I’m in a quandary

I stopped drinking alcohol on 29/12/2013. It was something I had to do as I felt it was getting out of hand and was damaging my health and, potentially, my marriage.

I’ve not touched a drop since even though there have been temptations.

Christmas is a tough time of year for us. My father passed on Boxing Day 2004 and father in law at New year 2015. We only have my mum left.

Here’s my issue. Work have decided that as we didn’t have a ‘do’ last Christmas, they are doubling the budget this year. However, instead of a meal followed by the usual shenanigans, it’s basically a pub with a buffet.

I always go along for the meal then leave shortly after. I feel a buffet with drinks is not fair in those that don’t just want a piss up. If you don’t go, your part of the budget goes on more booze.

Im not comfortable being in that situation.

Without sounding like a brat, I feel if you have strong feelings about not going there should be some alternative, a small hamper or something.

Am I being unrealistic, should I just suck it up and let it go?

I don’t want to email my boss about this and come across the wrong way.



I don’t drink and understand where you are coming from.

Our work had an onsite “party” recently… basically a 2 hour pi55 up.
Was one soft drink on offer… Had to beg for a lemonade off the barman making Pimm’s.

Unfortunately I think it’s just deemed the norm and that’s what everyone wants.

Alot of people also don’t seem to be able to substitute alcohol for the non drinkers. To the point our director gets everyone a bottle at Xmas and I’m basically told to give it to the wife 🤷

Take a hamper, steal the buffet!


Unrealistic…otherwise everyone would have an opinion (which is fine) and option (which is less so).

I like your stance though and admire your determination.


Move employers :+1:t3:
Let them know they’re not a “diverse or inclusive” employer on your exit interview and on Glassdoor.


Has the tax man signed off on that? 'cos that would really make it annoying.


You talk about budget, but I assume it’s the company’s money and not employees? So anyone who couldn’t make it for whatever reason would also ‘miss out’ …except unlike you, they can’t go along and raid the buffet (and have a soft drink) before they leave.

You could ask the person organising it to make sure there is decent provision for those who are driving, or don’t drink alcohol. If it’s at a pub, they can provide various soft drinks. I personally think that’s being ‘inclusive’.

Or is it a case of you just don’t really want to go? I get that, and even as a drinker I’ve given some Xmas Doos a miss as they sound rubbish, and that’s my choice.


Short term, I agree with @Jorgan that emailing the organise and ask that it’s inclusive to non drinkers.

Long term, raise the idea that not all company socialising should be around alcohol. Its a common theme everywhere I’ve worked.


Great work on abstinence roscoemck & I sometimes wish I had your resolve. (Other times I just wish I had a beer. Like now. It’s complicated.)

Totally get where you are coming from that there should be a decent booze free option. Do you have any co-workers who do not drink for eg religious reasons? Maybe a few voices together would have more impact.

We usually organise a Christmas party for about 50 staff and would be sad if anyone felt they were excluded because of a lack of suitable alcohol-free drinks, or because the atmosphere was not inclusive of them.

My brother suddenly gave up booze one day 10 years ago so a mixed economy is normal for us at family occasions too.


One of my former bosses instigated a “Friday night bar” in the office kitchen every week. We had beer, wine and soft drinks available and anyone could come along and have a drink after 4:30.

It was quite popular initially, but after a while the numbers declined and there was just a core group of 8 or 9 every week (out of about 45 people) and it turned into a bit of a clique. My boss was one of the regulars and it got to the point where the regulars were all ordering in their own preferred beers and the firm was basically for friday night entertainment for a very limited number of people.

I went along occasionally, but I’m not a big drinker, I like to keep work and social life separate and I’d generally rather get my work finished and get home on a friday. TBH the whole thing started to cause a bit of resentment from the people who weren’t participating and weren’t getting anything instead.

My new boss has just announced an end to all alcohol on the premises and a ban on people drinking at lunchtime, even when entertaining clients, all prompted by a couple of incidents that have recently come to light.

An employment lawyer once told me that Christmas was their favourite time of year, because Christmas party season always brought a wave of new work for them as firms dealt with the fallout from staff parties :rofl:


Just to add, I usually go along to the work Christmas party, have maybe a beer or two and then quietly slip away.

Being the only (relatively) sober person at an event like that is never much fun as the evening goes on

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My personal rule is to pack up and leave the second time you think about about leaving. Just slink away whilst it’s still fun.


I don’t drink but still go to the works do and it is funny to watch people start to get drunk but after a while it becomes tedious and then I leave.

My old boss always gave me a bottle of wine at Christmas knowing I didn’t drink and would say give it to someone else as a present :roll_eyes:


This is pretty much me. I have several bottles of various stuff that suppliers have given me over the years. I give them away to family and friends mostly.


When we moved offices last year I found a magnum of champagne and 3 bottles of wine in my cupboard that had been given to me over the years but I’d forgotten about. I hardly drink and Mrs W drinks even less, so it’s pointless taking it home because we’ll never drink the stuff.

I should probably give it away at some point :roll_eyes:


I hate the drinking culture of work xmas do’s in this country. And I enjoy a good glass of wine if two.

I used to organise the parties when we were in france and I always shunted the budget to food and told everyone that we all earned enough, we can buy our own booze. It was perfectly true.

I think short term, agree with the email to the organiser. If you don’t get a response, question whether you really want to go or whether the pub side of things is jumping out at you because you don’t want to go.

Living hell was ending up at an office Christmas party on a narrow boat on the bridgewater canal on an out and back trip out of Manchester. Shit music, shit food and you couldn’t get off! I drank!!!


Yeah we have a champagne cupboard too. Mainly Mrs FT gets given it at Christmas & neither of us like it. They are quite hard to get rid of- seems like there’s only so many occasions where you can pitch up with a bottle of champagne in hand & it not look weird.


Well done on the not drinking. If I were more like you my health and fitness would be in a much better place.

I’ve been on both ends of this. I’ve given up for long periods in the past and then found these hard. Also been the manager organising them, and people complaining that not everyone wants a piss up.

The problem you’ll have by raising it, is those who are organising it almost certainly are doing what they want to do, and so saying I don’t want to do that won’t get you anywhere. Asking for cash alternative is also likely to be met with a two word answer, one of them being off.

As suggested above I think your best option is got stuff your face on the buffet, leave early, and in a few days provide some feedback that social events shouldn’t always revolve around getting shit faced. But be prepared to be ignored.


It’s not unique to the UK. I’ve been to countless office parties in Oz, NZ, Korea and the US and the culture is similar, moreso in a lot of cases. The % of booze to food was insane and it was almost a badge of honour on who could get the most shitfaced.

Strangely, it was nearly always women that went absolutely fucking beserk at Xmas parties but it was always men that ripped into it way too early at regular Friday night drinks. It was the same with team trips away.

I put it down to the fact that the men (in general) got pissed a lot more and the woman were letting a year of frustration loose. It was never pretty.

Our offices used to be in Nth Sydney and central Auckland but when the Sydney office moved to outer bumfuck with no mass transport system, the attendance at Friday night drinks dropped like a stone. Not only because of the driving element but also, unlike Nth Syd, there was nowhere to ‘move on’ to.

Office parties in Seoul were a bit mental but they’d happen for very random reasons and the women would drink but never, ever get out of control. The men were sycophantic officism jerks mostly.

The most conservative office parties I attended were in the US (Cali mostly). I was also in the (glamorous from the outside) position of having to attend a swanky supplier do nearly every week, some at night, some at weekend. Free booze and nice meals were part of regular work after a while.

It’s incredibly interesting watching colleagues get drunk. You get ‘oh now I know why you’re such a fucking twat’ moment. You just need to know when to pull the rip cord and bail.

I work for the grubberment now and even if we were in the office, we wouldn’t be allowed to attend any supplier hospitality. I sure don’t miss it and I doubt I’d like the old days now either. Rather spend time with LO and Mrs FP.


There should. The last Christmas do I was at that was funded provided food only, a nice three course meal at a french restaurant actually - you bought your own drinks.

Those of us that wanted to party went drinking afterwards, on our own tab, those who didn’t didn’t.

I think it’s fair that the company chooses the venue, but unfair that it’s not selected somewhere inclusive - I’m pretty sure there are religious exclusions being made implicitly there too.


The amount Ostrich Marketing dump on Christmas dos is obscene, to the point a few of us refuse to go and now have a meal together on the same night