Snow is on the ground, a chill is in the air, and suddenly everything is eggnog or gingerbread flavored. Winter is coming and that can only mean one thing—the office holiday party is right around the corner. Office parties can be tricky but there’s no reason to stress this festive corporate function. Here are some office party etiquette tips:
Dress for success
Make sure to ask around and get a sense of the office party dress code beforehand. Have fun dressing up, but remember that the office holiday party is not the occasion to break out your favorite mesh shirt or thigh high boots. Appropriateness is key. Dress codes vary from office to office, but a good general rule is to wear something festive, yet conservative.
Bring a gift
If the party is being hosted at the home of your boss or one of your coworkers, be sure to show up with a gift. You don’t need to shell out for an iPad or something from Tiffany’s—a simple gesture like a fruit basket or box of chocolates will suffice. Though many people enjoy a bottle of wine, it is always a safer bet to bring something non-alcoholic. Whatever you bring, a nice, handwritten thank you card will show your appreciation.
Sure, the office holiday party is certainly a good time to loosen up a bit, but be sure to remember that it is still a business function. Drink responsibly. You may have had good times at a Phish concert or your fraternity’s beer pong Olympics, but now is not the time to relive those memories. Set a drink quota and stick to it. Nobody wants to be the topic of the next day’s water cooler gossip.
Keep your love life under wraps
On television shows like Grey’s Anatomy, office romances are almost part of the job description, but remember that real life is not a primetime soap opera. If guests are invited, definitely feel free to bring your partner along, but be sure to keep PDA and romantic dancing to a minimum. This rule is especially true if you are dating someone from the office. The holiday party is not the time to reveal your romance.
Mix and mingle
Since the office holiday party is, at its core, a business function, use this time as an opportunity to mingle, network, and get to know people you might not ordinarily talk to during the work day. In this more casual setting, it’s easier to get to know a coworker for their interests beyond the job description. Frank in IT might seem like a boring cube worker during the day, but now is your chance to learn about his cool band or vegan cooking blog. Come prepared to make small talk.
After all is said and done, the office holiday party is still a place to have a good time. Show up on time and commit yourself to making the party fun. Though this function may not be at the top of your season’s social calendar, your boss and your coworkers will respect you more if you demonstrate a good attitude. Come ready to share in the joy of the season.
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