… to grin and bear enforced office jollity, misuse of mistletoe and the ritual of Secret Santa. But don’t despair, Amanda Lopez is here with building4jobs.co.uk’s survival guide to Christmas

Christmas Schmistmas … Yes, it’s that “deck the tree with boughs of holly” time of year again, guaranteed to have most of you reaching for the bottle before you can say “Bah humbug”. What the devil’s the matter with you all? Show some Christmas spirit, goddamit, and if you just can’t face it, here’s how to get through the festive season without being labelled a party-pooper …

Decorations Some people are just so keen on making the office look “Christmassy”, don’t be surprised if you arrive one morning to find even the computers swathed in multi-coloured tinsel. Just stay cool and smile sweetly. Sometimes it’s easier to say to these people “Yes, OK, I’ll contribute £1 so that you can buy a small Christmas tree for the office”, to ensure the festiveness will be contained. One word of warning: steer clear of colleagues wearing bauble earrings.

Mistletoe There’s always someone who sneaks a bit of mistletoe into the office and hangs it over a main thoroughfare in order to catch people out. You can, of course, devise detours to facilitate an “unkissed journey”, but sooner or later you will be in a rush, your barriers will be down, and bingo! You’ll have to land a smacker on the most aesthetically challenged colleague in the office. Shut your eyes, count to 10 and get it over with.

Secret Santa A hideous new institution that has permeated most working environments. Essentially, everyone’s name goes into a hat and you pull out the name of a colleague. This means you have to buy them a secret gift, and on a designated day everyone opens their present and merriment abounds. Or not. This can be the ideal time to wreak revenge on that colleague who showed you up mercilessly at the last company meeting, ho-ho.

Contributing to charity You’ve made a mental note of how much all your Christmas presents will cost and have decided that you can spare exactly 10p. Come on, scrooge features, charity begins at home, so if you don’t want to fork out yourself, ask those who are buying you presents to consider Present Aid. This way, the money they would have spent on you goes towards buying an ox in Africa or a turkey in Tajikistan. OK, so you won’t actually get any presents, but think of the kudos … oh, and the karma.