There is no time of year more laden with potential for workplace embarrassment than the office Christmas party. One wrong move and you have an entire office full of people who see you rather differently. Wondering how to avoid the awkward moment when you have to come into work on Monday and look your co-workers in the eye after making a fool of yourself? Here’s how.
1. Don’t Eschew A Costume If It's A Costume Party
Most Christmas parties will adhere to a dress code of some sort. Sometimes that dress code will be for a costume party. Turning up in your regular smart casual clothes is kind of an insult to anyone who went to the trouble of putting something together. Even if costumes aren’t your thing, see a costume retailer like Disguises and rent something that’s both awesome and comfortable enough to get you through the evening.
2. Get In On Secret Santa
Most offices run a Secret Santa towards the end of the year. Many instruct employees not to buy anything more expensive than ten dollars. Not getting your Secret Santa recipient anything leaves them feeling left out on the day, and not getting involved at all makes you look incredibly selfish to your co-workers. Don’t be that guy. If you don’t know what to get them, just look for something that will be of use to them in their workspace.
3. Don’t Talk Shop If You Can Help It
Who wants to go to a party with the people they work with and talk about work? Nobody, that’s who. Pick literally any other topic of conversation and you’ll be just fine. You work with these people every day – surely you’ve got something in common with them besides the fact that you share an office. Talking about work makes you come across as boring and authoritarian, especially if you’re in a management position of any sort.
4. Don’t Make It Weird
Appropriate conduct at work is of paramount importance and that goes double for the Christmas party. When people start drinking, especially on the company dime, inhibitions can be lowered and things might start to get a little weird. Horror stories of Christmas party altercations and “rendezvous” and the crippling awkwardness of having to go back to work with those same people are horror stories for a reason. Play it cool, hotshot.
5. Party Hard (Responsibly)
On a similar note, manage your alcohol intake. This is still a work function after all. Even if your boss is buying, you shouldn’t get too crazy. By all means, have an amazing time – you’ve worked hard all year long. You deserve to let off a little steam and facilitating that is the least your employer can do for you. Maybe encourage your party organiser to arrange safe transport home for anyone getting too messy.
There are so many ways to embarrass yourself at the office Christmas party and these are just a few of them. The thing is, they’re really easy to avoid if you just keep your chill. You can get a little loose without going overboard and you can attend a costume party in costume without having to spend six months on a screen-accurate cosplay. Have you ever embarrassed yourself at a work function? Share your horror stories in the comments below!