Keep It Classy: Avoid Standing Out - In a Bad Way - at Your Company Holiday Party

The holidays often mean entertaining, including the company holiday party. It’s surprising but true: People really do need reminders about how to behave appropriately when they mix business with pleasure. There’s one cardinal rule for holiday parties: celebrate in moderation.

Here are some real life holiday party bloopers to avoid:

  • Two coworkers competing on the dance floor to see who could make the best moves ended up in a fight, and were both let go for inappropriate behavior.
  • One person shattered a glass table.
  • A worker was caught riding naked on a Ferris wheel.
  • One guest dressed up as a wrestler.

Company holiday parties are, first and foremost, about work and business relationships. “Employees forget that office parties are work functions, and bad behavior will come back to haunt you,” said Angela Vitzthum, branch manager for The Creative Group in Chicago. Randy Wolf, regional vice president for Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group in Chicago, added, “Excessive celebration and etiquette mistakes at the company holiday party can become the topic of next-day conversation in the office. This is not the kind of recognition you want.”

Stick to these helpful hints, and your experience should be a pleasant one.

  • Do act as though your behavior is being observed every minute (it probably is!).
  • Don’t use the company holiday party as an excuse to vent.
  • Don’t assume everyone celebrates the same holiday, so keep “Happy Holidays” as your go-to phrase.
  • Don’t come to the party on an empty stomach.
  • Do eat a bite beforehand, so you’re not the one glued to the buffet table — or worse, feeling loopy after your first few sips of wine.
  • Do keep your discussions positive, avoiding controversial topics such as politics and religion.
  • Don’t get caught up in uncomfortable situations.
  • Do remember to always present your best self, even if you have a cocktail in hand.
  • Don’t forget to thank the people responsible for planning/coordinating the holiday party.
  • Do consider sending a thank-you email after the party.

If you keep these three words in mind — Keep it Classy — then your experience is sure to be positive and uneventful. Nobody wants to be remembered as the party animal. While that can be fun when hanging with your college friends, it’s inappropriate at your company holiday party.

What’s your most embarrassing office holiday party blunder? We’d love to hear from you!