It’s been a big year, so what better excuse to let your hair down and wrap the year up at the work Christmas party? But before you think writing yourself off or flirting with that guy in accounts is a good idea, take a look at these dos and don’ts for work Christmas parties.
Dress to impress
Do: Get all dressed up.
Don’t: Wear what you’d wear out clubbing.
Remember, these people are your workmates, your colleagues. They pay your wages, they work above and below you, they look up to you or are a contributor to your professional growth in your department. They don’t want to see what you’d wear on a Friday night when you’re on a girls’ night out. Keep it smart.
“Jane” from Melbourne remembers an awkward wardrobe malfunction at a work Christmas party a couple of years ago.
“I just remember one of the girls wearing a dress that was just that little too tight and that little too short,” she says.
“We were all having a great time dancing throughout the night and then her zip popped on the back of her dress. One of us girls had to take her home to change. It was a disaster waiting to happen.”
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An alcoholic beverage… or two
Do: Have a few drinks.
Don’t: Embarrass yourself because you’re drunk… or worse!
If your superiors are organising a cab for you because it’s been a big night, that is a sure-fire sign that you drank too much. Keep it classy. Have a few drinks, maybe even get a bit tipsy, have fun, let your hair down, but not too much. If you’re the only one dancing or swaying to Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” on the dance floor at the end of the night, you’ve gone too far.
“Marissa” in Brisbane has a story about a friend of a friend who took the party vibe too far.
“I heard this story through a friend, whose friend’s husband was new to the company and their Christmas party was to be at the Hilton.”
“Mr. and Mrs. were pretty excited and were up for a big one. They indulged in some party drugs, turned up for dinner at the Hilton wasted, unable to eat, and partied like it was 1999.”
“Unfortunately, that wasn’t the code of behaviour for the evening, but it was too late for them to take that into consideration.”
Do: Have a secret office crush.
Don’t: Hit on them during the night.
It’s going to get weird. Sure, a bit of office romance sounds like it might be fun, but if things don’t work out after you’ve been making out in a dark corner somewhere, how awkward is that going to be? If you’ve got a crush on Peter from marketing, maybe just keep it at that, at least until alcohol is completely out of the equation.
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Do: Talk to your colleagues and get to know them on a personal level.
Don’t: Think it’s a great idea to ask your boss for a raise or a bonus.
Don’t use the Christmas party as an opportunity to talk about what you want to change in the workplace; it’s a night to have fun, not a night for business chat. Keep it simple and socialise on a respectful and personal level. But remember to keep the work questions for the next time you’re at the office.
Do: Mingle and chat with people you don’t know.
Don’t: Talk about work all night.
You’re there to have a good time and socialise with your fellow co-workers, so keep the mood light. Don’t go complaining about what so-and-so did last week and how unfair that was. Start conversations with people in the workplace you haven’t had much of a chance to connect with. Ask about their families and what they do in their spare time and make the effort to create new friendships.
Nosh and nibble
Do: Enjoy the food and drink.
Don’t: Skip lunch so you can make the most of the food.
Don’t be a greedy guts. If you think it’s a good idea to go in for the grab and collect a variety of snacks and starters to munch on, it’s not. Eat something light beforehand, even if there is food available on the day. This will make sure you don’t go for mammoth-sized portions.
Do: Leave your shoes on, no matter what.
Don’t: Leave early.
Make the effort to stay at the Christmas party until the end and get involved in any activities that are on. Wear comfortable shoes, too; under no circumstances is it okay for you to take your shoes off, no matter how good your dancing is and how badly your feet hurt.