Starting out as a humanist idea, and as part of a nationally collective political strategy of negation (Hassan Howa's 'no normal sport in an abnormal society'), I refused to attend office Christmas parties from the very beginning of my working career about 30 years ago
In that span of time, I've violated the precept twice, my last transgression over a decade ago, even though apartheid has been legally ended.
Initially, my refusal to participate was a response to the institutional racism that would be suspended temporarily as a sop by employers, to an afternoon of unmitigated festivities in the name of an event that had its basis in a religion whose practices were foreign to me.
I didn't celebrate the events of the faith I'd been born into, why would I celebrate those of any other faith, especially one which served as the religious hand-maiden of racial capitalism?
My refusal to countenance these events are even more clear to me today. I don't do institutionalized celebration, especially when it's so highly commercialized, and done at such huge exclusion given the terrible poverty and misery that exist on my doorstep.
Further, apart from the personal and religious hypocrisies involved, Christmas office parties, and office parties in general, are an excuse for artificial bonding fueled by excesses of food, alcohol and frivolity.
Anyone who claims a social conscience and awareness, and especially if they belong to a faith like Islam, no matter how nominal their subscription, and especially when they moralize -- and they do, they have to perforce, especially in raising kids --has no excuse for participation, one which for me borders on a form of collaboration.
If they do, let them at least account for their moral lassitude, honestly, and tread carefully when laying down behavioral laws for others, especially their own children.
For, if we agree that children do as you do, not as they're told, then be ready to account for their potential rage against the double-bind you lend to, in the already formidably corrupt and spiritually bankrupt institutions that rule and set collective norms