Being sacked in December is guaranteed to put a dampener on the festivities, but if execution is stayed until January, chances are there'll be an overloaded credit card to add to the worries.
Express Newspapers announced in the summer that it wanted to reduce its 650-strong editorial workforce to 450. Staff were invited to apply for redundancy and told that if too few came forward by the end of August, sackings would follow.
In October, parent company Northern and Shell issued annual results showing that it had turned a £5.6m loss to an operating profit of £37m. The print and publishing arm had seen a threefold increase in profits to £33m, but the redundancy programme - which should have been completed two months earlier - would continue.
A further deadline for applications was set at December 15, but that day came and went with the company reportedly still well short of the 200 volunteers it wanted. Journalists now have until January 1 to decide whether to jump or risk being pushed. Should make for some interesting conversations over the turkey.
While Express journalists seem eager to stay aboard, picture staff at the Times appear to be more than willing to jump ship.
Last week's Gorkana jobs register included listings for a news picture editor, two assistant picture editors and a picture researcher. The ad for the top job offers a "competitive" salary for whoever ends up leading a department that is made up of "professional, energetic and creative journalists". It continues:
As news picture editor of The Times, you will be responsible for creating outstanding picture packages for the news, foreign and business sections of the paper, as well as on tablet, smartphone and web. You will ... be required to build working relationships with desk heads, photographers and agencies, while inspiring a team of picture editors and researchers to deliver visually compelling editions across all platforms.
The Times news picture editor will be part of a back-bench team whose aim is to lead the news agenda with great journalism and stunning pictures.
The desk was pared down in the redundancy round at the end of 2011 and the past few months have seen the departures of a stream of professional, energetic and creative journalists, including the award-winning photographers Chris Harris and Pete Nicholls.
The picture editor Sue Connolly and her deputy Lizzy Orcutt were invited to apply for redefined jobs, which resulted in Orcutt's departure. Connolly is now also an ex-Times journalist, as are commissioning editor Paul Bellsham, online picture editor Elizabeth Hanna, and several staffers and regular casuals who worked on the home, business and foreign desks.
SubScribe understands that editor John Witherow has firm ideas about pictures and that his choices can be expensive. If the department were to remain in budget economies had to be made elsewhere. Desk staff were asked to reapply for their jobs - with cuts of up to 30% in their salaries. Several decided to walk rather than go through such a process. Hence the recruitment flurry.
The management approach sounds harsh, but it has created openings that may embolden some talented and creative people to take the Express payoff and head upstream from Blackfriars to London Bridge. For those who are more hesitant, the Times ad offers further reassurance:
News UK is a great company full of talented, dedicated and creative people. We are a company which has journalism at its very heart. Our newspapers and associated websites are some of the most powerful media brands in the English speaking world, reaching 30 million people each week...
News UK is a company which thrives on pace. Our people stretch themselves on a daily basis, challenging the status quo to produce the best service possible to our readers and customers. We embrace creativity and initiative and we have some of the most talented people in the industry.
If you want to work for one of the world's most exciting, challenging and creative media organisations then News UK is the place to build your career.
So it must be doing something right. Even if it's not wo/man management.
As one long-serving journalist not known for a positive view of life in the newsroom said:
The spirit of co-operation between news gathering and news production is better than at any time in my 20 years. I think it's a better paper than when it was filled with dull pics of politicians in suits and pie charts, and the care that goes into assembling it night after night is a credit to all who labour long hours to make it so...
It's a collaborative effort, for which we are well paid (although we'd all like more). We all knew about antisocial hours and tight deadlines before we signed up and have no right to bleat about it afterwards. It's the job. It's what we do. We try to produce the best paper we can within the constraints that all media endure and more often than not, we succeed.