As the retail trade wades into the festive season, knee deep in short-dated mince pies and unsold Arthur Christmas tie-ins, we here at P&F are pondering the most important event of the year, The Party.

Important not because anyone is looking forward to it - a nightmarish evening of rictus grins and ultimate bitching (like ultimate cage fighting, but less polite) - but rather because of the effect it could have on our individual and collective futures.

Karoline (with a K) has for the first time taken the possibly insane step of inviting clients to join in the ‘fun’. Not only is this deeply unpleasant aesthetically (if you knew our clients, you’d know why) but it also breaks the first rule of PR. Never let two clients of the same agency meet each other unsupervised. Especially at a party.

Drinks will flow and eventually one will ask the other “So what’s your monthly fee?”, or even worse, “So how much do P&F charge you to issue a press release?”

Shortly afterwards we lose both of them. One because they were being ripped off and the other because they don’t want to use an agency that rips people off.

They should have no such scruples. Anyhow, you can get a flashing antler and red nose set, perfect for the easy festive chav look along with your glittery mini dress, at Amazon for £4.99. None of the multiples seem to be offering this kind of deal, graphically illustrating why Christmas 2011 will be conducted via the web.

I’m told we started using the ‘first online Christmas’ angle for our internet retail clients in 2003 and have rolled it out, shamelessly touted as new news, every year since. It will definitely be true by Christmas 2012 because there won’t be much high street left.

Meanwhile, who’s for a snowball and a snog under the mistletoe?