A Third of All Employees Will Probably Embarrass Themselves at the Office Holiday Party

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iStock.com/mediaphotos

You might want to rethink that third cup of spiked punch at this year's holiday office party. That’s because the odds of embarrassing yourself and saying something you can’t take back are about one in three, according to a new survey spotted by the New York Post.

OnePoll and social planning website Evite surveyed 2000 office employees about previous work-sponsored parties they’ve attended, and not all of them had fond memories (or any clear memories at all, for that matter). One-third said they did something they regretted, while two-fifths had been privy to some sort of office drama.

Be warned: Free booze coupled with a celebratory atmosphere can lead to a bad case of loose lips, which makes for some awkward encounters at work the next day. The average office worker hears seven new pieces of gossip about other employees while attending a holiday party, many of which are fueled by office romance rumors. Some of them, of course, end up being true. Of the survey respondents, 37 percent said they had witnessed two coworkers getting affectionate at a holiday party.

According to the survey, Friday is everyone’s favorite day to attend an office party—and for good reason. In cases where holiday parties were held on a weekday, 35 percent of respondents showed up late for work the next day, and another 17 percent took the day off. Of those who came late, suffering from a hangover was the top explanation given, followed by sleeping through an alarm.

And in case you needed another good reason to keep your wits about you at an office party: there will probably be lots of flashing cameras (expect to participate in six group photos, on average).

“One thing you can always look forward to the next morning is seeing those moments caught on camera from the night before,” Julian Clark of Evite said. “But as the results tell us, sometimes the party can slightly get out of hand.”

[h/t New York Post]

Can You Spot the Christmas Stocking in This Hidden Image Puzzle?

It's time for another hidden image puzzle! This time, Lenstore.co.uk's Can You Spot It? puzzle features a smattering of Yule-themed objects like Santa hats, gingerbread men, snowmen, presents, and Christmas trees. Can you find the lone Christmas stocking hidden among them?

According to Lenstore.co.uk, it takes most people around 45 seconds to find objects in most of their hidden-image puzzles, and women tend to be faster at finding them than men. (Try out some of the previous puzzles here, here, and here.)

Before you peek at the answer, read up on the history of the Christmas stocking here. Like many Christmas traditions, its origins are pretty unclear, but one thing is for sure: We should all be grateful that we've long since moved on from stringing up the regular socks we wear every day.

Scroll down to see the answer, then try your hand at one of our close-up image quizzes.

What is Wassailing, Anyway?

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iStock

It’s easy to think that wassailing is some cozy wintertime tradition that’s fun for the whole family. After all, there’s a jaunty, wholesome Christmas carol about it! But the truth is, if you ever see a minor out wassailing, you may want to call his or her parents.

The word wassail has many meanings. For centuries, it was a way to toast someone’s good health. Before the Battle of Hastings in 1066, English soldiers reportedly sang:

Rejoice and wassail!

(Pass the bottle) and drink health.

Drink backwards and drink to me

Drink half and drink empty.

But, in England, wassail also denoted the alcoholic beverage you imbibed during that toast—an elixir of steamy mulled mead or cider. Sometimes, wassail was a whipped dark beer flavored with roasted crab apples.

Wassail was usually slurped from a communal bowl before, during, and after big events and holidays. It was supposedly on the menu during Lammas Day, a pagan autumnal harvest holiday that involves transforming cornhusks into dolls. It was also imbibed on Twelfth Night, a January holiday that involves lighting a fire in an orchard, dancing, and singing incantations to apple trees in hopes of encouraging a bountiful harvest.

By the Middle Ages, the practice of sharing a giant bowl of wassail—that is, the practice of wassailing—evolved from a holiday celebration to a form of boozy begging. “At Christmastide, the poor expected privileges denied them at other times, including the right to enter the homes of the wealthy, who feasted them from the best of their provisions,” Robert Doares, an instructor at Colonial Williamsburg, explained. The poor would either ask to sip from their rich neighbor’s wassailing bowl or would bring their own bowl, asking for it to be filled. According to Doares, “At these gatherings, the bands of roving wassailers often performed songs for the master while drinking his beer, toasting him, his family, his livestock, wishing continued health and wealth.” The original lyrics of Here We Come a-Wassailing are quite upfront about what’s going on:

We are not daily beggars

That beg from door to door

But we are neighbours’ children

Whom you have seen before.

Not all rich folk were happy to see wassailers at their doorstep. One 17th century polymath, John Selden, complained about “Wenches … by their Wassels at New-years-tide ... present you with a Cup, and you must drink of the slabby stuff; but the meaning is, you must give them Moneys.”

Misers like Selden may have had a point: Since alcohol was involved, wassailers often got too rowdy. “Drunken bands of men and boys would take to the streets at night, noise-making, shooting rifles, making ‘rough music,’ and even destroying property as they went among the wealthy urban homes,” wrote Hannah Harvester, formerly the staff folklorist at Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. In fact, boisterous wassailers are one reason why Oliver Cromwell and Long Parliament passed an ordinance in 1647 that essentially banned Christmas.

By the 19th century, wassailing would mellow. Beginning in the 1830s, music publishers started releasing the first commercial Christmas carols, uncorking classics such as God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and The First Noel. Among them were dozens of wassailing songs, including the circa 1850 Here We Come a-Wassailing and dozens of others that are now, sadly, forgotten. As the custom of caroling became the dominant door-to-door pastime, alcohol-fueled begging dwindled. By the turn of the 20th century, carolers were more likely to sing about libations than actually drink them.

But if you’re interested in engaging in some good, old-fashioned wassailing, the original lyrics to Here We Come a-Wassailing are a helpful guide. For starters, ask for beer.

Our wassail cup is made

Of the rosemary tree,

And so is your beer

Of the best barley.

Don’t be shy! Keep asking for that beer.

Call up the butler of this house,

Put on his golden ring.

Let him bring us up a glass of beer,

And better we shall sing.

Remind your audience that, hey, this is the season of giving. Fork it over.

We have got a little purse

Of stretching leather skin;

We want a little of your money

To line it well within.

Screw it. You’ve sung this far. Go for it all, go for the gold, go for ... their cheese.

Bring us out a table

And spread it with a cloth;

Bring us out a mouldy cheese,

And some of your Christmas loaf.

Thirsty for your own wassail? Stock up on sherry and wine and try this traditional recipe from The Williamsburg Cookbook.

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