‘Tis the season of the Christmas party.
Whilst Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and peace to all men, the Christmas party is traditionally seen as quite the opposite.
Cue bad DJ playing a selection of Christmas classics, and awkward conversations with people you don’t really know that well at the bar. It always seems like a good idea before the big night, but let’s face it, they’re usually a little less ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ and a little more ‘Fairytale of New York’.
Even with management coming up with ever more ingenious ways to keep things in check (e.g. the old ‘party on a weeknight’ trick), the combination of a free bar and a shiny dance floor can make the annual office knees-up a potential minefield.
In the highly unlikely event we can offer some advice you’ll actually use, here’s our list of Christmas party do’s and don’ts…
Christmas party: do’s:
- Pace yourself – If you’re a drinker, this is often easier said than done, but you should try and keep it in mind. Let’s be honest, the office party usually means you’re in it for the long haul. Make sure you eat properly in preparation, even if there’s food provided (the buffet won’t last long). Finally, make sure you have plenty of water in between drinks to keep hydrated.
Remember: Try and avoid mixing your drinks. Don’t let yourself become another Tequila statistic
- Buddy up – Chances are, you may find it hard to keep to the first point. If you think this might be the case, always plan ahead. Find a colleague who you’re close with and make a pact. That way, if one of you ends up falling asleep at the bar or crying into your Chardonnay, someone is there to look out for you.
- Get involved – It’s an unavoidable truth that at least one person or group of people will avoid interaction or enjoyment at all costs – or alternatively, can’t keep their thumb off the Facebook check-in button. It’s also an unavoidable truth that this doesn’t endear them to anyone. There’s a time and a place, and the Christmas party’s not it.
Remember: Any embarrassing pictures can wait until the next morning. They also help with the flashbacks…
- Avoid the mistletoe – Some people embrace the Christmas spirit a little too much. And, after a few drinks too many, it may seem like a good idea to express your true feelings to that special person in the office. Mistletoe is not your friend, and should be avoided at all costs.
‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ also falls into this category. Cornering your crush singing Mariah Carey at the top of your lungs is pretty much bordering on torture.
- Book your cab home in advance – Possibly the most important tip of all. Because nobody wants to sleep in the station waiting for the first train home.
Other things to remember: Thank the host, thank your boss, keep your shoes in sight, avoid the photocopier.
Christmas party: don’ts:
- Be honest – A wise man once said ‘at Christmas, you tell the truth’. However, this should, in no way, apply to your Christmas party. Starting sentences with ‘I didn’t like you when I first met you’, ‘wow, you scrub up well’ and ‘don’t say anything, but…’ will not form part of an effective career progression plan.
- Talk excessively about work – Targets, projections and any other work-based conversations should be provisionally left at the door. You’re there to eat, drink and be merry. Work should only be brought up in emergency situations, such as getting caught in a one-on-one situation with the managing director.
The rule here is necessity. A boring conversation is always better than an awkward silence.
- Network – See above. If you’re looking for a promotion, this probably isn’t the best place to do it. By all means branch out and talk to someone new, but don’t overdo it. After a few drinks, you might not be making quite the impression you think you are.
- Get too serious – As a rule, avoid speaking about religion, politics and money. People can have strong opinions about these things, and they’re unlikely to change them during the course of the evening, no matter how charming and persuasive you think you’re being.
- Cry – If you’re an emotional drunk, always take proper precautions. Waterproof mascara is definitely the way forward.
Other things not to do: Sing, stare, steal, attempt to make a toast, break dance.
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