The 10 do’s and don’ts of an office Christmas party


The office Christmas party can be a minefield of one faux pas after another, creating an embarrassing few days after the event… or, they can be hours of boredom, where you have to make small talk with people you hardly know from a department your rarely venture to… or, they can be great fun, where you mix and mingle.

Whichever opinion you hold about the office Christmas party, there are certain do’s and don’ts that can help you avoid a complete diplomatic disaster. Here we have collected some of the more sane suggestions to help get you through the office Christmas do…

  1. Beware declarations of undying love – making them and receiving them

Office romances hold a whole different ball game; they either work or they don’t, but it can mean that as colleagues, we can get caught in the cross-fire.

However, in terms of the office Christmas do, if you have long lusted after a chap in accounts, or have feeling for the boss’s PA, a drunken declaration of your undying love, lust or both is not the done thing. It is no way to start a relationships and frankly, breathing alcoholic-fuelled breath over someone is no way to impress them… neither is dancing on the table.

  1. Beware the demon drink… wine being poured

Getting rip-roaring drunk so you can no longer say your own name or focus is not the way to create the impression you want among colleagues and bosses. Getting tiddly and allowing your natural sense of humour to shine is fabulous but anything beyond this is bad taste. You can’t remember what you said and to whom, but your colleagues, either sober or slightly tiddly will…

  1. Gifts…

Secret Santa is great but only if everyone enters into it with the right spirit. Choose your gift carefully for the recipient and avoid anything that can cause offence, which can be anything from edible underwear to a diet book for one. Not everyone shares the same sense of humour and so being boring with your Christmas gift is just fine on this occasion…

  1. Your stories

The one thing about alcohol is that it makes us loose-lipped, something that those World War II posters warned us about all those years ago. Making sure you don’t divulge the biggest skeleton you have in your closest will be something you will thank us for, when you wake up next morning and don’t need to coil up in embarrassment or emigrate, depending on the scale of the embarrassment factor.

  1. ‘Dirty Dancing’ moves

We don’t think we need to explain this in detail; you flying off the desk, hoping Gary from accounts has developed a dancing capability of professional since the last office Christmas party will not end well.

  1. Switch the photocopier off

There is no need to photocopy anything. And we mean anything.

  1. Are you the boss?

If you are, act as such! You may want to let your hair down and this is all well and good, but there are better ways of doing it that da dancing with Barbara from accounts or getting so drunk your PA needs to put you in a taxi… and telling everyone you love them (or something similar) is not a wide move either.

But, don’t be a party pooper either. Balance is the name of the game here.

  1. Party ‘dress’

Another common source of potentially huge embarrassment is what you wear to the Christmas office do. We came across a website that advises against women wearing ‘slinky dresses and plunging necklines’ and that the unbuttoning of two top buttons for male colleagues to ‘show off their muscles’ was also unacceptable. Your dress code should be like your behaviour; smart, casual but appropriate.

  1. Talking business

This is a really toughy and not talking shop can be incredibly difficult, especially when you know very little about colleagues from a social or personal point of view. Finding something to talk about other than enquiring after the health of their dog/cat/hamster/mother or prized begonias can be a whole new challenge. And, even worse, if you are the boss you are expected to know your employees and interact accordingly. So, do some swotting up on who is who and mingle with some great, pre-planned small talk.

  1. Leaving too soon…

EVERYONE has to go through the Christmas party; some people dread it and other relish it but, if you are not a party or social animal, do not bow out completely. It is important to ‘show your face’ and make an effort. Even if it the most boring party ever, you need to be there…

And so, following the roundup of 10 do’s and don’ts at office Christmas parties will ensure you are not the embarrassing colleague that they are all talking about around the water cooler on Monday morning…


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