Thanks to Covid-19, Christmas parties will never be the same again. But these do's and don'ts remain

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Office Party
Office Party
Marko Gerber

Almost all of us know of that one colleague.

You know that one? The one who did that thing that was so mortifying at a previous Christmas party that their embarrassment is still used as a cautionary tale.

As a professional, you may know exactly how to conduct yourself at a gathering that many of us find more cringeworthy than peeing in public. But your co-worker may not, so here is an etiquette guide to share in order to save them the blushes.

After all, there's no avoiding it.

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The end of the year is here, companies are wrapping up soon and, despite Covid-19 and its many variants, office parties have survived the test of time.

Just like Covid-19, they have shifted shape and form – remember virtual office parties?!

A Virtual Christmas Party
A Virtual Christmas Party

A lot of people would like to avoid them, but unfortunately many of us have to go – whether virtually or in real life. Yes, it’s just a few hours in one night, but it’s amazing how lasting damage can be to your reputation and peace of mind, if things go wrong, so here are the do's and don'ts.

The do's

  • Attend

As tempting as it may be to skip it all together, just attend. It saves you from a year of snide remarks from your colleagues.

  • Do eat moderately

Even if most people seem to be focused on the bar and the free booze, go for seconds after everyone else has had their share.

  • Do dress up

Treat the office party like drinks with your friends, you want to look your best, which will help you enjoy the event a lot more – because when you look good, you feel good, which automatically makes you a nicer person to be around.

  • Do mingle

Unless you can't because of religious or health reasons, participate in whatever group games or dances that take place – there’s nothing worse than someone just standing there watching people have fun. It makes everyone uncomfortable.

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The don’ts

  • Don’t get drunk

There is nothing wrong with drinking enough just to get a buzz going so the night can be more tolerable. But getting wasted is without a doubt the number one rule when it comes to office parties.

  • Don’t overshare, argue political views or talk about controversial conspiracies theories

To avoid your co-workers knowing too much about your life or that you're an anti-vaxxer, which can come back to bite you later, it's generally wise to stick to discussing harmless subjects like holiday destinations, shopping or cars. You want to avoid talking about anything that you'll regret opening up about in future.

  • Don’t bring your partner – unless the invite says you can bring a plus one

Besides the fact that budgets for parties are usually small and so they're generally for staff-only, there really is no need to bring a plus one without express permission or encouragement to do so.

  • Don't flirt with co-workers

This is not the time for you to make a move on that one colleague you've always had a crush on. It can end badly.

  • Don’t judge

Long after the office party has come and gone, don’t be the person that gossips about the person who got drunk, or who has cheating partner or who shared their relationship issues with you. Just don’t be that person. It may seem enjoyable in the moment, but it can come back to bite you in the, well . . .  that three-letter word you shouldn't use in polite company.

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