The Office Christmas Traditions In Britain!

14 December 2022

Time to work on speaking English at work with a fun topic that will stop you from feeling too serious: Office Christmas party traditions! Today you’ll learn about some of the strange and funny traditions native speakers will be talking about during the holidays. And you’ll learn new expressions you can use whenever you practice speaking English during the holidays.

You might be surprised to know how common and popular office Christmas parties are in anglophone countries. If you work in a company with many English-speaking colleagues it can be good to know some of the traditions (and expressions) so you can take part in the conversation.  And if you read down to the end of today’s lesson, you’ll find some discussion questions to help you the next time you are practicing speaking English–with a language partner, or a conversation club.

What are some of the funny, strange and surprising office Christmas traditions you’ll need to know about? Read on and find out!

#1. Office Christmas tradition : The ugly jumper! 🎄

In your culture, is it normal to have certain times of the year when you don’t take yourself too seriously? Where you might act silly and laugh or dress more casually than usual? 

One example is the ‘ugly Christmas jumper’ which people sometimes wear just for fun…or to raise money for charity.

In fact, there is a lot of popular humour about the Office Christmas Party …and how not taking yourself too seriously can go too far.  

But don’t be afraid, you don’t have to dress in a ridiculous sweater, snowman suit, or hat for a holiday party if you don’t want to.

#2. Office Christmas tradition: Christmas music…

You probably can’t get through the holiday season without hearing LOTS of Christmas music. It’s very possible that your office Christmas party will have music playing. Here’s a new take on an old tradition (or a new way of doing it): 

Some teams create a holiday playlist together. If you participate, you can build team spirit AND get to choose the list of songs you’ll listen to at your party.

#3. Office Christmas tradition: Secret Santa Swap!

This one is more popular in US offices and it’s a gift-giving games like Secret Santa.  

Secret Santa is pretty simple. You write everyone’s name on a piece of paper and put it in a bag. 

Then each person in the office picks a slip of paper–and gets a person to give a present to. In secret! 

On the day of the party, everyone brings a present, and everyone gets a present. 

It’s fun to guess who gave each present.

#4. Office Christmas tradition: Do something for Charity

In the UK people do a lot of activities for their local charities and the Christmas season is no different. This one is loosely associated with Boxing Day which falls on 26th December, the day after Christmas day.

Your team could create or participate in a charity drive–that means they might do something fun, as a team, that also earns money for a charity. It could be something simple like making gift baskets for a homeless shelter, or more complex like a competition, or joining a cultural event.

#5. Questions for your speaking practice in English:  office Christmas traditions in English–your turn:

Now it’s time for a few questions that will help you practice speaking English on this topic. You could either record yourself after the lesson and see how you do, or use these questions to talk to a friend in English–or in your English conversation group. Ready?

When is the last time you took yourself less seriously at work or had a party with people you work with?

Have you and your team ever held a charity drive? What was it like?

What is the strangest Christmas office party tradition you learned about today?

And, just for fun…

Would you wear an ugly Christmas sweater to work or to a party? Would you do it for fun? What about for charity? 

Improve your English in the comments below.

The best way to become more confident using Business English is to practice!  If you learned something from this post, then subscribe to English BiteSize right now.


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