Holiday Party Dos and Don’ts

Career Blog

Whether they are called Christmas parties, Holiday parties, or Year-end celebrations, effectively navigating these fun-filled events can prove a challenging proposition especially if you’re new to the workforce or the organization.

Assuming you can manage the evening without hitting on the CEO’s spouse, offering your manager unsolicited career advice, or busting into a back spraining break dance, raise your game by adopting the following Dos and Don’ts of office party etiquette.

  1. Expand Your Circle: It’s tempting to chat the night away with close colleagues, but if the moment naturally arises, seize the opportunity to introduce yourself to folks you admire, but rarely engage. The season allows for an easy intro and a handshake and brief word are always well-received.
  2. Be Gracious: If you notice a new employee (or introverted wall-hugger) looking lost, take a moment to introduce yourself and ask a question or two about what they do, or better yet…do for fun. Everyone has hobbies and holiday plans. If you really want to be remembered as a thoughtful person, facilitate another connection for them before departing. It’s a classy play.
  3. Be Complimentary: Use the festive event to spread cheer and sincere appreciation. Talking others up, especially to their spouse, does both. If you’re a good manager, your people already know you care. Still, raise a glass and toast their efforts.
  1. Monopolize People’s Time: Office parties aren’t the occasion for drawn out conversations. Offer a pleasantry, briefly reminisce about a shared success, facilitate a graceful transition, and leave them wanting more. 
  2. Kiss Up to the Boss: A word of appreciation or a toast to a great year is a nice touch, but don’t overdo it. Everyone can smell the awkward kiss up a mile away and it’s embarrassing for all concerned. 
  3. Pitch a Work Idea: Sure, a fair amount of business is done outside the office, but this isn’t the back nine. A holiday party is a time to be thankful and celebratory. Ditch the shop talk and enjoy the evening.

Bonus Tip: Drinking at office parties is always a dicey proposition. Remember, while there may be an open bar, this isn’t your cousin’s wedding. While it’s nice to be remembered, you don’t want to be the person who is whispered about on Monday. We’ve all seen the effects of the one who downed the “one too many.”

While it may not work for every taste and tolerance level, keeping this little ditty in mind before heading to the office party may prove useful: “Fun yet wise is the way to be. So have two drinks, but never three.”

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