HO HO NO’s – The Do’s and Don’ts of Holiday Office Parties


The very first thing you need to know is that your boss and company have put a lot of energy into planning this holiday party. It would be very rude to decline the invitation. So stop what you are doing, R.S.V.P. to your company holiday party, then continue reading for a few pointers on etiquette.

Dress to Impress

Yay! You have made the decision to attend your holiday work party. Great! Let’s take a look in your closet to see what you will wear.   Maybe stop by  Six Dress Codes for some advice. Remember to dress smart. Don’t show a lot of skin. No (or very little) cleavage should be shown. Spaghetti straps are okay if classy. Dresses should come very close to knee length. Use the “finger-tip length” test if you are not sure.   Guys should always dress a little nicer than they think they should. Meaning, if you aren’t sure if you should wear a jacket-wear one. No one wants to see a guy walk in wearing a wife beater and a backwards baseball cap. This is your time to shine and impress everyone from your co-workers to supervisors to the owner of the company. Take extra time to spruce up your persona.  If there is nothing that catches your eye in your closet… splurge on a new outfit.

Guests are people too!

office-party-badIf you are bringing a guest, make sure you really know this person. Know how they will act if they get a few drinks in them. Go over behaviors and how you expect your date to act.  Make sure they understand this is your life.  YOU will be the one who doesn’t get that promotion you have your eye on or could possibly even lose your job over something as small as an inappropriate comment from your date.  You do not want to be embarrassed.

Which brings us to the age-old question of …..

“How Much Alcohol Should One Consume At A Work Holiday Party?”shots

Set your limits and plan ahead. Don’t wait until you are faced with an on the spot decision as you will always lose that battle. Rule of thumb is 2 glasses of wine or beer for the entire night. You can milk it all night if you must have a drink in your hand “to be cool.” No one should pressure you into drinking. It is your choice. Don’t give into peer pressure. You are not a teenager any longer even if you still act like one. This is your company party. Think about the consequences of getting plastered and doing something you will regret for the rest of your life. Pretend there’s a little angel on your shoulder whenever you want to have another drink… think again.  One last DON’T… no shots!


Topics of Discussion

Santa Claus holding a quill pen whilst checking the naughty or nice list.

Although it sounds kinda stuffy, you should pre-plan topics you think are appropriate for the holiday party. There is a fine line when it comes to chatter. First rule of thumb-NO GOSSIP. Don’t fall into the trap of talking about other co-workers. Stick to who is in front of you and ask light, personal questions with topics such as hobbies, favorite books or movies, restaurants they have visited, vacation locales. Never pry and do not get too deep.  Asking if Carol in Accounting had liposuction is not holiday party subject matter. Do ask how their children or parents are doing. Do not discuss work issues at the party. Only exception would be if your supervisor or the owner of the company asks you a question directly. Otherwise, brush off the question by saying something like “Now that’s a good question, let’s talk about it on Monday.”

Is It Time To Go Yet?

You really didn’t want to come to the party but you know you had no choice. How long do you have to stay? That depends on the type of party and how big your company is too. If you work for a big corporation, and the party has 500 guests, you are pretty safe to come and go in a short period of time. Make sure the CEO or at least your supervisor knows you are there. Have a short conversation with them. Mingle with coworkers for a little and skedaddle. For small businesses, you need to stay longer. Schmooze your boss a little and enjoy the night. Either way, remember, they are having this party for YOU. They are being nice, so you should too. If dinner is provided, wait until after dessert before making your exit.


It’s Not Over Til It’s Over

A thank you card should be sent to your company owner or if a large corporation, you can skip this step. If you know your CEO/Boss has an assistant, you can bet they did 95% of the planning for this event and you may want to send him or her a thank you card as well. Don’t know what to say? Check out The Thank You Diva.


Hope you enjoyed this article….now go enjoy your holiday party!

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