As the festive season gets into full swing, the work Christmas party is snowballing ever closer. You’ve endured 12 months worth of emails, invoices and early mornings and now it’s the ‘season to be jolly.’ For many of us this is an occasion we welcome with eggnog-gripped hands. For others, it’s just grin and bear it. Regardless of what category you fall into, here’s some advice to help you conduct yourself properly throughout the festivities.
I’ll kick things off with what you should be doing:
Regardless of how much you hate Christmas, socialising or even worse the culmination of both, this should be considered as obligatory. You’ve (supposedly) put in the hard work for the whole year and the Christmas party presents you with the opportunity to really get to know your work colleagues and share a few well-earned tipples.
Work the room and socialise
Take advantage of the occasion! Unless you work for a small company, most of us will rarely speak to the VIPs – so take a big gulp of your drink and go and make yourself known. Everyone else usually avoids them; so it presents a great opportunity for you to make polite conversation, thank them for the party and tell a few (non-racist) jokes. Avoid talking about work and most importantly your pay-scale/Christmas bonus!
It’s also a great opportunity to speak to the others you rarely see. So make an effort to chat to everyone – yes that includes Jane from HR who over-pronounces everything and Steve from accounts who laughs at the end of every sentence.
Put in a good stint
Unless you have a genuine excuse, you shouldn’t show up late and leave early. If the evening involves a sit-down meal, then don’t leave promptly after the mince pies. This will give the impression you only came for the free meal, plus you’ll miss out on some valuable networking time. When it’s eventually time to leave you mustn’t do a back-door-shuffle and slip out unnoticed. You must thank the party organisers and take the time to say proper farewells to everyone else – it’s Christmas after all.
Now for the fun stuff – what not to do:
Drink too much
This is the most important rule of all. Of course you should enjoy yourself and take advantage of the occasion. But it’s important to remember that you’ll be held accountable for any trouble you may cause. As a cautionary measure you should drink water in between alcoholic beverages and take full advantage of whatever food is up for grabs. If self-control is an issue then don’t stray too far from the buffet table, as you will probably need to be eating all night. You should ensure you’re not the most intoxicated person in the room, as everyone will notice. Conversely, you don’t want to be the most sober; this will result in your colleagues thinking you’re a bit of a stiff. Somewhere in the middle is always best.
Talk about work
You’ve spent the whole year talking about work, so save the facts and figures for the office and really get to know your colleagues. Most people want to forget about work when they aren’t on the clock, so start practicing your small talk. As hard as this may be for some, you should also refrain from gossiping; especially if it’s at someone else’s expense. You never know who is listening and more importantly it’s not very festive.
Stay glued to your phone
There’s nothing more annoying than watching someone lean against a wall for the entirety of the night with their gaze set firmly on a little rectangular screen. Why would you choose to update a status claiming you’re having a great time, when you could actually be having a great time and interacting with people in the same physical space as you? You should also avoid being the type of phone user who photographs and uploads everything to social media. This can be very annoying for everyone else and often makes people feel self-conscious. Moreover, if you capture something unfavourable and it gets circulated around the office, it could have serious repercussions.
Make X-rated photocopies
Steer clear of the photocopying machine! It may seem like a great idea to photocopy your breasts, buttocks or anything else at the time. However, if you get caught there’s a strong chance the joke will be on you and in some extreme cases it could result in you being out of a job!
Come in late the next day
Unless you’ve specifically been given a later start time, or you’re lucky enough to have had your party on a Friday, then the next day at work still counts. So regardless of how bad you feel the next morning, you must drag yourself out of bed and into work on time. There’s a strong chance that you embarrassed yourself last night, so put on a brave face and tackle it head-on. People will respect you for it. This is also a good opportunity to apologise to anyone you may have offended!
Now you’re armed with all the information you could ever need, it’s almost time to get ridiculously drunk at the Christmas party and forget it all! Happy holidays.
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