December 2, 2013

Social Graces: How to Have Fun at Your Holiday Office Party

When the holidays roll around, our calendars start filling up with festive fetes and soirees. But, what's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year often morphs into the most stressful time of the year...especially if you feel less than confident in social situations.

One hot topic that often incites anxiety is holiday office parties. Last year, I wrote about how to survive your holiday office party in my Social Q's etiquette column for Modern Ink Magazine.

You can read my full advice on making the most of your holiday work party here.

Between then and now, I've lived a little and learned a few things so I wanted to share some more advice that might come in handy when it comes to socializing with co-workers at a holiday office gathering.

Do keep conversation light.
Don't talk shop the entire time. Work might be what you have in common, but the purpose of this gathering is to celebrate the year's accomplishments by giving yourself a break from the grind.

Do bring a date/spouse/partner if permitted.
Don't bring several additional family members just so they can enjoy the free food.

Do participate in a gift exchange or white elephant game if there is one.
Don't buy the most expensive or least expensive gift you can find. Stick to the rules of the game, depending on what they are (price limits, homemade gift, etc.)

Do bring a covered dish or appetizer to share if it's a potluck.
Don't attempt to make a brand new recipe at the last minute if there's any chance it could turn out strange or inedible. Stick with a classic or favorite that you know everybody will love.

Do contribute to a group gift for your boss if there is one.
Don't make a big show of presenting the gift as if it came from you alone.

Do enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine (if you want to).
Don't drink to excess and embarrass yourself or someone else.

Do have fun and make some memories.
Don't stress out about it. The holidays come around only once a year...relax and be yourself.

With all the folks out of work these days, those of us with jobs are pretty fortunate! Let's keep a healthy dose of perspective and enjoy the season of festivities to the fullest.