Dodge the mistletoe-waving bosses, avoid awkward drunken conversations with colleagues and cancel the office Christmas party because workers would prefer cash instead.

A UK-wide study, which questioned 2,134 people in November, has found a majority of employees (71%) would rather have the dosh their company spends per head as a pay-out rather than a festive function.

Insurer MetLife also revealed that work Christmas parties are being held at organisations employing nearly six out of 10 workers (59%) this year, with London employees the most likely to have a Christmas bash at 71%.

"Christmas parties can be great for morale and rewarding staff for their hard work throughout the year but it does seem as if most staff would rather just have the money," said Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director at MetLife.

Met Life suggested the reluctance to party might be driven by the fact that many workers are forced to take time off over the Christmas period - a third (33%) of British workers revealed they have to take holiday over Christmas and New Year because their employer closes.

The study found it is even higher in small and medium sized companies where half (50%) of organisations said they shut for Christmas and require staff to take time off.

In addition, Met Life said workers in Scotland were least likely (48%) to have a Christmas bash.