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The essential guide to navigating the office Christmas party

Christmas is fast approaching and that means two things: frantic shopping and the office Christmas party is just around the corner! With all the festive cheer around it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and embarrass yourself in front of the people you must see every day at work! Here’s our list of the dos and don’ts of the Christmas party…

Gifts

If you’re the boss it may be a nice gesture to give your staff a little Christmas present to thank them for all their hard work over the past year. You don’t have to push the boat out, especially if you have a lot of staff but a little something can really boost the morale after a hectic year.  Why not look at customised umbrellas, with your company logo on, that the staff can use to get to and from the office and also acts as a cheeky bit of advertising for your company? If your company is a little smaller, and you know each team member well, it may be worth looking at customised presents to show them you value their individual input.

Secret Santa is also a great way to ensure everyone in the office is gifted at Christmas and saves everyone some pennies by not having to buy presents for all their colleagues. Set a budget to avoid any awkward over-spends and allow everyone to bring these to the office party to get everyone into the festive spirit.

Chit-Chat

After a couple of drinks some of us are more likely to tell every Tom, Dick and Harry our deepest, darkest secrets. This is a big no-no! If you’re someone that is likely to be confessing your sins to anyone in the vicinity after a few too many vodka and cokes, then we suggest limiting yourself to a couple - to ensure you are buzzed for the event but stay in control.

It is also best to avoid gossiping and rumours as this can have bad repercussions in the future, especially if it’s linked to you. Plus, it can be quite hurtful for your colleagues to find out they’ve been talked about.

It’s always best to keep the small talk as general as possible, to allow everyone to join in. Stick to the funny icebreakers and stories about the silly things your kids have said or done. It’s also best not to get caught up in a long conversation with one person as this can look rude to your other colleagues that may want to speak with you. Additionally, varying the conversation topics will also allow people to join in, if you get caught up in one topic this can make some people feel isolated if they are finding it difficult to contribute.

Alcohol

People can often make the mistake of over-doing it on the free booze at the office party, forgetting that this is still a work event where your superiors are still watching and actions are accountable. It’s always best to use this opportunity to present yourself in the best light to your managers, bosses and clients (if they are invited). Networking will allow you to be on their radar and could give you the chance to go up in ranks.

Appropriate dress

Unless you’ve all agreed to sport your best Christmas jumpers, it’s best to dress appropriately for this event. Ill-fitting suits and slinky dresses can give a bad impression. Find out what the dress code is for the office party and make sure you abide by it. Ask your colleagues what they plan on wearing so you have a proper indication on what to wear.

Attendance

Sometimes the office party can seem a bit of a burden rather than fun, and although attendance is optional it will be really beneficial for you in the long run if you make an appearance. This shows your colleagues and bosses that you consider yourself a part of the team. You may surprise yourself and find that your colleagues have the potential to be lifelong friends rather than just work colleagues.

Make sure you stay for a reasonable amount of time, as an early exit may look a little anti-social to your colleagues.

Most importantly remember to have fun, as this is the main reason for the event in the first place.

Image credit: Ruth Hartnup, available under Creative Commons.