Tips for Acing the Holiday Office Party

Love it or hate it, a fact of corporate life is the obligatory holiday office party. Whether you look forward to this annual event or drag your RSVP out to the last minute, this year, break the office party mold and celebrate the holidays like a pro with these etiquette tips.

Get Social

Don’t hang around the food all evening! Break social barriers between departments and introduce yourself, or your immediate coworkers, to others in the company; it’ll liven up the evening for everyone involved. The key to a good introduction is making it memorable. Add an anecdote, play with mnemonics, and always make it accurate and sincere.

Make a Statement

So you’ve exited your comfort zone and spoken with people you don’t know, now it’s time to decide how much you really want to party. Keep in mind: this is still a business holiday event, so keep it fun but tasteful. This is your chance to shine outside-the-box, so play up your strengths. While being master of the dance floor is one thing, boozing it up is quite another. Don’t be the one that’s had too much to drink. Do be the one they’ll want to seek out at next year’s party.

What Did the Invite Say?

You don’t want to be remembered for wearing your ugly Christmas sweater to the semi-formal. Pay attention to the details: start and end times, dress code, and if a Secret Santa gift* is required.


*Side note: choosing your own gift in the present exchange is probably frowned upon! See: Make a Statement.

Timing is Everything

That goes from not showing up ten minutes before the party is over just to save face--they’ll notice, trust us--to etiquette at the buffet line. Keep your plate minimal, and if they pass around hors d'oeuvres, avoid transferring the food directly from the tray to your mouth. They hand out those little napkins for a reason. Lastly, proving you can still pull an all-nighter won’t get you any brownie points either.


In the end, these holiday office parties are a way to connect. You might see these people on a daily basis, others you may not, this is your chance to show warmth, enthusiasm, and spirit. And humility goes a long way. Have fun out there!

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