Tis’ the season to be merry! Even when that means merriment with your co-workers, bosses and associates. Work holiday festivities probably mean giving up a Friday night full of cookies, couch and Die Hard marathons and that might sting a little. However, by keeping a few guidelines in mind, the Annual Company Holiday Party can be made into your stage to shine on, just follow the rules, don’t hog the stage and let that candle flame flicker.
The holidays are a time to have fun together, with family, friends and even co-workers. Like it or not, company parties are making a comeback. While attendance is not exactly mandatory, it is expected. Now is not the time to fake the flu. So come prepared with a holiday joke or funny story and make sure to clink eggnog glasses with the higher ups. Use the time to connect on a personal level, and yes it’s okay to wear an ugly sweater-maybe just leave the elf tights at home.
Don’t talk about work.
You want to be the Belle or the Bro of the ball, right? That means keeping conversations to light and fun topics. There is plenty to discuss, from the latest Saturday Night Live episode to traffic jams to fruit cake. So now is not the time to sell your latest greatest policy initiative. It’s also not the time to divulge your crush on the office manager. Be authentic but not too personal. Just have fun.
Don’t drink. Don’t dance.
No matter how fast the booze is flowing, don’t let it flow towards you. Yes, the holidays are a time to share a cup of cheer and if you’re in a fun, light-hearted mood, it’s okay to have a drink, maybe two; but cap it at that. You don’t want to end up fodder for water cooler gossip the next day, and if you’re drunk, you will. Another big DO NOT DO: dance. No matter what. Dancing is not appropriate in a work setting, even at a party. You don't want to end up like this:
Gifting is completely up to you. If you're the boss, you can never do harm to give a little something. Gift cards and really neat gifts are always a great idea. A gift exchange (white elephant or ornament) is also a nice idea. But whatever you do, don't get anything that is cheap and not useful.
Game it up.
Regardless of what you think of games, the truth of the matter is that they make time go by faster and can help cut down on some of the awkwardness that is inevitable with company parties. If being the game master isn't your thing, assign it to one of your outgoing employees. We've also started a list of sweet company holiday party games to get you started.
Short and Sweet.
The Modern Company Holiday Party is not the occasion to burn the mid-night oil. Even if you prefer your parties as marathons rather than sprints, this isn’t the time or the place. After an hour or two, call it a night/day. Do you want to see your co-workers drunk and dancing? Probably not. Save yourself a hangover and professional humiliation and just go home early.
Congratulate yourself on a party well done. You not only survived a Company Holiday Party, you thrived. If you want, drink more and dance around in the privacy of your own home, and watch Die Hard and eat cookies.
Happy Holidays from Strategic Event Design!