The Office Christmas Party: dos and don’ts revisited

Our resident social chair, Esme, gives a guide to still having a job come January, now the festive season is upon us.

It’s that time again! December is well and truly here and Christmas is coming for us. The office manager has put Bublé on the Spotify playlist and the tree is up. Offensive and depressing tinsel decorations have no doubt been draped over the nearest bannister, and the back of your manager’s Humanscale chair. The mince pies are being handed out and you’re telling yourself it’s fine to have a drop of gingerbread syrup in your coffee – after all, it’s nearly Christmas…


I’ve already been to my first Christmas party of the season, and attended a handful of festive lunches. It’s therefore time to revisit the golden rules for the office Christmas party.


To avoid the subsequent mishaps and staff shenanigans sometimes associated with office festivities, and to steer clear of offending people with tinsel and glitter, it’s best to address these things now, for the wellbeing of the entire workforce… and for the preservation of decorum (and dignity!).


2017 has been another confusing year. I think it’s fair to say anything that could boost enthusiasm would provide welcome relief to burnt-out workforces. The office Christmas party is a thing of greatness; a time-honoured tradition, essentially one big knees-up, usually made more enticing by the fact your boss is picking up the bill. Such shindigs are also crucial for improving and boosting staff morale.


That being said, there are some things you should steer clear of at your work Christmas party if you want to avoid that grim walk of shame back to your desk in January!


Here are the golden riles, of things you SHOULDN’T do:


  1. Drink too much

This sounds obvious, and it is, but this first ‘don’t’ ties into the rest of them! The subsequent tips might help shed some light as to why you might want to alternate water and wine…


  1. Swear like a trooper

Office swearing has become less taboo, but this doesn’t mean you can leave all your manners at home after a few glasses of mulled wine and a mince pie. Your manager will be there, or worse, you clients. The F word is memorable, even if the rest of the night isn’t.


  1. Dress inappropriately

It’s time to go glam, which is great – when else do you get a chance to go all out? Apart from all those award ceremonies throughout the year… Consider leaving the plunging neckline and visible underwear for your Saturday night. This one is for you guys too, if it doesn’t say ‘Christmas jumper’ on the invite… probably don’t go there.


  1. Tell [too many] politically incorrect jokes

You never know who you’re going to offend, so best not spend the whole evening impersonating, just to be safe… You don’t know what people’s views are and, whilst we are all entitled to our own, it’s best not to upset the people you spend 37+ hours a week with.


  1. Bad mouth people

There will be a salubrious amount of political slander (seriously, what is going on in the world?!) and opinions will of course be thrown around. Views on your finance team, or even worse, you finance manager (they control your payroll…) is not OK; even if they did eat your lunch “by mistake” last week.


  1. Misbehave

This is a little ambiguous. Use your discretion, but a few things that would fall under this category are: getting kicked out of a bar, asking for a pay rise three G&Ts down, throwing your Christmas pudding across the table, dancing on the table, etc. etc.


  1. Bring your rowdy mate

If your invitation states ‘plus one’, then choose wisely. Don’t bring your boisterous best friend who always ends up in some sort of fight before the end of the night… This rule also includes any rowdy spouses.


  1. Forget to go home

Don’t outstay your welcome – just leave when it’s time to leave, make the decision to go when the time is right, don’t make a pact to be the last one standing.  Nobody wants any hangers on!


  1. Take surreptitious photos

… Photos of either yourself or your colleagues being drunk and / or disorderly on social media isn’t great. Remember, potential employers research prospective employees on social media – so something that might have been harmless fun might not look quite like that to someone else. Also, your clients don’t need to know the whole team is hammered by 5pm on the 22nd December.


Without sounding too much like a concerned parent… Remember to think long and hard about your behaviour during the festive period, but equally, remember to have some serious fun – you’ve worked hard all year, so celebrate!

Ben Keeley