How to survive the work Christmas party

Joe Wedgwood | 2nd December 2019

As the festive season snowballs into full swing, the work Christmas party is getting nearer and nearer. You’ve been working hard for the whole year and now it’s time to slip into your most flattering elf outfit and have some festive fun!

For many of us, this is an occasion we Ho-heartedly welcome (sorry). For others, it’s a brave-face-occasion. Whether you fall into the former or latter, you should still read our Christmas check-list to ensure you don’t do anything you might regret. You wouldn’t want to wind up with a bag of coal under your tree now, would you?

Discover what you should and shouldn’t do to ensure you master the Christmas party. It’s worth noting that January is the time of the year with the most staff turnover & recruitment, so it’s wise to behave yourself and not contribute to this statistic!

Let’s kick things off with the fun stuff… What not to do at the work Christmas party:

Be the token drunk person

It’s important to remember that what happens at the office party does not stay at the office party! You’ll be held accountable for any trouble you may cause. If self-control isn’t your thing, then make sure you drink a lot of water and consider enlisting someone to keep a watchful eye on your endeavours.

Here are some cautionary tales from previous Christmas parties to inspire you to drink responsibly: 

  • This first one is an HR horror story. It involves a drunk employee, a flaming Sambuca shot, a man’s nipple, a fire extinguisher and a double dare! It ended with embarrassment, shame and severe nipple-burn!
  • Flaming sambucas injuries are bad… flaming hair is even worse. A very drunk employee with lots of hairspray on was enjoying a cigarette at the Christmas party. She accidentally tapped her ash into her own hair and you can probably work out what happened next!
  • A friend was at the work Christmas party just happened to be walking past two colleagues who appeared to be deep in conversation. The girl was clearly doing all the talking and he overheard her drunkenly slur “I mean, he’s just a [SWEAR WORD]. He tries to manage us all, but he just isn’t cut out for the job. Don’t tell Adam I said that though!”… she was talking to Adam, who just happens to be the new company Director.

Make a fool of yourself on the dance floor

Some people forget the office Christmas party is still a work event and completely let loose on the dance floor. This is a risky little game! By all means have some fun, but no twerking and please don’t do the “Brent dance.”

Make sexual advances on a colleague

You may believe that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year” but this will come crashing down if you are presented with a P45 and a restraining order! This will be your reality if you can’t control your libido at the work party.

Your office crush may be standing under the mistletoe and enticing you to make your move. Before you go over ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Will it be awkward on Monday?”
  • “Will my colleagues gossip?”
  • “Will I regret it?”
  • “Will my boss hear about it?”

Get extra-curricular with the photocopying machine

This is the ultimate work party cliché, but that doesn’t mean that it never happens! It may seem like a great idea at the time to make copies of your bottom and genitalia… and admittedly it is quite funny. It won’t be funny if you get caught though! Why risk it?

Skip work the next day

Unless you’re ridiculously lucky and you had your party on a Friday then the next working day still counts. Regardless of how bad you feel, how much you want to avoid everyone or the fact you woke up in a dumpster on a ferry – you must get to work on time. It’s “damage control day” after all and a hangover isn’t a viable excuse if the whole office was at the same party as you.

Now for the sensible stuff… What you should do at the Christmas party:


You may have the same disdain for the Christmas party as a pre-enlightened Ebeneezer Scrooge, but you should still consider it obligatory. You’ve endured a year of emails, meetings and early starts. Now it’s time to have a bit of fun. It’s a great opportunity to really get to know your colleagues – so forget that you’re a Grinch for one night and have a few drinks on the company credit card!

Dress appropriately 

The Christmas party isn’t the place to wear your lime green Mankini or your gold Kylie hot pants. If you aren’t sure what to wear, then ask your colleagues. If you’re still in two minds, then err on the side of caution.

Work the room and socialise

Think of all those nameless faces you see in the halls every day… well, this is your opportunity to really get to know them. Make an effort to chat with everyone… yes that includes Sarah from accounts who laughs nervously after every sentence and James from sales who spits when he talks…

Unless you work for a small company, most of us will rarely get the chance to speak to the “VIPs”. So take a deep breath, be brave and go for it. Most people will avoid them, which presents a great opportunity for you to make yourself known. You could start by thanking them for the party and telling a few (PC) jokes. Avoid talking about work and most importantly your salary or Christmas bonus!

Plan your journey home in advance

Getting home can often be a nuisance. Especially if your party is somewhere you’ve never been – add alcohol to the mix and it’s a logistical nightmare! Be sure to check train/bus times well in advance and see if there’s someone you can buddy up with. You could even try and blag a ride home from someone who lives nearby. Whatever you decide is up to you, but don’t leave it until the last minute.

Now you’re armed with all the festive dos and don’ts you could ever need, it’s up to you to put them into practice. Sadly, you’ll probably forget all of them in a haze of merriment at the Christmas party and be forced to learn the hard way…

Happy holidays everyone!


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