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The Unfestive Guide To Holiday Hook Ups

My friends call the months of October to December “cuffing season”. The idea being that it’s time to handcuff someone to your bedpost before the frosty mornings set it – someone to help reduce your heating bill by keeping the space between the sheets warm and someone to boredom sext on Christmas day.

This has always seemed illogical to me. December is a veritable smorgasbord of parties; the work Christmas “do”, various industry events for god-knows-what, and those nostalgia-inducing reunions with your hometown pals.

At these parties, everyone acts like the apocalypse is coming. Perhaps it’s because they’re imminently going to have to spend three sexless days with their family. Or maybe it’s because they’ve booked themselves in for a charity run to help enforce a dry January, and they know that without the free-flow of free bars, there’s going to be a lot less hooking up on the cards after the New Year.

Forgive my turn of phrase, but surely this means December is the perfect month to cram in as many hook ups as possible? But who are these boys and girls? And where will we encounter them? Ahead, some of the scenarios in which these hook ups will, inevitably, take place.

The Christmas Temp

Ah, the Christmas Temp: a short term arrangement to keep you company over the festive season. You won’t formally date, but they’ll accompany you to all those Christmas parties you don’t really want to go to but fear missing out on in case anything good happens. When nothing good happens, the Christmas Temp will be your excuse to leave early. “Joe has work tomorrow,” you tell your friends, who don’t even know what Joe does, because you have literally never mentioned him before bringing him here.

To be honest, you don’t even know what Joe does. You accidentally Super Liked him two weeks ago and now he’s standing next to you in a polo neck nodding as your friend Laura talks about why Love Actually isn't the definitive Christmas film and wondering how long it will be before the two of you can leave and have sex. Christmas temps come about really, really quickly, and they usually disappear before the January sales start.

The Work Crush

There are two things we can be sure of in December. The first is that you will gain 600 pounds. The second is that you will pick out someone with no hobbies or interests whatsoever in the office Secret Santa. The third is that – if you are remotely single – you will snog at least one person at the work Christmas party. The only variable on this last one is how early on this will happen in December, and that, in turn, depends on how cheap your company is, because the nearer the party is to Christmas, the more the venue costs.

Use this as your equation to figure out how long the awkward interim is between the late night, Christmas party snog with a colleague and running home on December 23rd to hide under a rock-made-of-cheese. And don't work for a cheap company.

Some more lessons from a pro: One minute you've got mistletoe hovering above your head, the next minute, you’re morally accountable for a lot of awkward coffee machine moments. Don't kiss someone who works for you, but do kiss your boss and have them feel bad about it. It’s much better to spend 2016 wondering why you got a promotion rather than being on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

The Old Flame

Christmas is all about nostalgia; receding into your teenage self by refusing to lay the table, refusing to go for a family walk on Christmas day and refusing to share anything. It only makes sense then, that Christmas is also a time for hooking up with old flames. A ghost of Christmas past, if you will. You’re in your hometown, you’re bored. Your dad is monopolising the TV. Your two siblings who get on better with each other than they do with you (because you refuse to share anything) are having a bottle of wine in the kitchen. "What did I used to do to entertain myself around here?" you wonder.

You probably used to sneak around the corner of the street for a joint, but now you’re too old to know where to get any. And so you go to the pub with your mum. You say, "Mum, shall we go to the pub?" And she is almost bowled over with shock. The minute you get there things are restored to their normal order, though, as you see your Year 12 crush, still working behind the bar, and swiftly shove your mum back out into the winter night. And the rest is history. No, but literally, history.

The Ex Text

I don’t know about you, but I find the days between Christmas and New Year to be a pretty lonely time of year. Some of your mates are still hunkered up with their families in remote corners of England, while others – who you plan to unfollow on Instagram very, very soon – are preparing to hop on a plane and spend NYE somewhere exotic. With few friends around, time outside of the office, and space to reflect, it's also this time of year that you might fall into the trap of texting your ex.

A casual "how was your Christmas?" with a cheeky "🎅" at the end (...instead of a "😱", which is how you're really feeling), will either result in a text back or it won't, determining how you bring in the New Year; going back in time, rather than forwards, or bitterly remembering 2015 as the year of unrequited love. Keep your head up, maybe they got a new phone for Christmas and changed their number? That's still a thing right?

The New Year's Snog

The only thing more disheartening about your love life other than receiving a Valentine's Day card each year with a "Guess Who?" scrawled in your own father's handwriting is that each and every New Year's Eve, you make out with your gay best friend. And is it pleasant? No. You've both got so drunk by this point, because you can see your cloying midnight loneliness heading towards you like a freight train, that your snog resembles two Border Collies lapping at each other's faces.

This has to stop. Friends do, of course, come first. All year round, in fact. Except for this very moment. This is New Year's Eve, the time to be selfish and disappear at a house party if a hot stranger wants to make out with you at the end of the garden, even if you are the only person your friend knows there. Enjoy all of this while it lasts, because dry old January truly is the month to settle down.