With the Holiday season in full swing, and the Holiday Party season starting up, us post-grads have once again reached an obstacle in our road to maturity and success within our entry-level jobs: the Office Christmas Party. We’ve all heard the stories: about how your co-worker became “that guy” last year after he danced around with a lampshade on his head to Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, how because of that one time three years ago, they don’t allow hard liquor at the party anymore (referred to as something like “The Eggnog Incident”), or how that pretty girl got fired because she took sitting in Santa’s lap a little too seriously. While a Holiday Party is a chance to relax, have fun, and bond with your colleagues, it’s also when you’re most vulnerable to ruin your reputation, your relationships, and your career.
Let’s reflect for a moment on what holiday parties in college were like. The “What Not To Do” section of the post.
Given names like “The XXXmas Party” and “Christmas Bros and Ho Ho Hoes,” these college Christmas parties usually take place during finals week at the end of the semester, when everyone is super stressed, running on barely any sleep, and consuming a diet of Adderall and Monster for days on end. Combine that with some pungent Holiday Punch, girls desperate for semi-formal dates, and frustrated frat boys – you’ve got yourself a recipe for a disaster. Outrageous outfits from slutty snowflakes to shirtless Santas make party-goers a spectacle, (Though some outfits are truly brilliant, like my walking Christmas tree with working lights last year.) and the questionable kisses that take place under makeshift mistletoes will leave college chicks wishing they’d had one less cup of that Candy Cane concoction.
But that mentality doesn’t exactly cut it for the Office Holiday Party. No matter how cute I think the walking Christmas Tree looks, something tells me a boss would be a bit confused if their employee walked in, red Solo cup in hand, wrapped in Christmas lights.
So since I know you all rely on my model-citizen expert advice on how to handle situations your first year out of college, here’s a guide for the Holiday Party.
Your Post-Grad Guide to a Guiltless Holiday Gathering..
Also Known As – The Office Party
Dress to Impress a Mom
A good way to figure out what’s appropriate to wear and what’s not is to treat it as if you’re meeting your boyfriend’s mom for the first time. Of course you want to look cute, because you want her to think her son totally hit the jackpot by scoring you as a girlfriend. However, too over the top, and she’ll know you’re trying too hard. So ditch both the ugly sweater and the tinsel-y top. Find a happy medium. Cute but conservative, playful but professional. I have no advice for dudes. Just make sure to wear a shirt.
Be Moderately Merry
Of course you’re going to have a drink or two at the party – it’s a holiday celebration after all! But maybe limit it to just that. Or stick to one drink an hour, while actively consuming the (probably delicious) hors d’oeuvres being passed around. Proactively avoid a morning full of “I told my boss WHAT?” or “HE was the one in the Santa suit?!” or “Do you know how I got home?” by just staying in control of yourself. Being a complete shitshow might cause you to lose your job, and throwing up on your boss pretty much means you’re not getting a reference at your next job. Use this fun infographic as a guide if you’re trying to get a little crazy. And yeah…scroll all the way to the bottom.
Eat, Santa, Eat!
Don’t feel bad about taking full advantage of the food offered. Chances are they spent quite a bit of dough on the Christmas Party, and there are unemployed post-grads all over New York who don’t get to go to one. So eat those pigs in blankets! Plus, the more food in your system, the less likely you are to get too drunk and flirt with the quiet dude from the corner cubicle.
Grab Bag Guidlines
While most of us probably like to buy something inappropriate and silly for the Grab Bag gift, consider the fact that anyone in your office could be the one to pull that present. Anything sexual related – no way. Anything alcohol related – probably not, unless it’s actually a nice beer mug/wine glass. Anything drug related – definitely not. Also avoid re-gifting the shitty present you got last year. That’s going to be awkward when it ends up back in the hands of the person who gave it to you.
And pretty much what all these guidelines add up to is that you need to Interact Intelligently to ensure a smooth and successful Holiday event. Do laugh at your boss’s jokes, but don’t overly flirt with them. Do compliment your co-workers; it’s the holiday season and a little kindness goes a long way. Don’t hit on anyone’s significant others, but introduce yourself to the families of your colleagues. Don’t overdo it with the drinking and dancing, but do have some fun with it. No one got fired for raising your Champagne to a successful year or for starting a Conga line. But you may get fired for doing 5 rounds of Jameson shots “To the company!!!” or for starting a grinding line. And don’t make out with anyone from your office. Just don’t do it. A real walk of shame is having to walk past the desk of the dude you locked lips with under the mistletoe in front of your entire office.
So get in the spirit, avoid excessive hard liquor, remember you’re not in college anymore, and enjoy yourself. It’s Christmas, after all!! The most wonderful time of the year!!
Oh, and book your holiday parties at www.venuetap.com! A little self promotion never hurt anyone! 😉