Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Parties

Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Parties


It’s the time of year to eat, drink and be merry. But of all the festive occasions you attend this month, holiday parties can be the trickiest to navigate, especially if it’s a work-related event. Of course, you want to have fun. But there are certain Dos and Don’ts you might want to abide by at parties that require slightly more monitored or cautious behavior than a more casual gathering with your family, close friends or neighbors.


  • If at all possible, don’t decline the invitation to your company party, as not attending could hurt your reputation. Even if you can only stay a while, it’s nice to put in an appearance. Also, don’t forget to see who is invited. You don’t want to leave your significant other at home if the party is intended for +1; and you don’t want to bring young children to an adult-only party.
  • There are so many things you can talk about outside of work, so don’t talk about business incessantly, especially if you’re at a work party! Instead, engage in more personal but comfortable topics, such as families, pets, hobbies, sports or travel plans. Get to know people better and make a good impression.
  • As you’re mingling, make sure to not complain, engage in controversial subjects, overshare too many very intimate stories or gossip. At a work party, resist the urge to follow your supervisor around or cling to your closest coworkers. Also, don’t monopolize conversations. Be gracious, actively listen and show your interest in others.
  • Don’t forget to thank your host. Share with them your appreciation for hosting, and thank them warmly. If appropriate, bring a small gift as a thank you.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Appoint a designated driver or proactively plan for a safe ride home.


  • Dress to impress in a polished and professional way. Dress for the occasion, but leave the clubbing attire at home and adhere to the event dress code. In other words, don’t show too much skin. And if it’s not appropriate, skip the tacky Christmas sweater.
  • Network, mingle and be social. Introduce yourself to new faces. Try to keep all conversations positive and upbeat. Parties are a great way to strengthen relationships. It might be a good opportunity to chat with folks you don’t interact with frequently or network with people who can influence your career. If you’re attending a company function, remember proper etiquette and decorum matter.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol. There may be an open bar, but don’t overdo it, drink excessively and get too crazy. You want to be memorable, but not “that person.” Also, keep your drink in your left hand so your right hand is dry, warm and ready to shake hands throughout the night.
  • Be sensitive to the various celebrations of the season, as not everyone celebrates the same holidays or the same traditions. Wishing someone “happy holidays” is often a safe bet, but if you know someone more personally, feel free to say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and the like.
  • Have fun! After all, it’s a party, so celebrate, relax and enjoy the company of others.

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