It’s holiday office party season. That fun time of year we get to stay after work and join our boss and colleagues for some non-work related drinks and food; or better yet, meet at the boss’s house for a weekend get together with the whole work team.

Ignore any attempt at sarcasm. In fact, I actually really enjoy a good holiday office party. I don’t entirely look forward to them, but once there, I admittedly have more fun than expected. There is etiquette to be followed though, not just so you can survive the evening, but also so you come out relatively unscathed. The key is to ensure you don’t wake up the next morning having to prep yourself for an office walk of shame. The last thing you want are stories or photographic proof of any table dancing antics, or worse, broken memories of how you told off your boss.  (Note: this is coming from the woman who previously wrote about being photographed by HR while wearing four rolls of toilet paper at a company event.)

Here are some tips for surviving and feeling good about your holiday office party performance:

  1. Go to the party: I guess it depends on where you work, but it can be tempting to want to bail on the party. Lame excuses like, I have to wrap presents or I have a previous holiday engagement, are transparent particularly since office parties are usually planned way ahead of time. Go to the party. Someone in your office has put a great deal of work into organizing the event. Your attendance is a respectful acknowledgement that you are thankful for the effort, you appreciate your boss and colleagues, and you’re not a party pooper. It’s an opportunity to enjoy people outside the work environment.
  1. Limit your alcohol intake: employees that drink too much during these events, often wake up with a mountain of regrets. First, the morning is just plain painful and you can’t really call in sick. I suppose you can, but not without some lingering guilt. Second, you don’t want to be the person arriving at the office having to walk around apologizing for your behaviour.

And scientific studies have shown that alcohol affects you more when consumed with coworkers than with friends.

  1. Mingle: It’s easy to stick with the colleagues with whom you like or know best. We all do it, but it’s important to make an effort to walk around and talk to the people you might not have the opportunity to interact with on a daily basis. This is allows you to get to know other people on the team and what they do. It’s a great way to improve office relations.

The best approach to surviving an office holiday party, especially if you’re not particularly looking forward to it, is to go with a positive attitude. You’re not obliged to stay for hours, but while you’re there enjoy it and have fun.

Are there any tips we’ve missed, or even better, holiday office horror stories to learn from?