by Lauren Bourdages, Senior Assistant, INALJ Ontario
8 Office Holiday Party dos and don’ts as told by Christmas Carol lyrics
In the memorable words of Andy Williams in the holiday classic It’s the Most Wonderful time of the Year “There’ll be parties for hosting” –
We’re specifically concerned workplace parties in this case, and the fact that workplace parties as we all know, come with their own set of rules. So in the spirit of the holidays, here are a few handy tips for surviving the office holiday party season, as given to us by some of the other holiday tunes we’re all familiar with:
DO – “Mix and a-mingle” – Jingle Bell Rock
Office holiday parties are the perfect time and perfect place to flex your networking muscles! This is especially true of whole organisation office parties where everyone from the Director (who you may or may not get to interact with on a daily basis), to the Paging staff and possibly even the Board depending on your workplace is going to be there. So take the opportunity to talk to those higher-ups you might not normally talk to! Mingle with everyone, and you have the perfect starting point for your conversations, ask them what their holiday plans are!
DO – “Don we now our gay apparel” – Deck the Halls
Office holiday parties COULD have the same dress code as your every day at the office, or they might have a more or less strict one. It depends on the party. That’s the key know what kind of party your office is holding and dress appropriately for the occasion. The last thing you want to do is show up in business casual and find out that this year they decided to change it up and the party is a semi-formal event now; or vice-versa because you also don’t want to be over-dressed for the party! And always ask before coming to work in your ugly Christmas sweaters just to be sure!
DON’T – “She’d been drinkin’ too much egg nog” – Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Please, please, PLEASE don’t be like the Grandma in this song at your office’s holiday party! There are too many funny/bad office holiday party stories out there about people who overindulged at the open bar. Yes there may be an open bar or other method of acquiring lots of free drinks, but you do not need to take advantage of them. Remember you are still at work, even though it’s a party. Drink responsibily, stay safe, and enjoy the fact that the next day you’ll still remember exactly what you, and everyone else said and did at the party.
DON’T – “Late in time behold him come” – Hark the herald Angels sing
Even if you’re not usually on time, be on time for the office holiday party. None of this “fashionably late” nonsense. My dad had a fantastic life motto and it’s one I strive to follow (even though I sometimes fail), he always said “If you’re 5 minutes early you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late, you’re screwed” I can’t remember him actually using the word screwed because I was only a kid when he’d drilled it into my head, but that was the gist of it. Being late is not ideal at any time, but being late for the holiday party, if you can avoid it, seems especially rude.
DO – “Let your heart be light” – Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
As Judy Garland so beautifully reminds us, the holidays are a season of joy and happiness. Don’t get so bogged down in social etiquettes that you forget that. The office holiday party is a time to have a good time and relax with your coworkers. Don’t think or talk about work during it. Remember to take some time off and let go of some of your stress.
DON’T – “Dashing through the snow” – Jingle Bells
Yeah, yeah I know I just finished telling you up there that being late to the office holiday party is a don’t, but remember I did say IF it’s avoidable. If you live somewhere where it’s snowy during the holiday season and you have to drive or otherwise travel to get to your office’s holiday party I’d rather you get there late than see you get into an accident because you were dashing through a snowy landscape. If you’re going to be battling old man winter remember to leave earlier than you normally would to give yourself lots of time to arrive safely. It’s better to arrive late and all in one piece than not arrive at all!
DO – “And I’ve bought some corn for popping” – Let it Snow
Make sure you find out if you’re expected to bring something to the office holiday party. Many offices do a potluck lunch/dinner and you’re definitely expected to bring some food to that! There could be other instances where you’re expected to as well, for example your Director may invite everyone over to their house for dinner and ask that each person bring an appetiser or dessert. If you are expected to bring something, remember to bring something! It doesn’t have to be a home baked/home-made dish that you spent hours on, but it should be something that has enough quantity that it can be shared by multiple people.
DON’T – “Mistletoe hung where you can see” – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
This is along the same lines as not drinking too much at the holiday party. Yes, I know it’s a party, but prefacing that word is the word OFFICE or WORKPLACE. Remember that and you’ll be okay. The key here is, don’t do anything or engage in any behaviours that you normally wouldn’t do at a regular day at the office. Dance and have a drink or two and have a good time, but don’t say or do anything that you could end up regretting. The last thing you want is to become the butt of someone else’s holiday party horror story.