Every single year, Christmas creeps up before you even know it!
People try to fight it, either by explaining how Christmas shouldn’t be a thing until December comes around, or by rolling their eyes anytime they see Christmas decorations. But if life has taught us anything, is that there’s no escaping Christmas. You see, on October 31st, at 12:00 am, that’s when Christmas really starts. Whether or not there’s snow on the ground, Christmas is a two month ordeal full of happiness, snow, and overpriced gingerbread lattes. There’s really no point in fighting it. Sure, maybe you can convince yourself that Christmas isn’t even close in the very beginning of November, but as December gets closer, and snow starts falling, the signs are unmistakable. All you have to do is turn on that one radio station that only plays Christmas music, cozy up with a peppermint coffee, and start thinking of how broke you’re going to be after you do all your Christmas shopping.
Trust us, it’s better that way. You really can’t be sad when all you’ve had to drink or eat for an entire month is eggnog.
You’ll know that there’s really no escaping this winter hell wonderland when your office announces its annual Christmas party. Now last year you may have gotten away with pretending to be sick, and the year before that your ‘sister’ conveniently got ‘sick’. But this year, you’ve become friendly with all the other employees (and your boss threatened to fire you if you don’t come), so you really don’t have much of a choice.
Right about now you’re probably thinking of all the awkward experiences you had in high school and university/college when you went out to parties, and the thought of embarrassing yourself in front of all your co-workers is even scarier. There’s really nothing we can do to make you any less embarrassing or socially inept, but we can definitely give you some tips that will help you resemble what a competent member of society would look like at a Christmas party.
CHRISTMAS (PARTY) IN THE OFFICE TIPS
So take out your handy-dandy note pad, finish off that salad bowl of eggnog, and let’s get started!
Use a Plan to look good at Holiday Season parties
Your boss probably thinks they’re hip and relevant, so they’re most likely going to set some kind of theme for the party, and they’ll be expecting that you follow it to the best of your abilities. It’s important to wear something tasteful but also funny, because the last thing you want to do is to offend any of your fellow co-workers. Let’s say that the theme is Santa’s reindeer, with your boss being dressed as Santa. For starters, don’t come dressed as Santa. Your boss might see that as a hint that you’re trying to take away their power and knock them off the Christmas throne, and that’ll probably land you a swift right hook to the fake beard.
Don’t get on Santa’s (your boss’s) naughty list!
You also want to be very careful of what kind of reindeer you come dressed as. After all, it’s an office party, so office rules still apply. If your office doesn’t allow short skirts, that probably applies to the party. If you’re not sure, you can either ask, or to be safe, just take the more conservative option. These are great examples of what not to wear:
You know, unless it’s that kind of office.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to make your coworkers uncomfortable, and most of all, you don’t want to go down in the history of the office as the employee that had such an inappropriate costume, that people mistook you for the nights’ entertainment.
Remember those parties that you went to in school, where half the people ended up with alcohol poisoning, and the other half now have life-time regrets?
Yeah, this isn’t one of those parties.
When an office throws a party, no one really means a party in the traditional sense of the word. The whole office party thing is really just a cover. It’s a chance for your boss to see how you react when the reigns are taken off, and that means that it’s a test. And who knew that the hardest tests would have an open bar? It may be appealing to spend the whole night taking advantage of the bar and gossiping about office romances, but that could end very poorly for you.
Let’s be real, you can’t control yourself when you’re drunk. Who really can? Probably no one at that party can, and that’s why they stay in their limits, and make sure to keep the drinks at a minimum. If you’re looking to get wild and rowdy, perhaps an office party isn’t the best venue.
Alcohol is like responsibility. Show your boss that you can handle it.
Your office Christmas party may have food, or it might not. Let’s review either possibility. In the event that it does have food, you don’t want to be the only one stuffing your face the whole time. That might give the impression that you’re just there for the food, and even though that’s most likely the case, you certainly don’t want anyone knowing that. The best way to handle this is to have a hearty meal beforehand, so that once you get there, you can have a couple bites here and there, but you’re not gorging the whole time. Combine food with alcohol, and you have a bunch of hungry adults who have no idea when to stop eating, and later in the night, can’t stop puking. Since you’ll be in a social work setting, try and limit the options that you have to embarrass yourself, and see this as an opportunity for some light snacking.
Now, let’s say that the party doesn’t have food. If you show up hungry, you might find yourself leading the movement to order pizza, and depending on your boss, they might see that as you taking control (in a good way), or you taking control (in a bad way). In this case you’re also better off grabbing a meal before, and if you really can’t resist munching while at a party, take the initiative and bring some snacks. Your co-workers will love the gesture, and might just forget about that time they caught you making photocopies of your butt.
Enjoy your company Christmas party food & drink responsibly.
This isn’t a challenge.
4. Standing Out:
Everyone wants to be remembered, but there’s a time and a place for making that happen. Office Christmas parties are not on that list of places (unless of course, you’re the one to bring Doritos Sweet Chili Heat. That’s something to be remembered for). There’s a lot of things you can do that will leave you being remembered in not the fondest of ways, and we’ll start with the most basic.
This is where the money’s at.
If there’s music, people will be dancing. If alcohol is involved, this dancing will be a bit raunchier than usual. Don’t be the one to raise the bar for raunchiness, which means no crazy dance movies, or anything that can be interpreted as acrobatics. If you want to see a show, you can just call a professional. Don’t be the party clown.
Apart from provocative dancing, office parties are also not the place for sharing your deepest opinions. Consider just how many people work for the company, and how many collective opinions there are between all of them. Someone is bound to disagree with you, or even worse, to get offended. If you happen to offend someone, you can kiss your office career goodbye. That means no sharing political opinions, no explaining to others about why your boss is out of touch and hates their life, and especially no mean gossip.
Finally, let’s talk clothing etiquette. We reviewed what you should do in the case of a costume a party, but what if there’s no theme? A safe bet is to dress office casual, with shirt and pants always on. Look, we also go through every single day, waiting for an opportunity to rip our pants off and lounge around our home in the full glory of our nakedness. But the key word here is ‘home’, which means that an office party is not the setting to share your best qualities with your co-workers. Unless some activity directly calls for the removal of clothing (in which case, where’s our invite?), you should keep all your clothes on throughout the party. Also, any office etiquette about employee relations applies. Just because there’s alcohol, doesn’t mean there aren’t rules.
Don’t let this be you.
5. Ending the Night:
Last but not least, it’s important to be able to understand when the party is coming to an end. If it’s nearing midnight, and people are starting to head home, that’s not an invitation to yell at them for being weak, and chugging a bottle of whatever’s closest to prove your abilities. There’s a certain grace in finishing the night along with everyone, so be wary of when the party is fizzling out. If your co-workers are looking to split a cab, join them! Being the last one standing could mean being stuck in the room with just your boss, right as the alcohol begins to peak. That’s a bad recipe for getting that raise that you’ve been looking for.
The Christmas office party will go down in the history of the office, and any buffoonery that occurs will be remembered, with appropriate nicknames made. Ask yourself, do you really want to be called “The Shirtless Devil” for the rest of your employment there?
Keep it safe, and follow these basic rules of party office etiquette. And most of all, have a good time!
Your job depends on it.