We already have the office party on our calendar for December, how about you? Sometimes this event is a potluck, sometimes there’s a ‘Secret Santa’ gift exchange involved, sometimes there are cocktails involved.
How do you navigate this road full of potential etiquette potholes? I’ll share a few mistakes I don’t want to make again:
Don’t miss the office party. I know many folks that don’t do parties well, and simply prefer to avoid the experience. The holiday party should never be required attendance, but I definitely believe that if at all possible, you should make an appearance at the holiday party. It shows that you are a team player, and that you are trying to fit in with the team you work with during the day. One of the important reasons for the holiday party is to celebrate and strengthen team cohesion, and missing out on that puts you a step behind.
Don’t try a new recipe for the potluck.I’m no Martha Stewart – if you are, the rules are different. If it’s a potluck and you’re not a chef, get to the to-do list early! Volunteer to bring a dessert you can pick up from a local bakery or see if you can bring soda or the paper plates and napkins.
Secret Santa should not be extravagant nor too personal. Fast Company suggests that meaningful gifts are the best way to go for the office gift exchange. I often look around the counters at the bookstore and the Container Store.
Don’t talk too much about yourself. The most important phrase for you to remember might be “How about you?” If you find yourself stumbling for a way to explain how you are related to a certain cousin, you have said too much.
Don’t drink too much! Keep it to a minimum. Remember this is an opportunity to make a good impression, to learn more about your colleagues. Don’t drink so much that you will have trouble remembering what you talk about with your coworkers.
Spread some good cheer when given the chance, and you may find it catches on.
Happy holidays, and a prosperous new year to you!