Elvis Presley throws a punch in Jailhouse Rock. There are alternatives to the Black Eye Friday fights.

Today is Black Eye Friday, the day when thousands of Christmas parties up and down the land converge into one big festive carnival on city streets, usually ending with a mass brawl. Of course I’m being overly sarcastic, but the night is renowned as the evening when too much drink combined with high spirits results in punch-ups and various drunken antics. There must be another way? There must! A way that doesn’t result in hangovers, split lips and black eyes.

Well one leadership consultancy, Hampshire based Aziz Corporate, has decided to take a completely different approach to the traditional boozy Christmas party.


Employees at the company were invited to spend a day at a Christmas wellbeing celebration, were they learnt new skills and reflected on their innermost life dreams.

Devised to give something back to staff members, the Aziz Christmas wellbeing day started with a Dreamstorming session during which employees were invited to record their own individual life dreams and begin the journey towards achieving them. The Dreamstorm session was delivered for Aziz by Mike Greatwood, as part of his employee engagement programme, Dream Manager.

A survey conducted before and after the Dreamstorm workshop showed a clear improvement to participants’ reported levels of positive thinking and engagement. Participants felt 28 percent more engaged following the Dreamstorm and 19 percent were more positive about their future.

A festive afternoon

The Dreamstorm workshop was followed by lunch and a festive afternoon of bell-ringing, during which employees learned to play their favourite Christmas carols with hand bells. After explaining the history of bell-ringing, a local group of bell-ringers demonstrated the action and technique, giving everyone the opportunity to play two Christmas carols using their own set of bells.

Now, granted, switching the Christmas Party with hand bell ringing and wellbeing sessions will not be to everyone’s taste, but with figures showing that Christmas parties are not always particularly enjoyed by staff, it may be a route to a happier and more relaxed festive season for many. And no black eyes!





Robert joined the HRreview editorial team in October 2015. After graduating from the University of Salford in 2009 with a BA in Politics, Robert has spent several years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past he has been part of editorial teams at Flux Magazine, Mondo*Arc Magazine and The Marine Professional.