Ah, the traditional office Christmas party — an event that can be one of the highlights or one of the lowlights of the year, depending on how much fun your colleagues are to be around, how well you can handle your drink, and whether or not the company is picking up the tab.
Whether you're looking forward to or dreading this year's get-together, we're got some tech that can help — apps and gadgets to pack ahead of time so you're prepared for every eventuality, and don't feel embarrassed to show your face the Monday after the do.
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- With helpful present purchasing advise for every budget, including under £50
- And right up to bigger ticket gifts like these under £250
1. Instax Mini 9 Camera
You'll probably want some snaps to remember the occasion by, but sharing photos around email or social media can be a chore.
The Instax Mini 9 will print out a hard copy for you right after you've snapped the picture, so you can give out mementos to your colleagues. Don't forget to buy some film as well and declare yourself the office party photographer.
Uber, if you're not already signed up for it, is the on-demand taxi app that calls you a cab and gets you home with just a few taps on your phone's screen - it's particularly good for getting home after a few drinks.
As well as making the whole process of finding a taxi much more convenient, you can track your vehicle, pay without cash, and leave a tip too.
3. Nintendo Switch
Not suitable for every Christmas party, but if people are milling about around the office with tinsel in their hair then a quick blast of mobile gaming might help you avoid some stilted small talk with your colleagues.
Of course one of the Switch's main selling points is the easy multiplayer gaming — see if anyone can bring along some extra controllers.
4. Jeopardy! World Tour
If you don't have a Switch available, then load Jeopardy! World Tour on your phone and test your work colleagues on their general knowledge — it beats awkward conversations about stock control and the state of the office kitchen anyway.
There are thousands of categories to pick from and unlike a lot of similar apps, it doesn't overwhelm you with ads.
5. iDance Sing Cube Karaoke System
The office Christmas party often means karaoke, and if you're not meeting at a venue that has the necessary facilities, then the iDance Sing Cube Karaoke System will sort you out. It connects via Bluetooth to the device of your choice, so you'll need to queue up a music app with the relevant tunes, but it does everything else - including putting on a light show.
6. One You Drinks Tracker
As soon as you lose track of how many drinks you've had, the night can take a turn for the worse, but One You Drinks Tracker is a simple way of preventing that from happening.
Selecting drinks through the app is easy, and you can then quickly see how much money you've spent and how many units you've consumed, so you know when to call it a night.
7. Kingston 32GB USB drive
This isn't for the office Christmas party per se, but if a Secret Santa is happening and you're stuck for a gift, this will work no matter who you've drawn out of the hat — everybody needs USB storage, right? As it comes from Kingston you know it'll be reliable, it can attach to a keyring, and the 32GB version is probably within the set budget.
8. Fake Call — Fake Caller ID
If you need to get yourself out of an awkward corner with the office bore, or you just need an excuse to leave early, then there are plenty of apps around that can get your phone to ring and make it look like someone is actually calling.
We've picked out one of the best options for Android here, but there are alternatives available on both Android and iOS.
- Fake Call - Fake Caller ID, free on Android
9. LED fairy lights
Whether you want to spruce up your office desk for the occasion or add some Christmas pizzazz to your Christmas party outfit, these LED fairy lights will do the job — they're battery powered, so you don't need to plug them in anywhere, and they're very cheap too. Once the Christmas party is over, you can transfer them to your Christmas tree at home.
You don't really want a host of embarrassing photos reappearing on the morning after the office Christmas party, and Snapchat is built around the idea that your friends and family can't keep the images and video you send them (short of taking a screenshot, anyway). You can preserve the memories safely and privately on your own device, if you want.