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Build Your Career Office Life

Holiday Party Etiquette: Stay on the Nice List

Credit: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

In the office, the holidays are a time to celebrate a year of hard work and accomplishments. While sharing drinks and good times at the annual holiday party is fun, it can also easily get out of hand, especially if your company is generous and provides a catered party with an open bar. 

"Alcohol and a loose tongue may add up to a regretful Monday morning equation," said Sharon Schweitzer, founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. "Consider tea, club soda or water. If you choose to drink, do so responsibly."

Etiquette should be in the forefront of your mind from the beginning, including reading the invite carefully (don't bring too many guests) and ensuring you arrive on time, Schweitzer adds. [See Related Story: Inexpensive Secret Santa Gift Ideas for Co-Workers]

"Even if you truly do not want to attend, avoid arriving 30 minutes before the end just to make an appearance," she said.

If you're new to the workforce or your current company and aren't sure how to behave, Michelle Roccia, executive vice president of employee engagement at WinterWyman, suggests these five do and don'ts that will keep you off the "naughty" list.  

Do attend. While the event is usually optional, the holiday party is a work function, and attending shows your colleagues you are invested in the company. Even more important, if you say you're going to attend, make sure you do – not showing up after you've RSVP'd is disrespectful to the hosts.

Do wear something festive and tasteful. Save the skimpy outfits and ripped jeans for your non-work celebrations.

Don't talk shop. Though the party is a work event, it's a time to interact with your co-workers in a relaxed way. Save the discussion about the new software or your questions about a policy change for the office.

Don't corner anyone. While it's wonderful to chat with people you may not know as well, try to appropriately excuse yourself from the conversation after a reasonable amount of time so they don't feel like a caged animal.

Don't consume too much alcohol. Drink lots of water and eat plenty of food. Give yourself a drink limit, and stick with it. If you end up being "over served" call an Uber or designate a driver.

No matter your office circumstance, do your best to enjoy the party and set the tone for a successful new year.

Shannon Gausepohl

Shannon Gausepohl graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in journalism. She has worked at a newspaper and in the public relations field, and is currently a staff writer at Business News Daily. Shannon is a zealous bookworm, has her blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and loves her Blue Heeler mix, Tucker.