And I don’t just mean the fear of being run over by a marauding reindeer or burning the turkey.

Christmas is fraught with traps and holes, waiting to catch out the unwary.

Mistletoe, for example, is dangerous not just because it is toxic (did you know that?) although I’ve never yet seen anyone get so drunk at a Christmas party that they’ve tried to eat it.  Up until recently, my biggest worry about mistletoe was the danger that someone would use it as an excuse to kiss someone at the Christmas party, and then we’d be facing a sex discrimination case.  Now it’s even more dangerous because not only are their sexual connotations, but also, it’s a health and safety issue due to COVID and the risk that unnecessary kissing might lead to increasing the spread of the virus.  The problem with law school is that it just never prepared me for how to deal with dangerous vegetation.

Then, of course, there is the thorny issue of gift giving.  I well remember the ironic case of a well known and very prestigious law firm being taken to an employment tribunal by some female members of staff, because they’d been given chocolate willies as joke Christmas presents by some of the solicitors, which they didn’t find funny at all.  The law firm failed to take their complaints seriously, and it ended up costing them a great deal of money.  Despite the well known story doing the rounds every Christmas (because I tell it every Christmas!) people still do silly things.  A recent story about a male colleague offering to buy a female colleague a vibrator for Christmas all ended in tears.  Maybe he didn’t check that she didn’t already have one.  Most women I know would really prefer to choose their own and might be tempted to put yours in a painful place if you try to pick one for her.  Perhaps this is a good time of year for proctologists.  Even those engaging in secret Santa giving can come unstuck, such as the strictly tea total employee who was given a bottle of gin (I did offer to share it with her) or the vegan who was given a marshmallow fondu kit (you’d probably be surprised at the number of seemingly innocent things that contain gelatine and milk).   Who said that it’s the thought that counts!

Even abstinence can be dangerous.  I did talk to an employer who thought it might be safer to have two separate Christmas parties. One for the women and one for the men, to reduce the risk of inappropriate behaviour.  I’m reasonably certain he was joking (at least I really hope he was) but I did point out that even if that was possible (it’s not) how was he going to deal with those who identified as the opposite sex, or those from the LGBT community.

I bet when you read the headline, you thought it was going to be about excessive drinking at Christmas and how to take care of your liver.  I bet now you’ve read about all the innocent looking parts of Christmas that can actually be dangerous, you wish I had just been talking about over drinking!

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Full of Christmas bah humbug!