Lock up your sons and daughters, this weekend is this newspaper’s Christmas office night out.
Truth be told, there’s not really much need to lock anything up, except maybe your liquor, as the current staff are a pretty sensible bunch and aside from one or two who might drink copious amounts of alcohol, there’s unlikely to be any real shenanigans.
I must admit I say that with a tone of regret as I’ve heard many an elaborate tale (many of which seem to get embellished with each telling) about some of the historic wild nights out which ended in many pickles, scrapes and nights sleeping on the office floor.
It seems in the past, a Christmas night out even occasionally resulted in a broken leg or arm caused by dangerous dancing.
Over my working years, there’s been plenty of leaving dos and nights out with lots of fun and laughs and friendships have been cemented which have lasted years after people have left for pastures new.
I have noticed a pattern emerging though as time has passed and dare I say it, my colleagues seem to getting far more sensible since the more outrageous ones have flown the nest.
Gone are the days when some co-workers threw caution to the wind even when they were supposed to be working the following morning and partied all night.
On one particular night out, a colleague who was working the weekend shift told everyone loudly at the start of the night out that he wasn’t going to be drinking much and wasn’t stopping out late.
But he and a fellow drinker ended up not getting to bed until about 5am after he decided to crash on his colleague’s sofa – only to discover the pair of them were locked out.
I have to confess this may have been a teensy bit my fault.
In a sudden act of chivalry, the lad whose home it was had decided to give me his jacket earlier in the night when we were all sitting in a beer garden.
When I decided to call it a night and get a taxi home, I tried to return the jacket, but my colleague insisted I keep it on saying: “I don’t need it, just give it to me at work some time.”
Turns out, he may not have needed his jacket, but he did need his house keys that were in his pocket.
He ended up making himself unpopular with his neighbours by banging on their door at 5am as luckily he’d had the foresight to give them a spare key.
When the pair of them finally got in, the one who was working managed to snatch a couple of hours sleep before walking to work – and by all accounts he even managed to put in a good day’s graft.
Nowadays, any office nights out usually sees some people much younger than me sloping off home early after yawning and saying they like going to bed early.
And most of the time, they are either driving so not drinking or on some sort of health kick which forbids them from eating or drinking anything nice or are trying to save money so sip on a soft drink all night.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t work with a boring bunch.
But people do seem to have become either more conscientious, careful, thrifty and healthy… or maybe they’re just plain scared of the curse of office Christmas parties.
The problem with office parties is you still have to go to work on Monday – and face the consequences if things went horribly wrong and you ended up saying or doing something you regret.
No one wants to end up with a lawsuit because they insulted their boss or face the person they tried to get amorous with only to discover their love was definitely unrequited.
Other office nights out faux pas include being sick, crying, having a wardrobe malfunction and cheating on a significant other.
One thing to avoid on a work night out is talking endlessly about work.
Entertaining work-related stories are fine but serious conversations about projects and plans is a definite no-no and will have you labelled as a work-talk-bore.
Only the other night on a works do, I did chuckle to myself as I heard one group of colleagues discussing how the world is suddenly full of so many paedophiles.
Just the sort of festive chat everyone wants to hear!