The holiday season is easily one of the greatest times of the year. From Thanksgiving to New Years, our minds are on giving back, supporting charities, spending time with loved ones, setting resolutions, giving thanks, and so on. The holiday season is the time for celebration, joy, and peace.
While we tend to enjoy the season with gifts, good company, scrumptious food, and festive drinks, it is important to know your audience. Enjoying a few glasses of spiked eggnog with family and friends is one thing, but it might not be the best choice when attending a holiday party with colleagues.
If you plan on enjoying a holiday party at your workplace this year, be sure to read GenTwenty’s guide to keeping it fun and professional at your holiday office party.
1) Dress festively, but appropriately.
It’s acceptable to color coordinate your outfit. Like for example with black and orange for Halloween or red and green for Christmas. But be sure your attire is office-appropriate. There is an endless supply of ugly sweaters out there that get scooped up for Christmas parties, but many of them are raunchy and outright inappropriate.
Wearing a sweater that illustrates anything sexual, dressing in a top with a plunging neckline, or wearing a dress that is too short to appropriately bend over in are examples of clothing choices to avoid during your holiday office party. Dress up, but keep business attire etiquette in mind.
2) Mind your booze.
There is honestly nothing sloppier than getting drunk at an holiday office party. Many companies generously offer an open bar for their employees and encourage attendees to enjoy a few glasses of wine or cocktails.
This is fine in moderation, but can easily cross a line if you consume too much alcohol. Know your limit. Just as you wouldn’t likely get blackout drunk with your family, monitor your alcohol consumption when drinking with your colleagues.
When under the influence, sometimes we say things we don’t mean and do things we wouldn’t normally do. Don’t let your inhibitions get lowered, which could lead you to do or say something in front of your colleagues you might later regret.
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3) Keep karaoke PG13.
I’ve personally been to a Christmas party with colleagues where we had a karaoke machine. It can be a super fun activity to enjoy with your coworkers, but from personal experience, it can also be a little worrisome.
Be sure that if you do participate, that you’re selecting songs that fit the theme of the party and are PG13. There’s no need to sing songs that contain offensive language, sexual connotations, or other inappropriate content. Keep the songs confined to holiday tunes like Christmas carols and you’ll be golden.
4) Bring appropriate gifts.
Many offices host some sort of Secret Santa or Yankee Swap party. These invite participants to bring and exchange gifts during a holiday party. While this is a very fun tradition to partake in, know your audience.
Unless you are off company property and you know the recipient of your gift extremely well, it is likely unwise to purchase a gift that is religious, sexual, related to drinking, or otherwise. There are so many hilarious gag gifts out there, but many can be construed as controversial and offensive.
Do your homework before you purchase a gift. Ask yourself who the gift is for and question whether the recipient would be offended by it. If you’re unsure, opt for a completely different gift. GenTwenty has a great guide to gift giving in the workplace that can help you decide what type of gift (if any) is appropriate to give.
5) Keep the conversation light.
A holiday party in the workplace is not the setting for political banter, racy jokes, or job complaints. If you want to speak with your manager about your job performance, cornering him/her at the holiday party is not the place for that.
Schedule a meeting outside of the event to have a proper discussion when the time is right. Company holiday parties are meant to be a fun, enjoyable celebration of the entire team’s efforts. It’s a chance to “let loose”, while of course keeping behavior appropriate. Opt for light conversation, such as asking your colleagues what their favorite holiday traditions are, or speaking about your upcoming vacation plans, or simply make small talk.
There are a whole host of dos and don’ts when it comes to keeping your behavior professional (and fun) during a company holiday party. These are some simple tips for you to implement at your next holiday holiday party. Let us know how they work! If you have tips of your own for keeping things professional, share with us in the comments.