You’ve just been invited to the office Christmas party! Although the event is supposed to be a blast where you celebrate the holiday with those you’ve been working hard with, you’re not so excited. The problem is that since this is your first company party, you don’t know exactly what to expect.
Internal questions arise like what do you wear?, should you bring a guest?, and how much should you drink? Besides obviously wanting to make a good impression, you’re also focused on not embarrassing yourself in front of your co-workers and managers.
Don’t stress about it because you’ll be fine after you use this guide to get set straight and make the most out of the office Christmas party.
The Office Christmas Party Guide
1. What to wear: Simply because you’re off work doesn’t give you the green light to show up in risqué or casual attire. Shade on the edge of conservative so you are more remembered for your charming personality than wild outfit. And if you’re completely clueless, ask a co-worker what he or she is wearing to get enough information to dress accordingly.
2. Bringing a guest or not: Assuming the invitation doesn’t mention guests, your decision to bring someone depends mostly on the office party venue and amount of people going. If the party is inside the office or at a co-worker’s house, odds are bringing a guest will crowd the location and be frowned upon. However, if the office Christmas party is at a large restaurant or bar or outdoor location, then bringing a guest will most likely be normal.
3. What not to talk about: Although it’s an office party, leave all work-related frustrations, gossip, and comments at the door. The goal of the event is to have good fun and celebrate the organization’s success, not stress about next month’s project or your disagreement with Bob from the third floor.
Since office parties can lead to looser tongues and then “I can’t believe they said that” moments, it’s also wise to be mindful of what you say. Jokes can be hilarious, but first consider if they disrespect or make certain people uncomfortable before you speak them out loud. As long as you don’t talk about work or something inappropriate, you’re probably on the right path. And knowing the words successful people don’t say can help.
4. What to talk about: You can make the greatest impression by learning about the people you work with each day on a personal level. People love to talk about themselves, so you’re bound to find success in asking about your co-workers’ interests, hobbies, and outside of work involvement.
I also encourage you to introduce yourself and get to know a co-worker who you don’t often see at work. For one, learning about their interests and hobbies can help you discover something in common that you never would have known. Two, introducing yourself to someone you don’t know well is a great opportunity to practice your social skills since you don’t see them at the office much, so there’s less pressure. And lastly, this isn’t the reason to be friendly but just a nice benefit, you never know when your positive impression at the party can get you a huge favor later at work.
5. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse: Having your phone in front of your face is neither inviting for other people to talk to you or helpful in engaging other employees, so do without it. It also sends a rude message that you have better things to do or give your attention to, and that’s an impression you don’t want to make.
Also, you bringing out your phone could lead to a cascade effect of others getting on their phone and ruining the environment of the party. Once you see someone on their phone, for some reason humans are inclined to check their phone, too. For these reasons, it’s best to use your cellphone at a minimum.
6. Drinking and eating limits: Planning on drinking as much as you can imagine to show your co-workers that you’re fun and cool? Bad idea. Take it easy on the drinks so your boss doesn’t have to take care of you and get you an Uber. If you need specifics, a two-drink maximum is safe and three drinks is borderline aggressive, in my opinion.
Also, stuffing your face the entire night won’t help you introduce yourself and get involved in good conversations. And the less you eat, the less you have to worry about embarrassing sauce on your face or food in your teeth. A good solution is to eat before or after the party to curb your appetite.
This guide isn’t designed to stop all your fun at the office Christmas party. But to protect you from having too much fun to the extent that your job is in jeopardy when Monday rolls around. Let your goal be to get invited to the next office party, and you’ll be a hit!
Related: How To Make Friends At Work