The annual holiday party is a storied tradition at most organizations. It’s usually held at the end of the year in conjunction with festive holidays. For new employees, the annual holiday party might feel like a puzzlingly stuffy tradition, especially if you see everyone getting excited about it but just can’t understand why.

The nature of holiday parties also varies from organization to organization. Bigger organizations might have lavish parties while smaller to medium-sized organizations might stick to cozy get-togethers or lunches. Regardless of the size of a holiday party, it is important not to view this party as a completely random celebration, but rather as an employee engagement initiative by the organization. For most organizations, holiday parties are a way to thank employees for their work all year round.

Also read: Three Ways To Bring Gratitude To Work

With that in mind, don’t view the holiday party as a stuffy old tradition, a chore or something that is not worth attending. It is one of the few times of the year where you get to interact with everyone in your organization, with members of all departments and all senior leaders. These opportunities usually are few and far in-between.

Here are three simple tips to ensure that you have a good time at the party, be it a small one or a lavish one.

Dress according to the theme (and your own comfort)

If a dress code has been specified by HR, stick to the dress code. If no dress code has been specified, base your dressing on the place where the party is happening. If the party is going to be a lavish affair, check with your colleagues about what they plan to wear and aim for formal and comfortable clothes. If your holiday party is going to be a cozy get together with colleagues, you can get away with jeans and a blazer. Some organizations might be very casual and you can keep that in mind and wear something that is comfortable.

The most important thing is to not be dressed inappropriately. A holiday party should be treated as an opportunity to make a good impression, not be remembered as the person who showed up wearing something wildly out of line.

Also read: How To Navigate The Office Holiday Party

Consume responsibly

It is common to have alcohol available at holiday parties and it’s not wrong to consume alcoholic beverages. On the other hand, when alcohol begins affecting your ability to interact with others or affects your ability to walk or talk, that is when it becomes a problem. Despite the fact that this is a party, it is still one that is thrown by your organization. People will be paying attention to you. And not just your team, but also your manager, senior leaders, executives, other departments etc. And mind you, people will talk. It’s human nature to gossip. Consume responsibly and do not end up being known as the person who went off the rails at the holiday party.

On the other side of the spectrum, it is also okay to not drink either. Just because others are, you don’t have to join in as well. It’s normal and acceptable to drink juice or even stick to plain old water.

Make new acquaintances, meet new people

One of the biggest benefits of a holiday party is all the people you get to meet. In big organizations, holiday parties are an opportunity to network. It’s not always easy to find everyone in the same space at the same time. Holiday parties allow you to strike up conversations with people you don’t normally interact it, be it from other departments, other offices etc. This way, you get to know how the rest of your organization works and who knows, you might even end up collaborating with those people somewhere down the line.

When it comes to a holiday party, don’t stick close to your friends or teammates. Interact with senior leaders, your managers, your bosses, the custodians etc.

Also read: How To Communicate Effectively In The Workplace (For Introverts)


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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