this.
Alternatively you can 'go it alone' and find your own venue, whether that be in a restaurant, pub or club. Obviously if you just book a few tables in a restaurant you will be quite restricted, but if you hired a private room you will have much greater freedom to dress the environment, choose the music and even bring in your own entertainment.
A Long Way From California
I’ve grown up my entire life celebrating Christmas morning in Southern California. My first Christmas in England was definitely an eye opener.
by Beverly Franklin-Atkinson
see all xmas blog posts
If you're interested in seeing some sport at Christmas in London, Boxing Day (26th December) always has Premiership and League football games - the biggest London clubs are Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and West Ham United, but there are many others in the lower divisions where ticket prices will be less.