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Company Holiday Party Etiquette

Christmas may still be a bit away, but we are squarely in the thick of office holiday party season. Work parties come in all forms, levels of excess, expectations, etc. However, there are still some basic rules of etiquette to follow this holiday season whether you are attending your own or another company’s office holiday party. Etiquette advice this holiday season is everywhere, so I’ve scrounged up some of the best, along with adding some of my own seasoned thoughts.

First off, if you’re allowed to bring a plus-one make sure you choose wisely. Bringing the life of the party may seem like a good way to liven up a boring bash, but make sure that person doesn’t get rowdy or obnoxious. By the same token, inviting someone who will cling to you and whom you will have to entertain all night may prove to be equally problematic.

Next, dress the part. Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the event. If you are unsure of what to where, consult the website where the party will be held, or get clarification from the party organizers. Don’t reveal too much, and unless your invite specifically says costume party, stay away from anything too festive. Save the Santa suit for Christmas Eve.

When talking to coworkers, be sure to avoid controversial topics of conversation. As a general rule, stay away from politics, religion, office gossip and anything you think may cause disagreements. People are very sensitive to certain topics. Stick to safe topics.

For aspiring photogs, I really like “The Two Fridge” test mentioned by a Huffington Post Canada article. If you don’t mind kids or coworkers seeing the picture, then it’s probably acceptable to post on social media. (This is also a great rule of thumb in your job search.) Avoid being ‘that’ person at the holiday party with your pictures and skip the crazy poses. Instead, make sure everyone is OK with having their picture taken and keep it to a minimum. Enjoy the evening; don’t worry about having 15 photos to post on Facebook about it, since not everyone is as photo fanatic.

Finally, remember the old adage, “Loose Lips, Sink Ships.” Having a drink or two is acceptable, if you can handle it. Just make sure you don’t drink to excess. Office parties are still work functions. Remember that. If you start to feel yourself getting overly chatty, or a little too loose, grab a glass of water and some food. If you don’t want anyone to know you’ve stopped drinking, especially at an office that tends to consume more, use this great tip from the Boston Herald: get a mixed drink to start like a rum and Coke, then switch out to a virgin Coke after the first drink.

For more tips, The Sydney Morning Herald offers a couple more suggestions for this office party season. So have fun, enjoy, and happy holidays!

Do you have some other etiquette tips for those attending company parties this holiday season? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by JoeInSouthernCA

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Jen works as a Marketing Project Manager for a restaurant, a kitchen assistant for cooking classes, helps with database management, does some freelance writing, and more. She received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government & Politics in 2011. Currently, she resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an avid sports fan.

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