Tis the season for holiday party going, gift giving and avoiding your extended family’s questions of why you’re still single. Although our favorites such as Andy Williams and Michael Bublé remind us on the radio that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, we know that holiday parties can be stressful. That’s where we come in. We’re here to give you five tips you need to know for party etiquette this holiday season.
I know your mother probably told you never to show up to a party empty handed, right? Whether you’re attending a co-worker’s party or going to a friend’s house, it’s gracious to bring a special gift for the special occasion. If you know the host’s favorite (anything boozy tends to do the trick for our friends), make sure you are gifting accordingly. If you’re not sure what to get the host you can never go wrong with the classic flower arrangement, assorted candles or even a delicious olive oil. Shake things up by bringing flowers in a hand tied bouquet or craft up a charming basket filled with candles so the host has something to use after the party.
Office Party DO’s
Here’s some DO’s and DON’Ts to help you navigate your way through the office Ugly Sweater Party this year.
DO: Attend even if it’s optional: Most holiday office parties are optional but if you are not already committed to something else that day, it is good manners to attend. Attending optional work events only benefits you. It shows that not only do you want to get to know your co-workers outside of the job, but it also shows your boss and colleagues that you’re truly invested in the growth of the company. Strong personal relationships outside of the work place in turn boosts morale during work hours.
DO: Introduce your plus one. If your party permits you to bring a plus one make sure you are introducing your date to your work friends. If you’ll be standing under the mistletoe alone this year, don’t hesitate to bring your best gal-pal! Don’t just say their name and move on, introduce them with a fun fact or something your co-workers can relate to and spark the conversation. Make sure your date is comfortable in social situations, if you get pulled away to talk to Joyce from Finance your date needs to be able to socialize on their own for a bit.
DO: Keep the conversation light. Stay away from business and discuss things you have in common besides work (this is supposed to be a chance to mingle with your co-workers, not talk shop like every other regular work day). Here’s a tip my mom taught me, if you don’t know what to talk about, ask people questions about themselves. Ask what they’re doing for the holidays or what family traditions they love to celebrate every year. People love to talk about themselves and all you have to do is listen and learn!
Office Party DON’Ts
DON’T: Over drink. You should absolutely enjoy yourself, I mean after all a party is a party, right? But remember to pace yourself. You don’t want to be “that” co-worker who can’t hang and ends up throwing up in the poinsettias by the end of last call. Don’t be the reason that we can’t have Eggnog at the Christmas party next year!
DON’T: Give extra gifts in front of everyone. If you have that work bestie you want to give an extra gift to outside of the regular office Secret Santa gift exchange, make sure you’re not giving it to her in front of everyone. As a manager or a co-worker you don’t want to make others feel left out or like you’re playing favorites. As a rule of thumb, if you didn’t get something for everyone then wait to give the gift in private.
DON’T: Forget to give gifts. On the other side of colleague gift exchange, don’t forget to get gifts if that is the office status quo! If your office does a Secret Santa make sure you get something personalized for the person you are giving to. Ask around for their favorite place to eat, movie or a book they’ve been dying to read. Don’t wait until the last minute, no one wants the homemade fruit cake you re-gifted from your neighbor.
Balancing your time between family and friends
The holidays are a chance for friends and family to come back together. Whether you have family flying in or you’re heading back home, your social calendar is soon to be filled with family parties and reunions. Our biggest tip for balancing between seeing everyone is to prioritize. Don’t overbook yourself and make sure you stay true the gatherings you’ve already committed too. Be honest about how much time you have. The holidays are a busy time of year, people understand that your time visiting home is limited. Even if you only have an hour to grab coffee with your college roommate, what really matters is that you took that hour to spend catching up with her!
Dress for the occasion
There are many parties you’ll be attending throughout the holiday season so it’s important to dress to your audience. Wear something to your work party that can be a day-to-night look that’s functional to work in but can also be fun and festive for a holiday party! Make sure you’re also dressing appropriately to the theme, don’t pull out your ugly Christmas sweater if you’re going to a nice dinner! On the flip side of that, if your work or friends are hosting a themed soiree don’t be the Ebenezer Scrooge of the party! If you need something quick head over to Target for Christmas sweaters and reindeer antler headbands galore – you’re sure to find something!