Fortunately, the days of holiday office party photocopying remorse are long gone. Today's image-conscientious, techno-savvy employee avoids the Xerox machine.
It is also safe to assume that you will nobody on your team will be wearing a lampshade for the group photo. But, are you all free from texting, tweeting or tagging remorse, during or after the party?
Here are sticky situation solutions to maneuver this year's get together.
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Regardless of how crummy your week is going or how much you hate whatever project is on the go, your office party is not the time or place to vent. Gloom is contagious, so don't selfishly bring your colleagues down. Put on a smile and leave the work bitching for another time.
It doesn't matter if this is the first or 10th time you will hear your president's annual holiday address. Be a good audience and give them your undivided attention.
There is always someone who indulges so much that the legend of their drunkenness follows them into the following year. Don't be that person. By all means, get festive over some punch or eggnog, but don't be the topic of tomorrow's water cooler talk. Celebrate moderately.
The temptation to catch up with your office friends is enticing, as they are likely the people you feel more comfortable with in a social setting. Make a point to speak to people outside of your day-to-day circle and invite other people into conversations throughout the night.
Two minutes investigating the recommended dress code is time well spent. You'll want to be on the smart side of the sartorial spectrum, which likely means a notch or two above how you'd dress if you were interviewing for the job you currently hold. Nothing too casual, too short, too tight, or with too many reindeer on it.
1. Go and have G-rated fun
Your participation is not an option. You don't have to be the first to arrive nor the last one to leave, but you must go. It is a work function. Not doing so is disrespectful. Even if it is a social activity, you are still invited, as an employee.
The planning committee organized activities. Participate! Sing, be merry and dance or at least try the new 'Gangnam style' if you are invited to. Don't be a wallflower.
To make sure that you have no morning after, social media regrets; act and speak as if you were on a reality TV show. Imagine big boss reviewing the episode, first thing the morning after. Your words and actions should be appropriate for "family-friendly" viewing.
2. Keep it light
The conversation should be positive and festive. This is not the time to have the big talk with the big boss. Not sure what to talk about? Reminisce about the year's endeavours, honours and achieved objectives. "What are your holiday plans?" will open up a conversation with anyone.
As a rule, when mixing business and pleasure keep it at .05 on the alcoholmeter; one or two drinks.
Sticky situation: A colleague has had too much to drink and she is embarrassing herself.
Solution: If she is a close colleague, invite her to a private area, away from the group. Make safe ride arrangements or accompany her home. If you are not close to that person, stay clear of her. Let your superior of HR take care of it.
Do not just chat with your cube buddies. Introduce yourself to senior managers and mingle. This is a good opportunity to heighten your profile. Easy does it here too, moderation is key.
Sticky situation: A small group is gossiping about what the boss's wife is wearing.
Solution: Gossip has another word in it: go. Don't stay. Even silent you will be associated with the babblers. Excuse yourself and move on to the buffet table.
Light also applies to your cologne. A little dab will do.
3. Respect the invitation
If the invitation only has your name on it, you go solo. Not doing so could be embarrassing, stressful and downright rude. Unexpected guests are also an unexpected expense and can complicate seating arrangements.
If it states your name "and guest" you have the choice of going solo or with a guest.
If you choose to go accompanied, give your guest the invitation facts, including the dress code. Also give him or her info about your work mates. Make sure to make the necessary introductions as you share seasonal cheers. Don't leave your colleagues wondering if the woman by your side is your wife or ...?
Sticky situation: Your spouse always forgets to introduce you.
Solution: Think Nike and just do it! Wait for a lull in the conversation. Introduce yourself with first and last name. Complete your self-introduction with your relationship and status. "Hi, I am Margarita Strawberry, Tom Collins' girlfriend."
4. Promote face time instead of screen time
More and more employers request that employees "unplug" and leave techno at the door during the staff festivity. This way, all connect, face to face. If your company lets you in with all your gadgets, make sure to ask permission before clicking your smart phone's camera and posting.
Sticky situation: Your colleague posted, a "bad" photo of you celebrating, on Facebook.
Solution: Firmly but politely, ask that your photo be removed, immediately. It is always appropriate to ask where the photographer intends on posting pics of you or to request that they not be posted.
5. Don't bling like a Christmas tree
Yes, this is the season for glitter and snowmen but, save your sexy top and holiday cardigan for celebrations with loved ones and family. Remember that what you wear guides people glances on our body. Your clothing choices, even for a non-official work event, influence others' perception of your professional competence.
Follow the dress code on the invitation or ask. Generally, for an after-hours celebration, maintain your daytime dress code and add one festive accessory such as suspenders, jewelry or sparkly shoes. Your flashing Bluetooth does not count.
6. Say thank-you
Find your boss, your employer's representative and say thank you. This is a great opportunity to exchange a few words. Don't corner her. Others will also want to do the same. Send a thank you note to the organizers. This act of gratitude will generate goodwill and appreciation.
7. Honour your words
Any commitments made while having a jolly good time, count. Follow up on all that you said you would do. This shows integrity and will be sure to get you noticed.
Although the holiday office party does not have a formal agenda, keep in mind your personal agenda: projecting a positive impression. Remember, the key word in holiday office party is office
Follow Julie Blais Comeau on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EtiquetteJulie