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Help! I’m suffering from Christmas party overload!

The St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar

The St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar

So this is Christmas… Is anyone else starting to feel a slight party overload? I began the season a few weeks ago with InStyle’s festive do on the Roof Top Bar at Shoreditch House – champagne, roaring log fires, general fabulosity. “Hooray for party season” I thought. (It wasn’t yet blizzard weather then.)

Since then, life has been a daily whirligig of “Let’s do drinks!”, “I’m having cocktails!”, “Fancy dinner?”, “Come to our tree decorating night!”. (Okay, that last one was mine.) Tonight, I am hosting an Italian feast for a dozen or so people (Sophie Dahl’s aubergine parmigiana and Heston Blumenthal’s chocolate tiramisu, since you ask); tomorrow heralds a house party; Sunday an Apprentice finale party; and next week kicks it into overdrive with TWO events per night, including an annual jaunt to the St Pancras Champagne Bar, above.

(We go en extended famille and assorted friends each year for a last-night-in-London toast before heading to respective parental and in-law homesteads; and it is fabulous.)

And it doesn’t stop after the final advent calendar door is opened… There’s a Boxing Day extravaganza, a day-after-Boxing-Day house party, New Year’s… Plus various friends who selfishly insist on having December and January birthdays. (Kidding! But couldn’t you guys be like the queen and celebrate on some other day, in, say, May? Spring weather is lovely, darlings.)

I’ve ruined several perfectly fabulous pairs of suede shoes (I’m against wellies on sartorial principle) by sloshing through the snow, and now I’ve been struck with the flu. I’m starting to feel – is it okay to say no to some of these invitations? Please? (Surely there are others out there suffering from what I’m fancily terming “Mistletoe Malaise”?)

According to the experts at luxury concierge service Bon Vivant, the secret is to pick and choose your parties – which means turning some down. “Make sure that you are polite and express gratitude that you have been invited, regardless of whether you can attend. The best reason is that you have a conflicting engagement, so you should mention that you have agreed to attend an another event on that date, but you’d love to arrange a get together later on, perhaps in the new year once the festive period is over.”

I’m definitely giving the “conflicting engagement” line a try – even if my “better offer” is bed, a hot water bottle, and a box set of Buffy

By Harriet Reuter Hapgood

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