How To Navigate The Office Holiday Party

An image of a party table at the office

Holidays can conjure up a lot of fun times, but additionally, they also chockablock with a lot of events, where you need to be on your best behavior, like your office holiday party for instance.

Organizations hold office holiday parties for a reason. They want to help employees have some fun, blow off some steam and partake in holiday festivities. However, while office holiday parties are like just any other party (food, beverages, and fun) you cannot really let your hair down. Here’s a handy short guide about how to navigate office holiday parties without any missteps.

(Looking for tips on giving gifts in the workplace? Check out our guide to holiday gift-giving in the workplace!)

Dress To Impress

…but not to shock. An office holiday party is still a party that’s being held at the workplace or has a number of people from your workplace. It’s important to look presentable and classy. If your mode of dressing is very shocking, revealing or shabby, your clothes are going to be the subject of attention and not in a good way. If you can blend into the background, even better. In fact, think of it this way. Would you wear the outfit to the club, a sleepover or a casual night out with friends? If the answer is yes, then you probably shouldn’t wear it to the office party.

Eat and Drink in Moderation

There’s going to be plenty of food and alcohol (in some cases) at the party. And while you should eat and drink to your heart’s content, it’s important not to go overboard. An office holiday party is an occasion for all the people in an organization to get together. This includes senior management and the big bosses. Think of it as ‘big brother is watching’. If you become intoxicated and are incapacitated because of that, it can cause colleagues and senior management to view you in a negative light. You don’t want to be the basis of water-cooler conversations the next day.

Talk and Mingle

Office holiday parties are a great way to meet people who you don’t always work with or just interact with in passing. You don’t have to aggressively network or have yourself be noticed by all senior management, but it’s definitely good to step outside of your comfort zone and interact with people you normally wouldn’t talk with. Interacting with people from different departments helps you realize that an organization is really a collective, that runs thanks to the efforts of a number of people, all of whom have different skills.

I know a lot of introverts and socially-anxious may view this point with some trepidation, but as mentioned above, you don’t have to network aggressively, you just have to talk to a few people. Even then, you don’t need to carry the entire weight of the conversation. As a part of a group, you can make a few contributions to the conversation, or even conduct one on one conversations with one or two people. You never know, you might even meet a few like-minded individuals!

Don’t Be A No-Show

It can be very tempting to skip out on an office holiday party, especially if you are the kind of person who is uncomfortable with social situations. However, unless you have severe social anxiety or a pressing engagement or emergency, it’s a good idea to show your face. Even if the big bosses don’t notice your absence, your manager or team-mates will definitely do so. Even if only for an hour, show up to the event and let people know you exist. It will definitely be appreciated.


Engagedly is a performance review software that incorporates elements of employee engagement. To see how Engagedly can help your organization, request a demo today!

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