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You Versus The Office Holiday Party

It’s that time of year again. Winter weather is upon us, the Christmas decorations adorn your house, deals and bargains flood your inbox from any and every company, and you have to figure out just exactly what everyone needs on your Christmas list. Seriously, you can’t go and get your mother a bathrobe again. And you know what else this season brings? Office holiday parties.

Punch Bowl
Punch Bowl

Office holiday parties are the time of year where everyone gets together to celebrate a job well-done, mingling over food and drink in an easy-going environment that takes everyone away from their desks. But office holiday parties can make or break your image at the company. “The Christmas party is not a protected environment to do things you wouldn’t normally do during the year,” notes Mike Emmott, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) employee relations adviser, to The Guardian. And since you probably don’t want to be labeled “that employee” the next day, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re tipping back some egg nog at the company holiday party:

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1. Don’t overdo it on the drinks.

Everybody knows their drinking limit. It’s that point at which you have consumed enough drinks where word vomit takes over, and you think that your karaoke skills are par-none. And you should most definitely not pass your limit at the holiday office party. First and foremost, you don’t have to make a fool of yourself in front of your coworkers. Plus, you don’t want to be the guy at work tomorrow who is suffering from an all day hangover and looking like hell. Keep it safe by limiting yourself to two drinks, and avoid eating any salty or greasy foods; such foods will make you drink more.

2. Choose to talk about anything but business.

When it comes to talking about business, try and keep it out of the picture. Office parties are your chance to interact and get to know your coworkers outside of the cubicle and email-driven environment that is your Monday-to-Friday bread-winning career. So strike up a conversation with someone in another department, or get to know your CEO a little better. It’s a good time to show some holiday cheer, help others, and to let others know that you have a life outside of work. Which means that you can talk about your cats and unhealthy Arrested Development obsession to your heart’s desire.

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3. White Elephant should not be a hostile environment.

If your office is nice enough to conduct a White Elephant gift exchange, you shouldn’t let it become a free-for-all gift rager where you’re leaving your favorite coworker with a crudely crocheted scarf. Remember that scene in “The Office” where Michael Scott brings in an iPod and everyone goes berserk trying to get it? You don’t want that guilt on your hands. Bring something tasteful that isn’t a beer pong set or a Hello Kitty calendar. While alcohol is a safe bet, something fun, festive, and timely is probably a better pick.

4. Keep your attire classy.

That rude and tasteless Christmas sweater you found online? Yeah, that probably won’t be a good idea. There certainly isn’t a problem being funny and dressing festive, but know that you have a limit. It’s probably best to avoid dressing up like Santa, too, because that could lead to all sorts of unwanted attention…and trouble that could involve too much lap-sitting. Keep it conservative, keep it chic, and keep it real. Remember that even though this is a party, office rules are still in effect.

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5. Be cautious about bringing a date.

Sometimes riding solo can be a good thing, and that is no exception when it comes to an office holiday party. First and foremost, there will be plenty of pressure on you to keep a good image among the holiday beverages and laid-back atmosphere. Which means you’ll want to be focused on keeping a professional, yet friendly face. You can’t exactly expect the same out of your date. So if he or she happens to become obliterated, it’s on you, buddy.

All in all, we’re not asking you to be a Scrooge. We’re just asking that you sprinkle a bit of respect and restraint over your egg nog, sugar cookies, and abhorrent Christmas sweater. Oh, and avoid that mistletoe at all costs.

Austin Mallick

Austin Mallick

From the 203 to the 415 to San Diego. Beer snob. Coffee addict. Oxford Comma supporter. Cats over dogs. Is butter a carb?

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