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Dos and Don’ts of Office Holiday Parties

The Office Christmas party
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The e-invite is probably flashing at you from your work inbox right now. The unavoidable company holiday party is here and ready to receive your RSVP. If you’re anything like me, then you’re overcome with dread-laced excitement. Like, it’s super cool the company is hosting a party for everyone to celebrate the holidays, but it means you have to actually socialize instead of stare at your computer all day.

Well, if I have to go then so do you. To make it easier on you, I jotted down my tips for survival. So slip into your tackiest Christmas sweater, and RSVP yes.

DO: Go to the party.

Let’s be clear on one thing: skipping social events in the office is detrimental to your career. Girlfriend, you can’t create a network (Netwerk? Netwerk.) without actually speaking to people and being a team player. So go to the party and have fun.

At the very least, fake it for your career’s sake. If you don’t attend the fun things your company does, you’re not contributing to company culture and you’re not growing your netwerk. All it takes is one party with poor attendance to convince the higher-ups to stop spending time, effort, and money on these perks. Best not to risk it.

DON’T: Confuse it with an actual party.

This isn’t a normal party. You shouldn’t act or speak the way you do with your family and friends. You should have a fun, but still professional, time. The last thing your career needs is an incident of questionable behavior hanging over it like a dark cloud.

To keep yourself from swearing or saying inappropriate things, imagine your grandma is sitting next to you at this party (unless your grandmother is anything like mine, and then you need another plan).

DO: Enjoy some drinks.

If everyone else has a glass of wine and you don’t, then you’re basically saying you don’t want to be there. It’s one thing if you truly don’t consume alcohol, which is totally fine. But it’s an entirely different thing if you’re just being a party pooper. Pour yourself a drink and relax. You’re at a party after all, so it’s absolutely okay to partake in libations with the rest of the company.

DON’T: Drink yourself on top of a table.

Don’t even think of taking a shot or drinking to excess. Not unless you want to be fired for making bad, drunken decisions in front of the CEO. You need to keep your wits about you. Otherwise, you could say something mean, gossipy, or just inappropriate. Your co-workers don’t need to know that the guy you’re dating is a bad kisser. Take my word on that.

My trick to containing my inner party girl is to imagine Gandalf shouting “You. Shall. Not. Pass.” at dancing tequila shots. Works every time.

DO: Participate.

You might hate White Elephant/ Secret Santa/ Dirty Santa games. You might not be into Christmas at all. That doesn’t really matter though, because all it takes is one negative person to ruin the fun for everyone. Suck it up and play along so you don’t become the company dud that no one wants to invite to lunch. You might even realize that you’ve been wrong about Christmas games all along (and trust me, you are).

DON’T: Stick to your team.

I’m pretty much glued to the same five people at work all day long. They’re some of my favorite people, and I genuinely enjoy their company, so yeah I want to hang with them at the company parties. But I know I need to mingle with the rest of the office too. I need to form relationships with all of my co-workers, not to mention it never hurts to have the HR director on my side.

DO: Speak to the higher-ups.

Bosses are scary. Bosses’ bosses are scarier. While it would be safest to skirt the perimeter of their peripheral vision for eternity, it’s not a good career move. So take a deep breath, stand tall, and look them in the eye when you speak to them at the party. Make an effort to know them as actual human beings rather than people of power and money. Remember: they can smell fear.

DON’T: Talk about work the whole time.

You don’t need to talk about business just because you’re with your co-workers. No one wants to think about all that during a holiday celebration. The people you speak to will be bored and find ways to ditch you ASAP.

However, don’t discuss your personal life either. Family troubles, relationship details, and college experiences aren’t good talking points. Stick to the safe conversation zones: sports, TV, books, celebrities, hobbies, local news (sans politics). It’s hard to go wrong with those.

DO: Get in the holiday spirit.

This is a holiday party for crying out loud! Act like it. Wear festive colors, a tacky sweater, speak in holiday puns. Enjoy the season for the joyous time it is. Personally, I like to dress head-to-toe in Christmas garb and tie jingle bells in my hair, but you do you.

DON’T: Be a Scrooge or Grinch.

Unless that’s actually your costume. In which case, carry on.

(Featured image via theoffice)

Follow Terra on Instagram: @terrabrown3

Last modified on January 2nd, 2018

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