It’s that time of year again. Tinsel is being strewn with abandon across desk partitions. There’s a Christmas tree in reception. HR has sent out the email with guidelines for appropriate behaviour at the office Christmas party. It’s party season!!
The office Christmas party can be so much fun – it’s a time to let your hair down with the people you probably spend most of your waking hours with. It can also be career-destroying if approached the wrong way. Never fear, Second Sister is here to share seventeen festive do’s and don’t’s: the wisdom garnered from attending office Christmas parties over the years in various countries, observing and engaging in the very best and the hilariously cringe-worthy of party guest behaviour.
- DO attend, even if you don’t feel like it. At the very least, put in a little cameo, have a glass of prosecco and, even just as a conscientious observer, see what scenarios unfurl as the party progresses from polite to “loose”.
- DON’T get stuck talking to the office bore. It’s excruciating and to be avoided at all costs. If I knew exactly how to avoid this situation, I’d tell you. Somehow they’re drawn to me. Like moths to a brightly coloured, be-sequinned flame.
- DO hit the dance floor, it’s a party after all. But if anyone pulls out a camera, stop dancing immediately. Unless you’re Diana Ross at Studio 54 circa 1979, you won’t look good in a photo mid-dance move contortion. And don’t get me started on videos…
- DON’T break dance. This one’s self explanatory.
- DO try a Dirty Dancing lift on the dance floor with the most built colleague you have. If you fail, it could end in a trip to A&E. But if you succeed, you’ve just taken that party to all levels of epic, and become the stuff that office Christmas party legends are made of. It’s a risk worth taking.
- DON’T start a conversation with anyone senior in the company which starts with the words “You know what I really think of you?”
- DO flirt with a colleague if he looks anything like the guy that Laura Linney goes home with from her office Christmas party in “Love Actually”. And if you get him to take his shirt off, take a picture. It’s a Christmas miracle!
- DON’T ask for a pay rise or quit your job. It will only end in tears.
- DO, if you fall over on the dance floor, turn it into an interpretive dance move. No one will ever know.
- DON’T be the most drunk party guest. Third or fourth should probably be ok.
- DO, early on, start soliciting the party guests who are hanging out by the bar to form a breakaway karaoke group for later in the evening. They will be your escape route when the party starts to head south.
- DON’T steal Christmas decorations from the venue. The tell-tale trail of glitter around your cleavage plus the angel-shaped outline in your top are clear signs there’s something stuffed down there that belongs atop a Christmas tree.
- DO a “Phantom”, aka an Irish goodbye. It’s where you slope out the back door without getting caught up in over-emotional farewells. Going around and saying good-bye (and, God-forbid, “I love you”) to everyone is taking up valuable time when you could be belting out Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” in a karaoke booth in Soho with the good-time karaoke-breakaway team (see point 11 above).
- DON’T, if the party is out of town and a bus is organised to take guests back to somewhere central, commandeer the bus and start driving it around the car park of the venue (FYI, this wasn’t me, it was the CFO).
- DO be the first in the office the next day.
- DON’T wear your sunglasses inside if you are not the first one in the office the next day.
- Last of all, DO wear sequins to the office Christmas party, because if you can’t sparkle and twinkle at Christmas then when the hell can you?