Cathy Gowdie

Many packages include a glass of sparkling wine.
Many afternoon tea packages include a glass of sparkling wine. Photo: Quentin Jones

I have learnt that this year's work Christmas party is going to be a high tea. Is this the coming of the apocalypse? More importantly, what am I going to drink?

Hemlock, perhaps? Come on, my good man, pull yourself together. You might have seen this coming when the memo lobbed into your inbox pleading for volunteers to join the Christmas party committee, but you ignored it and got on with playing Minesweeper. That's why the whole paar-tay thang was left in the hands of the ladies in your office - the same ones who organised a cake and card for your birthday - and well, here we are.

I have already used up this year's allocated rant about why what's being called high tea is actually afternoon tea, so I will not repeat it. Instead, I have ventured, on your behalf, into the pink and sparkly world of those enterprising businesses offering office party high teas and I have good news: assuming your company policy permits it, there will be booze.

The bad news is that it will probably be anonymous sparkling and budget sauvignon blanc, unless your workplace and/or workmates are coughing up the extra for a "luxury" package with champagne and a swimming pool of gin.

You might feel the urge to drink the aforementioned swimming pool, if the organisers have gone the extra mile and hired the topless waiters offered by one high-tea caterer "for eye candy".

Count yourself lucky to be having an office party at all. Think of all the wage slaves trudging their way towards the Christmas break, sustained only by takeaway lattes and desperation, whose workplace celebration will comprise little more than a banana muffin and a lecture about cost pressures. At least you'll get ribbon sandwiches, a Kris Kringle and the chance to witness what happens when people's blood-sugar and blood-alcohol levels soar simultaneously. You will then understand why some companies in the United States have banned employees from taking their phones to Christmas parties.

Keep yourself nice, and try not to get cupcake crumbs in your beard.