Office holiday parties are as much a tradition as egg nog and Black Friday sales. Some employees love these annual events, and others dread attending any off-hours work-related parties. Regardless of how people feel about holiday gatherings, it is almost always necessary to go and have deeper conversations with coworkers and top brass. Here are a few things you should and should not do while attending a work-sanctioned holiday event.

What You Should Do

Attend The Party

It is better to blend with the crowd during the party than to avoid it entirely. Not attending an office party could make someone seem like they are not a team player or even appreciative of their employer. Spare an hour or two to ensure everyone knows you enjoy your employer and coworkers enough to join in the festivities. You never know, you might make a connection you wouldn’t otherwise make while on the clock.


Avoid spending all night just talking to your date. And don’t hover alone at the snack table. Take part in conversations around the venue. Introduce yourself to people outside of the usual group. A holiday party is a networking experience that can enable people to interact with those they may not have a chance to talk to during the workday.

Have Fun

A company holiday party may not always be a favourite entertainment event, but you must always enjoy what it has to offer. Most offer food and drinks, music, a few games, and possibly a few gifts. Be a gracious guest and make the most of the company-sponsored event.

Behave Properly

Many office parties include a few adult drinks and a lot of laughs and fun. It is okay to let professionalism slip slightly, but only slightly. People will remember any misbehaviour you display, and it can affect potential promotions or work relationships.

Dress Appropriately

Know the dress code for the event. The appropriate clothing will depend on the employer, venue, and traditional company requirements. Follow the guidelines, but remember it is still a work event. Avoid clothing that reveals too much skin. Also, avoid torn, stained, or outfits that are too casual.

Choose A Designated Driver

If you’re attending the party as a group, consider selecting one member as a designated driver. If you’re not drinking alcohol, consider offering the service to others. If you can’t find a designated driver, commit to calling a cab or rideshare service.

Be Appreciative

Thank the boss, the planning committee, and anyone else who contributed to the event in some manner. Every party takes time and effort, and a holiday party means that all the work they did was during what is often the busiest time of the year for everyone. Say thank you to all these people during the party and on the workday following the event.

What Not to Do

Many of these are no-brainers, but let’s review the things one must avoid while attending the holiday work party.

Overindulge In Alcohol

Pre-select a safe number of alcoholic beverages and stay at or under that amount. It is too easy for people who over-imbibe to do or say things they would otherwise avoid. Alcohol can also make people careless, and this can lead to accidents. Voluntary events, accidents caused by horseplay, and alcohol-fueled injuries are often denied worker’s compensation claims. Set your limit and commit to it.

Flirt and Hookup

Most companies discourage inter-office romances, so bring a date or plan to leave alone. Flirting and other romantic interactions can cause drama in the workplace and could lead to sexual harassment complaints. The same rules of behaviour apply at an office holiday party as they do in the actual office.

Bring A Stranger

Office parties are not the place for a blind date or any first date. A poorly behaved guest will reflect on the employee as much as on their character. Bring only someone trustworthy and respectable to help protect your reputation.

Complain About Anything

Some people despise work parties because it uses their free time. Most of these events occur outside of office hours, but do not act as if the company is wasting your time. Most employers throw parties as a reward for their crew, and being ungrateful will affect how the boss, and possibly coworkers, view you.

Post On Social Media

Keep all images off your social media unless they are of you and your guest. If you’re posting photos of yourself, do not include alcohol because it can seem unprofessional to your current employer or future bosses. Avoid posting photographs of others because this could make coworkers upset or uncomfortable and affect a working relationship.

Leave Too Soon

Never be the last to arrive and the first to leave. Ending the night too soon could make an employer feel unappreciated. It is also possible that leaving could cause the employee to forfeit any prize or gift the employer planned to give. Many office holiday parties also include speeches about upcoming projects or company changes, and remaining may be the only way to know what to expect.

Ignore Certain People

There may be some coworkers you dislike, but a party is not the time to ignore anyone. Spend a few minutes talking with everyone to help spread the cheer.

Party Too Long

Some people hate to see the evening end no matter what event they attend. Do not be the last to leave or attempt to force others to stay longer. Leave with the bulk of the crowd to make the departure less obvious.

Avoid Gossip

Avoid talking about anyone during or after the party. Anyone misbehaving during the event will have enough to manage already, and there is no benefit to contributing to their embarrassment.

Holiday office parties may never be the best part of the season, but they are a part of corporate life. Everyone needs to make sensible decisions during the events to ensure they do not negatively affect their professional reputation.