It's that time of year again—holiday office party season is in full swing. But there's no need to get stressed about it.
We have collected past holiday office party etiquette advice from two experts—Miss Conduct columnist Robin Abrahams and Etiquette at Work columnist Peter Post.
Read on for what to do—and what not to do—at your office party. Next
Don't drink too much
Even small quantities of booze can loosen inhibitions and lead you to do things you'll wish you hadn't, wrote Peter Post.
Robin Abrahams adds that if you're in a workplace where people do drink a lot, get something like a rum and Coke or gin and tonic for your first drink, then stick to plain Coke or tonic after that. This way no one will know how much you're not drinking. Next
Get a sense of formality beforehand
You don't want to be wearing an elf sweater and earrings with blinking Rudolph noses when everyone else is in sleek suits, or vice versa, advises Robin Abrahams.
Shown: Suzi Hansen and her husband, Allen Hansen, ride a tandem bicycle dressed as grinches. Next
Be prepared for small talk
Peter Post advises that you have several topics, questions, or comments in mind when you arrive at the party. Also, make an effort to strike up conversations with people you don't know. Next
If there's karaoke, participate
It's just good office politics, says Robin Abrahams. It shows you're a team player and not excessively risk-averse.
Shown from left: Jonathan Noel, Johnny Snapps, Mike Hartford, and Roger Fisk of The Popgun Seven rehearsing for a Holiday Party. Next
Don't host party at inappropriate venue
Don't have the office party at Hooters, or any other place that will make some members of your staff uncomfortable, Robin Abrahams advises. Next
Don't get religious
Robin Abrahams says that if you're throwing the party or in charge of planning it, keep the decorations generic and secular (evergreens, lights) unless yours is a religious workplace. Next
Keep to the guest list
Don't ever bring uninvited guests (spouses, children, even clients) to the office party, Robin Abrahams advises. Next
Give a group gift to the boss
Individual gifts to a superior can quickly turn into a competition in which employees try to outdo each other with the best "boss gift," Peter Post says.
Instead, get together with your colleagues and purchase a joint gift. That way, you'll also avoid any appearance of trying to curry favor. Next
No gag gifts
If your office participates in a Secret Santa, don't give joke or passive-aggressive gifts, such an alarm clock for the person who's always late, Robin Abrahams says.
Shown from right: Workers at Conventures enjoy a rather sedate holiday party with a Yankee swap. Next
No personal items as gifts
Lace underwear, cute boxer shorts, perfume, or cologne could be misconstrued as an unwanted overture, says Peter Post. Choose something nonpersonal, such as tickets to a movie or a play, a gift certificate to a restaurant, a picture frame for a desk, or similar gifts. Next
Give gifts privately
Peter Post advises that if you want to give a gift to a co-worker and you're not giving gifts to other co-workers, give the gift privately away from the office. That way you won't be slighting the co-workers you're not exchanging gifts with. Next
Thank people sincerely
Peter Post says that you should thank the organizer of the office party, your "Secret Santa," your boss, and anyone else at your office who was instrumental in making the holidays a little more joyful at work. Next
Remember: It's still work
You're not at the office party to have fun, you're there to act like you're having fun. Never forget that it's work, says Robin Abrahams.
Peter Post also cautions that no matter how festive the atmosphere, your holiday office party is still a business event. Back to the beginning
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