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  • Ekow Duker

Bad Santa... Good Santa

In keeping with the holiday spirit, we continue with our lighthearted series of blogs. Today we look at the Office Party and ask what insight analytics might shed on the likelihood of Santa harassing the boss’s wife while drinking beer from a shoe.

Writer of the Divine Comedy, Dante Alligheri, may well have been thinking about the year-end office party when he wrote: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Fast forward seven centuries, and he could be writing about employees, who in the aftermath of the annual office party, might be buying their wives flowers, joining Alcoholics Anonymous, or pleading with their boss not to fire them.

Trawl the Internet and you’ll find dozens of stories about office party faux pas – drunken fist fights after downing a prodigious number of shots; co-workers “dirty dancing” after too much champagne; instant karaoke stars fueled by liquid courage; and of course, there's the naked Santa.

Unless your DNA includes the “office party” gene, you would probably prefer to give the office party a miss. As an anonymous source once said: “I’d be much more into the office holiday party if my co-workers weren’t invited.” has a great definition of holiday parties: “It’s that time of the year to get drunk with people you purposefully don’t get drunk with on any other day of the year.” The website also provides an Office Party 101 on how to navigate the annual debauchery. Three of their tips are particularly useful. 

/Firstly, “Talk to the Boss’ wife – make her feel welcome with friendly chit-chat. Don’t make her feel welcome with friendly tongue kissing or butt-grabbing.”

/Secondly, “It’s called the Secret Santa, not Secret Psycho – participate in the Secret Santa gift exchange with good-natured nonchalance. This isn’t the place to cry bitter crocodile tears if you don’t get what you want, or to be the guy flagrantly flaunting his score in the face of his co-workers.”

/Thirdly, “Drink just enough to prove you can unwind. Avoid red wine unless you want to make your teeth invisible.”

You might have read about,, a dating site for wandering married people. The site made the headlines when it was hacked in 2015. Interestingly enough, of the 23 455 people polled with AshleyMadison accounts, 46% of men and 37% of women had had an affair with a co-worker. What’s more, 60% of men and 72% of women surveyed, had their first encounter with their affair partner at - you guessed it - an office party. 

But before hiring a private detective to watch your spouse at their office party, some simple checks may come in handy. For example, if your spouse removes her wedding ring before the function, or insists that the office party is strictly for employees, you may have grounds to be suspicious. 

Psychologists have devised a model, known as the Investment model to predict whether a relationship is likely to last. The model considers four variables, namely:


/Quality of alternatives


/Investment size (i.e. the magnitude and importance of resources attached to the relationship such as a partner’s affection, family ties, and the stability of living together)

Low ratings on each of these variables can indicate whether a couple is likely to stray. 

Having rated your own relationship and realized you’re probably better off staying put, it’s time to put the Santa Claus hat and gum boots away. At least for another year. 

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