Office Holiday Party Do’s and Don’ts

Whether you’ve been working for years or you’re at your first internship, office holiday parties are part of the working world. These parties are not your family and friend holiday gatherings and the rules of engagement are slightly different. Read below for our tips on how to impress your colleagues and still have fun.

1. Limit your drinks

This is not a fun night out with your friends. Having a drink or two is acceptable but beyond that you may raise eyebrows.

2. Take Lyft or Uber


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3. To go or not to that even a question?

The office holiday party is a chance to hang out with colleagues, socialize and share some team spirit. If you don’t go they’ll miss you and you’ll be left out in the cold around holiday party references until the next year when you’ll have the chance to redeem yourself. If you can’t go, make sure your reason is very good: you’re very sick or you seriously have a prior commitment. That’s it. No other excuse to skip out.

4. Dress for the theme, but be work appropriate

If your office party has a theme, try to get into the spirit. If you’re not into ugly sweaters or costumes, add some fun accessories, like a tie, pin or jewelry.  Remember, though, it’s still a work function, so keep your clothing choices in line with your office’s dress policy.

5. Mix it up! Talk to new people

Everyone has a work bestie or two or three. You know, the same group that you run to with juicy gossip (but don’t gossip at work), eat lunch with and occasionally hang out with outside of the office. For this event, say hi, hang out for a bit, but branch out. Holiday parties are also opportunities to increase your intra-office network, which is oh so key when you’re looking for that promotion.

6. Keep polite conversation

With so much going on in the world it may seem trite to keep things light and easy, but it’s a holiday party. Think of it like an extended interview. The music, mood and spirits can make our lips a bit looser, but do your best to stick to neutral topics. This is a great time to brush up on sports or trending books, music and TV shows. We had a colleague who watched Netflix on lunch so that she could keep up to date with office banter…we think she’s onto something. And for the record, avoid politics and religion like the plague.

7. Bring someone who puts you at ease

If you’re given the opportunity to bring a guest, this means that you’re allowed to bring a significant other. This does not mean your newest Tinder hookup or your roommate who wants free food and drinks. Just don’t.

8. Don’t arrive empty-handed

Some offices will host the holiday party at a manager’s house. If this is the case, bring an appetizer or bottle of wine to share if requested (not a fifth or a 40). You might also consider bringing a gift for the host. This doesn’t need to cost more than $10 and can be something that anyone could use.

9. Don’t eat your dinner at the party

Unless the invitation says that dinner will be served, don’t plan to stuff your face. Eat a decent meal before arriving so that you’re not tempted to scarf down all the appetizers. Sharing is caring – save some for your colleagues.

10. Say thank you to the organizers

This may seem lame because you feel obligated to attend, but not every employer hosts a holiday party.  While a thank you note afterward is not necessary, make sure to personally thank all or some of the organizers before you leave.

Authors Maria Kuntz and Julia Nelson are work besties at the University of Denver and hope that you have a great holiday season!

By Maria Kuntz
Maria Kuntz Assistant Director, Advancement Marketing