Tis the season for office parties, as one look in clothes shop windows will reveal; they’re awash with pictures of elegantly-dressed men and women, holding champagne flutes, and invariably laughing at something.

Maybe I’ve just led a sheltered life, but that’s not my experience of Christmas Parties at all – the work ones tend to be in pubs or restaurants, or in odd places where the environment’s more a hindrance than a novelty (case in point: an aquarium where the dancing took place in the foyer, utterly fogging the glass doors with sweat-condensation; ah, how festively romantic), and the ones held by friends (or friends of friends) tend to be more relaxed ones where you can wear anything you want (reindeer sweaters for example), because well, you know, it’s a party and it’s about having fun and not conforming to a particular dress code.

I don’t wanna sound cynical or anything, but is it possible that the clothes shop displays are kind of misleading, and intended to make people feel a need to buy into something which isn’t really happening ?