Charles Dickens, who all but invented the modern Christmas spirit, knew that office parties were best avoided, as might well be expected of English Literature’s most perceptive student of enforced jollity and its malign underbelly.

In A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to the seasonal festivities put on by kindly Mr Fezziwig, the future miser’s first employer. The young man finds himself unable to join wholeheartedly in the fun, prompting the collapse of his romance with Belle, his first love. Scrooge is the fictional avatar of the many real life broken hearts after Christmas parties.