Susie Rushton: My festive sartorial diktat: wear anything so long as it's not red. Or sparkly

Notebook: Make your excuses and scarper early, because it's always later than you think

Related Topics

I've been on a four-a-week regime for the past month. I don't mean gingerbread lattes, nor gym sessions, but something more fattening and tiring: Christmas parties. Some of these might have been civilised sit-down dinners in a pub, others were raucous stand-up-then-fall-over gatherings in bars, but either way, it's been a gruelling schedule.

Quite apart from the season's physical demands (from keeping the broken loo door closed with one heeled foot to sawing through a plate of marble-hard Brussels sprouts), the marathon is socially and emotionally taxing. On one long journey home last week, I formulated my own rules for survival. It really is no good to simply throw yourself into "the spirit"; you've got to be organised.

So, first of all, what to wear. There is only one thing to bear in mind on this subject, and it concerns the colour red. A surprising number of revellers still insist on a Special Red Outfit – clingy scarlet dress for women, questionable claret-coloured velvet jacket for men, tomato-coloured jumper for either – reserved for the season. This is like co-ordinating your outfit with the Christmas tree. So my only diktat on this is: wear anything – nobody notices really, it's too dark – so long as it's not red. Or sparkly, obviously.

Second, how far to travel. The Christmas party is rarely located conveniently (unless you're the organiser, in which case you've booked it at your local, obviously) so set a personal roaming limit. This year, I'm not going to anything that means I have to listen to a cabbie's Magic FM festive playlist for more than 20 minutes. Remember, this isn't about a one-off night out; December is a series of discrete expeditions, and energy must be budgeted if you're to go the distance.

Next, one for the wine snobs. At larger parties, you can still turn up empty-handed, although austere budgets are making these happy events less common. More intimate festive dinner parties bring into sharp focus what is, in truth, a year-round problem: how to get the host to actually open that carefully selected chardonnay you bought, rather than see it hidden away in a cupboard as you endure the "special mull". Last week, Anthony Rose, this newspaper's revered wine correspondent, offered me a good tip for the whites: "Make sure the bottle is really, really chillled, so that it's blindingly obvious that it's ready to drink right now." And red? As with the rule on jumpers, take any nice bottle so long as it's not red – save that for your night off.

Lastly: make your excuses and scarper early, because it's always later than you think. That's shortly after dessert for a seated meal, or, for a drinks party, just as Ms Scarlet Dress and Mr Claret Jacket have begun their inadvisable smooch. In fact, this year I've made it a personal ambition to be the first to leave. You'll be scorned for quitting so soon, but don't forget all tomorrow's parties...


Can't we have a Bond who is not Daniel?

Will Daniel Craig beat Roger Moore's record to become the longest-serving Bond? He will if franchise producer Michael G Wilson has anything to do with it – he said at the weekend that he wants Craig to do five more Bond films, taking his total to eight. Whether the hulking blond can bring as much amusement to the role in his entire 007 career that Moore's right eyebrow delivered in a single movie is up for debate, but then the current Bond is stuck in a rather humourless, not to mention sexless, place.

Maybe that's why the makers of Skyfall, next year's installment, hope to "take it back to the 60s, a more Sean feel". If the idea is to rejuvenate the films with a little of the irony and sex appeal of the originals, perhaps Wilson should consider giving another British actor a chance. How about a weird and wiry spy played by Benedict Cumberbatch? Or an alluring, sardonic one, portrayed by Dominic West? Even the (surely unintentionally) hilarious Jason Statham would deliver more entertainment than another five years of Craig's moody brawn.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration Engineer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Logistics and Supply Chain

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

Day In a Page

Read Next

The strangely parallel lives of Oliver Letwin and Ed Miliband

Matthew Norman
A Cafe Nero coffee store in central London  

Caffè Nero’s craven cowardice over badger culling has made me tear up my loyalty card

Jane Merrick
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral