coworkers toasting champagne at office holiday party
Dec 15, 2016 — TrackFive

The Office Holiday Party: How to Survive and Thrive

If you’re anything like me, you’ve read the title of this post and thought, “It is really necessary to tell adults how to act at their office holiday party?” But if you’re also like me, you’ve heard the holiday party horror stories and/or have witnessed them first hand.

So, here I am writing this cliché office holiday post, and here you are reading it. Let’s just get through this so that you can share it with your coworkers. Or you can keep these tips to yourself and silently judge your coworkers while you wonder if they will still have a job the next day. The choice is yours.

Surviving the Office Holiday Party

I know that it is office party season, but that doesn’t mean that you should plan to dust off your college liver and rage. Most people find themselves the fool (or even fired) because they forget that an office party is still a business event. Beyond not getting too drunk, here are some other things you should look to avoid if you want to enjoy your office holiday party:

Don’t Imbibe in Excess

Believe me, you’re not the only one that gets excited when you hear about an open bar. That doesn’t mean you need to drink everything you can. The point of your holiday party is to have a good time with your colleagues, not get drunk. Don’t be the person that says crazy things you’ll regret the next day (or that will make your boss rethink your status as an employee).

Don’t Dress Inappropriately

The office party is not the time to break out the little black dress you wore with a sash and a tiara on your last birthday. It’s also not the time to break out the Nike slides and sweatpants that you’re going to lounge in this weekend. You’re not going to the Met Gala, but it is a business event and you should dress accordingly.

Also, be mindful when giving compliments to your coworkers. Avoid saying anything that may make a coworker feel uncomfortable. Don’t say any comments that may suggest anything sexual. And please, I am begging you; don’t use the holiday party to confess your feelings to your office crush. It’s not the time or place, especially if they don’t feel the same. That could make things awkward for everyone.

Don’t Gossip

The office holiday party is not the time to engage in gossip. It’s not the time to talk about office pain points, complain, or vent. If you’re not getting along with a particular coworker, the party is not the time to talk about it. Don’t announce that you’re quitting or that you hate your supervisor. The office holiday party is not the time nor the place for this sort of talk. What you thought was just chatting with your office buddies could very quickly turn into some serious consequences in the near future.

Refrain from talking about sensitive subjects like bonuses or the president-elect. Perhaps not everyone in the company got bonuses. And believe me, no one wants to get into a heated debate about politics or religion.

Don’t Drink and Drive

If you and your coworkers have been drinking, the last thing you want to do is drive home inebriated. You should also be careful asking a coworker to give them a ride home. You don’t want to seem overbearing or like you are being the “mom” of the office. Instead, try encouraging your coworkers to split an Uber or Lyft ride with you.

Thriving at the Office Holiday Party

With so many things you shouldn’t do at the holiday party, how are you supposed to have a good time? Don’t you worry, because there are plenty of things that you also should do at the office holiday party to ensure you survive the event. Let’s check ‘em out:

Attend the Holiday Party

Depending on the culture of your workplace, passing on an invitation to the office holiday party could hurt your reputation. You don’t need to be there all night, but at least make an appearance. Stay for like half an hour and then be on your way if you really don’t want to be there.

And if you attend, actually engage with your coworkers. You didn’t get all dressed up and come to the holiday party for some hors d’oeuvres, so don’t stand by the food all night! Talk to some people outside of your department that you typically don’t get to spend time with. Enjoy yourself.

Know the “Rules” of the Party

Don’t assume that you can invite whomever you want to the office holiday party. Make sure it is okay to bring a spouse, significant other, or friend. If you’re not sure if you get a plus one or not, ask. If you get to bring a guest, don’t bring someone that is going to act inappropriately and reflect poorly on you.

Keep Your Right Hand Free

You’re probably going to be shaking hands for at least some of the evening. Keep your drink in your left hand so you don’t have to give someone a cold, wet handshake. This means your cellphone should be in your pocket (except for when you’re taking selfies, of course). Since your right hand is free to give out the best handshakes all night, do some networking.

Find something in common with that executive or supervisor that you never talk to. It’s always a good idea to build or strengthen your business relationships, and you never know when that top-level manager might consider you for that promotion.

Snack Before the Party

Now if you’re like me, you don’t need to be told to have a snack before going somewhere! However, if you’re having a cocktail hour before any snacks or dinner is served, you’ll want something in your stomach. Plus, if dinner is late, you won’t be too hungry.

When dinner is served, make sure to socialize with everyone. The holiday season is a time to eat, drink, and be merry. Thank whoever planned and arranged your office holiday party, enjoy yourself, and follow these tips so you still have a job when you make it back into the office.


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