Holiday Dos and Don’ts

ConferoThe Office Party Edition

by Christopher Confero   


With holiday countdowns already ticking and store aisles filling up with seasonal décor, it’s that time of year again. So, between the formal galas and the family gatherings, there needs to be a game plan when the time comes for the annual holiday office party. The invite does say “party,” and yes, you are allowed to enjoy yourself. However, don’t mistake that for leaving all your inhibitions behind, especially with upper-level management present. Save yourself the awkward mishaps and hassle of last-minute preparation with my list of holiday dos and don’ts. After all, you want to return from the holiday break in better lighting with your boss and coworkers than before.


DO Respond in Timely Manner:

The planning party sent out the invites weeks before the party, and it asks for your RSVP. In my experience as both a party planner and goer, the most respectful thing to do is to give ample notice whether you do or don’t plan to attend. This gives enough time for those planning the get-together to prepare enough food and drinks. While it is tempting to wait until you know everyone who’s going to the festivities, don’t be afraid to be bold early on.


DON’T Skip the Party:

Just because it’s an office party doesn’t mean it’s an extension of the work day. It gives you the opportunity to talk to those in different departments and make connections. You’ll get to see your coworkers in a more personal setting, which can make going to work more delightful.


DO Bring a Guest If You Can: 

I like the idea of bringing a guest with you to the holiday office party. It gives people more of a sense of who you are away from the desk. But be sensible of who’s your plus one. This person is a reflection of who you are, and people will take notice.


DON’T Cling:

You might have your group of friends at work that you like to go to lunch with regularly, but this is a chance for you to deviate from the norm. Take the time to introduce yourself and your guest to others.


DO Dress Appropriately:

Remember to put your best foot forward, and that often starts with a great shoe. Usually, the invite will state the dress code, but in the case that piece of information was left absent, don’t assume. It’s better to be safe and ask then to be the one dressed in festive garb when everyone else is in formal wear. There’s a reason why the saying “better to be overdressed than underdressed” still holds true.


DON’T Overindulge:

An open bar can give life to a party, but there’s a fine line between having a good time and embarrassing oneself. Make sure to keep your alcoholic beverages to a minimum and to drink plenty of water. Worst-case scenario is that you get back to the office only to hear about something you did, but you don’t remember one bit. Same goes for all the finger foods that are surely as delicious as they look—don’t spend all night snacking. My tip is to eat a small meal beforehand so that your eyes aren’t as big as your stomach.


DO Carry Your Drinks in Your Left Hand:

I do always like to keep my right hand free from food or drink when at a party. This allows for a chance to properly meet and greet others. Not to mention your hand won’t be cold or damp when the new supervisor goes in for the handshake.


DO Stay off Your Phone:

I will be the first to say that technology is a wondrous asset to us all, but it has its place and time. That’s why I always try to get guests off their phone and on to socializing. The holiday party is a great chance for you to keep your phone in your pocket or off. Try it! It’s actually a breath of fresh air not to look at a screen for a few hours. But if there’s something you do choose to post on social media, ensure it’s appropriate for the whole office to see.


DON’T Forget the Thank You:

It comes every year, and it’s over in the matter of a few hours. But the work that goes into the party isn’t simple. Make sure to thank the person or people responsible for the coordinating the party. Not only is it a small gesture that shows your appreciation, but it could be helpful later around the office.

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