Tips on Surviving (and Thriving at) Your Office Holiday Party


Is your company hosting a holiday party this year? If so, take a moment to brush up on some office holiday party dos and don’ts to ensure that you don’t find yourself the “talk” of the office. Remember, your office party is still a business setting disguised as a social event.


Most importantly, do attend! If your company is kind enough to host a holiday party this year, do take the time to make an appearance. With the economic uncertainty around us, if your company is investing the time and money, you should show your appreciation in person.

Do RSVP by the deadline. Think of the party planner.

Do wear festive, but appropriate clothing. If you have to ask your friend, significant other, or co-worker if your outfit is appropriate, it probably isn’t.

Do be on time and arrive in a happy, positive, and festive mood. No one wants to be cornered by a “Debbie Downer.” The holidays are a time to celebrate and have fun with your co-workers. And don’t make your office party the third stop on the party circuit. Arrive fresh, early, and ready for holiday cheer.

Do take photos, but keep them respectable. No one wants an unflattering or compromising picture on the company blog, Intranet, or Facebook page. Take light, candid shots of all attendees and make an online scrapbook to share with co-workers and friends.

Do keep your significant other or guest in check. You don’t want to be the one whose better half went rogue. Making sure you are on the same page will ensure a good time had by all.

Do work the room and listen more than you talk. This is a great opportunity to meet that new co-worker or use the time to have small talk with the big boss you otherwise don’t have immediate exposure to. Getting to know your boss in a more relaxed, personal level can actually boost your relationship!

Finally, do enjoy the food and drinks (and in that order!). If you are having a few drinks, remember to turn off your social networks, or, like my grandmother would say…”act like you have some home training.”


As stated above, don’t be a no-show.

Don’t forget to thank the host and don’t complain over the details. It’s no small feat to pull off a successful holiday party and you don’t want to be the one caught in the ladies’ room commenting how you would have served shrimp versus the pigs in the blanket.

Don’t fall back into your comfort zone and sit in the corner with your best office friends all night. Give yourself a challenge to talk to three new people – you might just surprise yourself.

If doing a Yankee Swap or Secret Santa, don’t go over the suggested gift amount. Set a limit, stick to it, and don’t try to be the hero.

Don’t forget that people are celebrating various holidays this season. Keep your holiday greetings neutral in respect of those who observe Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the like.

Don’t forget that shots are never a good idea (especially at an office holiday party). Choose beer, wine, and non-alcoholic options. Know your personal limits and stick to them.

Don’t drink and drive. Find a designated driver to ensure you and others on the road enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.

Lastly, don’t forget to have a good time. The year-end holiday party is a great time to unwind and have some fun. You earned it!