1. DON’T ASSUME YOU KNOW WHAT HOLIDAY PEOPLE ARE CELEBRATING
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Unless you personally know what holiday someone is celebrating, it may be a good idea to keep your season’s greetings neutral. Stick with phrases such as “Happy Holidays” so that you don’t unintentionally offend someone that you may want to cultivate a relationship with.
2. DO SHOW UP
Throwing an office party takes significant planning and resources. To be sure, your company won’t continue to dedicate resources to things that it believes are undervalued by its employees. Most importantly, you can’t build those extremely important work relationships in the office alone. So make every reasonable effort to at least make an appearance.
3. DON’T OVERINDULGE (EVEN IF YOU’RE A LAWYER!)
Hitting the bar hard isn’t going to make you look good no matter how relaxed your culture. Drink responsibly at the party and pace yourself to avoid catastrophic consequences that the whole office will know about! You can always continue the party later with your close friends after the event.
4. DO DRESS APPROPRIATELY
Just because this is a social event doesn’t mean it’s time to wear your freakum dress. The office holiday party is still a place to look professional. Avoid over the top outfits that show too much skin and instead add some flare through your color choices and accessories.
5. DON’T VENT
No job is perfect and we all need to vent about work frustrations sometimes. But the holiday office party is not the place to do that. You never know who is listening ... and they are listening. Keep your negativity in check and focus on having a good time.
6. DO WORK THE ROOM
Spending the evening with people you know may be the more comfortable choice, but it will do nothing for your career. Take a bolder approach and socialize with new people. Do a tour around the room to make new connections. You don’t have to spend the night trying to make new friends, but you should introduce yourself and have brief conversations with people you may not normally interact with. It’s also unwise and poor form to attach yourself to one of the company execs all night. Take this opportunity to get to know all of the higher-ups just enough to make them want to take you to lunch or stop by your office the week after the party.
7. DON’T TALK ABOUT WORK
When you find yourself mingling with coworkers, talking about work might seem like the natural thing to do. After all, it’s the one thing you have in common. While it’s perfectly acceptable to ask people you meet about what they do, and telling others what your job entails, the holiday office party is not the place to get that kind of work done. Get to know your colleagues’ interests and about their families. That will go a long way towards building extremely strong relationships that will help you throughout your career.
8. DO THANK YOUR HOST
Unless you work in an incredibly small office and the event is being held at an inexpensive venue, chances are that your holiday office party is costing the company a pretty penny. But even if it’s not, common courtesy dictates that you should thank your host for throwing the party. It’s also the perfect icebreaker to introduce yourself to the folks who know the most about how to get the necessary corporate funds for events you may want to organize in the future.