‘Tis the season to be jolly after a difficult year for many and where better than at a Christmas party.
But the advent of the Omicron variant means what to wear may no longer be the main dilemma this yuletide, as mixed messages emerge about whether we should be partying or not.
We take a look at what has been said and if this Christmas time is shaping up to be more mistletoe and wine or another bleak midwinter.
Unlike last year, there are currently no restrictions on the numbers of people gathering indoors in England, Wales and Scotland.
In Northern Ireland, indoor gatherings in a non-domestic setting of more than 15 people must undergo a risk assessment.
But there have already been warnings Christmas parties could become the new superspreader event.
Professor Tim Spector, who runs the Covid Zoe app, said a contributor to the study had contacted the team to warn of the potential dangers of parties.
They had attended a 60th birthday in Somerset where 14 of 18 guests tested positive for the new variant despite everyone being double jabbed and some people having had their booster.
He told Times Radio: “We should really be encouraging people not to come in to the office, not to go to that Christmas party if they’re feeling unwell.
“Take a test and then, when the symptoms subside, then they can come out.”
Justice Secretary and deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday there would be no “Ministry of Justice-wide Christmas party” this year after allegations emerged of Downing Street gathering last year which breached coronavirus restrictions.
Energy minister George Freeman told Sky News last week his department has already cancelled its Christmas party.
Asked if he though other businesses should follow suit he said: “It slightly depends on the nature of the business.
“For many small businesses, four or five staff, who are working together every day anyway, gathering to have a drink isn’t a big step up in risk.
“But some companies might normally bring hundreds of people in from around the world to a big party, and they may decide, this year, is that sensible given the pandemic and given where we are?”
But the Prime Minister has stood firm in his insistence Christmas will not be cancelled this year and parties can go ahead.
He said last Friday: “On the subject of Christmas parties, I notice there has been quite a lot of toing and froing about it, people concerned that they need to cancel their Christmas parties.
“That is not right, we are not saying that and we are not saying that nativity plans have to be cancelled.
“I believe very strongly that kids should be in school and I also think that Christmas should go ahead as normally as possible.”
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has asked its workers to postpone their Christmas parties until the New Year.
It said it needed to do “everything we can to make Christmas safe” for staff and customers and postponing parties would help protect food supply chains.
The supermarket’s boss Simon Roberts said it “will make sure no-one is out of pocket as a result of this decision”.
While consultancy firms PwC, EY and KPMG have said company-wide events were not planned but smaller teams could make have their own celebrations.
And a survey of 2,000 office workers, commissioned by Covid testing firm Prenetics, found more than half of UK workplaces (52 per cent) have decided not to hold a Christmas office party this year.
All rights reserved. © 2021 Associated Newspapers Limited.