Surviving the Company Christmas Party

Don’t let dim lights, loud music and an open bar impair your judgment at the office holiday party

Credit: iStock / PeskyMonkey

Don’t let impaired judgment at the office Christmas party ruin your reputation

10 ways to be perfectly professional at your company Christmas party

Has “behave better next year” ever been your post-company-party New Year’s resolution? Office parties can be a fun way to make workplace connections and meet the bosses and mentors who will lead you to your future roles.

But don’t let dim lights, loud music and an open bar impair your judgment. Remember, even when you’re at the company party, you’re still on the job. Here are 10 rules on how to be perfectly professional at the party.

Office Christmas Party Etiquette

  1. Show up, and arrive on time. Let your colleagues know that you think enough of them to make an appearance, even if it has to be a brief one.

  2. Dress appropriately. Whether the party is in the lunchroom or at a bar, your clothes should reflect your career aspirations and be appropriate for the occasion. Don’t show up in something that’s barely there.

  3. Limit alcohol. Stick to one or two drinks (if any) to reduce your chances of an unfortunate faux pas. A glass of soda water with lime will keep you looking festive. Know your limit.

  4. Greet the big boss (or bosses). Seek them out early and share a few words of conversation, especially if you’ve never met. But remember, they have a lot of people to talk to, so don’t monopolize them.

  5. Get to know new people. Take advantage of the opportunity to make connections outside your usual working circle.

  6. Converse respectfully. It’s great to be remembered for your friendly conversation, but not for flirtation, inappropriate behaviour, aggressiveness, complaining or insulting jokes.

  7. Don’t take chances with your guest. Check ahead of time to see if you can or should bring a date. Make sure your guest is as familiar as you are with office party etiquette.
  8. Plan your return. Before you leave for the party, know how you’re going to get home safely.

  9. Follow through. When you come back in the New Year, make good on any agreements you made while at the party.

  10. Resolve to be kind. If others at the event didn’t follow these rules, don’t contribute to gossip when you return to work. Getting swept into a negative rumour mill can eat away at the emotional benefits of your holiday break.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.