The office Christmas party etiquette guide

Damien Barnett 04.12.2017

That time of year is fast approaching, the office Christmas party is knocking. But how should you act? What are the big no-nos? This should help you see you with your position in tact, all the way to the New Year!

Know your limitations

Do not consider the option of 'free bar' as a personal challenge. After all, you are still amongst colleagues and you wouldn’t want any regrets on the Monday morning. If after three drinks you are confident, five hilarious, and seven, an aggressive oaf, then set your target securely between the three and six mark for the duration of your evening.

Do not start on an empty stomach

It is a good idea to eat a hearty meal before a notable social occasion. Consider dining on something like pasta, pizza or the obvious choice for a Christmas party, a roast dinner. I would advise against anything too exotic though, as you may be seeing it again later.

There is a time and a place to stand out

Of course, a Christmas party is a perfect chance to get to know and speak to members of staff whom you may not have been able to before, but be wary of the impression you give. While you might feel that you have the dance moves to compete with Diversity, ask yourself, is this the right time to demonstrate your incredible ability? The same goes with any unusual party tricks – these may impress down the local boozer but probably won’t put you in the front running for that promotion. The best way to impress is to be fun and relaxed, but remember this person could be a decision maker when it comes to your future.

Keep one's opinions to one's self

There is a time and a place for your honest thoughts on the company; perhaps in a one to one meeting or a private email, but probably not as a hate filled rant in which you refer to your manager with an insult. In fact, it is probably best to avoid speaking to your boss at all. I’m not referring to your day to day manager, but a discussion with the companies CEO around how you dislike the new coffee mugs may not go down as well as you had hoped.

The only items of clothing you should be removing are your jacket and scarf

The saying goes “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”, however when it comes to exposure to a room full of colleagues and senior members of your company this should not apply. Classy always wins.

Avoid a round of fisticuffs

Again, as much as it may seem like the best opportunity to vent your dissatisfaction to or with a colleague, swinging a left hook on John from Accounts is not going to win you any friends or make the office environment any easier come Monday. A little airing in an easier and relaxed setting can work, but do not let your emotions or your less than sober state get the better of you.

There can be such a thing as too much information

It can be seen as admirable to open up and discuss previously unmentioned details about your outside life but consider just how much information you want to reveal. You may feel proud of your taxidermy (stuffed dead animal) or celebrity hair sample collection, but these details are probably best kept to yourself. Think about what kind of impression or lasting thoughts you would have if Linda who is your supervisor revealed to you that she likes to play pranks on poor old Mrs Blythe at the retirement home on the weekends.

Finally, know when to leave gracefully

When it all gets too much, or you feel yourself on the verge of a major embarrassment – book a cab and avoid that awful moment when you wake up in the morning unsure of why you have a dozen text messages saying “oh my god, I cannot believe you did that last night!”

So to conclude, I hope you find this guide useful and will give you a moment to consider your plan of action for the festive season’s parties. Merry Christmas everyone.

Damien Barnett's picture
Principal Consultant | ​Technology Change Recruitment