Are You Naughty or Nice?

Your Office Holiday Party Survival Guide


We have entered the season of holiday parties. December leads to an endless calendar of parties and get-togethers. One that you may love or even hate is the Office Holiday Party! This one is inevitable.  Most companies have a traditional gathering to celebrate another year of hard work and success. If alcohol, dancing, or any other potential debauchery is involved, it can be a make or break moment for you in the next year to come or even longer. To help you navigate these potentially tricky situations, we have put together a few tips to help you successfully manage the party season with your professional reputation intact!


These are our top ten tips to enjoy the joy and cheer of the season while keeping your dignity unscathed.


1.    Attend the Party! It can hurt you if you don’t show up. The office party is usually an implied mandatory engagement unless you have a really good excuse. It is important to get your “face time” in and socialize with the higher ups. You want to look like an invested team player and someone that enjoys working at the company. Not going makes you stand out in a negative way and may make others feel you are not invested, don’t like your colleagues, or have one foot out the door.

2.    Have a two-drink maximum. Two drinks are enough to loosen you up around co-workers and make you social without becoming obnoxious or inappropriate.  You don’t want to be known as the office lush! Alcohol can impair judgment, and this is not the time to relive moments from Animal House or hit on your boss’ wife. Nurse your drinks to make them last and order something like a club soda with a lemon or a cranberry juice with a lime if you want to be seen with a drink but have already hit your alcohol limit.

3.    Dress Appropriately! You should dress up but remember these still are your co-workers and superiors. You are not auditioning to be on The Bachelor. Keep the cleavage to a minimum (if your outfit would cause wandering and ogling eyes, save it for another party). Sizing up the venue can help with this as well. Attire for a pub is very different than a fancy restaurant downtown. When in doubt, call ahead and ask the restaurant about their dress code. They can advise on requirements such as a sports coat for the gentlemen.

4.    Be careful whom you bring as your date. There is a great saying “you are the company you keep.” Your date is a representation of you, so choose wisely. Your co-workers will want to know all about them and will most likely ask you about the status of your relationship. If you are not serious about this person, it might be best to go solo.

5.    A picture is worth a 1000 words. This is the digital age, and everything is documented, whether you like it or not! Pictures of you and your holiday antics will be posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter before you can even say CHEESE! Making an ass out of yourself in front of co-workers and superiors will follow you throughout your career. You can also potentially kiss a promotion or advancement opportunities goodbye. If you don’t want something to live on past this night, don’t do it! Also, reread tip #2!

6.    No office drama or fights! Let’s face it, you probably don’t like everyone you work with (this is a fact of life) but now is not the time to pick a bone with them or cause any drama. If this is hard for you, it is best to acknowledge them with a smile, a wish of Happy Holidays and move on. Your mother was right; if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. You are not obligated to have a long conversation with them or to sit even next to them, but you do need to be cordial.

7.    Be careful who you hit on or with whom you flirt. Make sure you know the key players in the room. If you are not sure, ask around or introduce yourself. The last thing you want to do is hit on a bosses’ significant other. Nothing says pink slip faster! AWKWARD!!!!

8.    Don’t showcase an office romance. If you happen to be in a relationship with someone from the office, it is best to keep it on the down low. If everyone knows that you are in a relationship already, keep the PDA to a minimum. Co-workers hate favoritism. Office gossip will always be part of the machine so limit what you give them to talk about.

9.    Don’t overshare. There is such a thing as saying too much. Make sure to maintain professional boundaries on the information you share. You never know what can be offensive or uncomfortable to someone else or whether something you shared could impact your job down the line. Once it is out there, you can’t take it back. Remember, you are always creating your personal brand!

10.    Newsflash: you are still at work! Even though you might not be in the office, you still are at work. This is a work function. What you do and say at the party will make the rounds at the water cooler the next day. You don’t want to be the butt of everyone’s jokes, and nothing travels faster than office gossip.

Stick to these tips and you will ace your holiday parties! Enjoy the celebration, you worked hard and deserve the recognition for your achievements this year. Cheers!


If you have any good tips to add, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.