The months of December and January prove to be a busy time of year for everyone with all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
In addition to the family festivities and copious cups of eggnog forced upon you, you might also find yourself on the guest list of a company holiday party or two.
Depending on the toxic combination of ubiquitous alcohol, music and several slightly discontented employees ready to “let loose” in their ugly sweaters, the holiday parties you choose to attend could make or break your year.
With these festivities coming in full throttle, fear not, as there are several tips on how to get through of one of these events with your job and your dignity intact.
The Unofficial 2014 Holiday Party Survival Guide
Part I: The “Not So Good Ideas"
You know when you are planning an evening ahead? An event that involves drinking with your friends and everyone is excited and the night is your oyster? Well, everything you're thinking about doing might not be a good idea.
You might want to rethink your game plan, or just not do any of the following:
1. Do not dress like Lindsay Lohan did for the "Jingle Bell Rock" lip sync in "Mean Girls."
When planning for a company event, dress-wise, the best advice is to, well, dress wise.
The saying to follow is "when in Rome." If in Rome, they wore business causal, you should also show up in business casual. It is okay to be festive at a holiday party, but there are times for you to leave your green and red sparkly fishnets at home. (This is one of those times.)
2. Do not show up drunk/be the drunkest person.
The point of the holiday party is to get drunk(ish), not be drunk before you show up. If you show up drunk, you will probably be passed out in the poinsettia arrangement before 9 pm.
3. Do not be the guy who brings a flask of whiskey.
A holiday party should not be confused with a dry wedding. You shouldn't have to sneak in alcohol.
If the company has an open bar (usually, they do, or even if they don't), don't bring your own flask. UNLESS of course, your company produces flasks and/or whiskey and you are required to bring your own. (You never know.)
4. Do not bring your Tinder date.
I’m sure she’s nice and all, but a company event is no time to bring someone you barely know to represent you. Bringing your Tinder date is like auto-drafting your fantasy football team. (You just don't do it.)
5. Do not participate in a dance-off.
Unless you are one of the Jabbawockeez or have auditioned for "So You Think You Can Dance," a dance-off is NOT for you. I repeat: IT IS NOT FOR YOU. Don't do it.
Don't do the NaeNae. Don't do the Dougie. Don't do the Hokey Pokey. Save your dance moves for the club or after party. (Also, this is not the time to remind your coworkers that you won a pole dancing contest in college.)
6. Do not say anything you might regret.
There is an old saying: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it drunk at a holiday party in front of your coworkers (or something like that). Chances are, this is because you have already had several sips of the "can do" punch, and everyone knows how you get after one beer.
Now is not the time to let Megan know what you REALLY think about her new promotion. It's never a good idea to talk about your coworkers, but especially when said coworkers are within an earshot.
Speaking of shots...
7. Do not rip shots.
I actually have mixed feelings about this. (See what I did there?)
The shot policy goes hand-in-hand with the dress policy. If the CEO of your company announces that everyone will have a "Christmas shot," then you better take that shot. But, if you would be the only one at the bar ordering all of the shots under the sun, then no shots for you.
8. Do not sit on the company Santa's lap.
Do I have to explain this? Actually, just avoid all laps -- at all costs.
9. Don’t skip work the following day.
If you think your boss is going to buy your “24-hour flu” after he witnessed your ability to shotgun three beers in a minute flat, you have another thing coming.
Part II: The Few, The Proud, The Good Ideas
I know what you're thinking: 'Okay, how exactly am I supposed to have fun at this stuffy event surrounded by coworkers I don't necessarily like, and not be wasted out of my mind at the same time?'
You should definitely have fun at your company holiday party. If you do not have fun, then what is the point? The key is to have fun while NOT making a fool of yourself, or a GIANT scene that could jeopardize your career.
This is all possible by doing the following:
1. Drink ... in moderation (with plenty of water).
As stated above, showing up drunk and being the drunkest are bad ideas. However, it is okay to drink alcohol at your holiday party -- just make sure those drinks aren't straight vodka and you aren't downing them with tequila shooters, and everything should be hunky dory.
Also, if you stay hydrated, you won't make a fool of yourself and won't wake up with as bad of a hangover. You're welcome.
2. Eat food.
Social events are literally the worst when it comes to food because they usually have THE BEST food, and you NEVER have time to enjoy it, unless you're like me and make time for food.
If you don’t abide by my shot rule, and you're raging on an empty stomach, there is hope for you still.
In order to save yourself from becoming the biggest spectacle, it is a good idea to either eat a meal before the holiday party OR take time out of mingling with your coworkers to eat the food provided at the party. Please, just eat.
3. Go solo.
You don't need to have a date, and if you bring one, he or she will most likely feel awkward because of not knowing anyone and stand idly while you socialize with your entire company.
If you decide to bring a date, be careful who you bring. Sometimes, it’s better and less awkward for everyone to just go solo. If you are the date, you should be equally accountable as the person who is bringing you.
One of the biggest reasons companies have holiday parties is for networking. It is always a good idea to talk to your boss before you start drinking. Now is the time to catch up with the people you love to hate on a daily basis.
5. Dance in a group.
Dancing in a group of people is the safest way to freely dance at a party. Dancing in a group is like wearing camouflage in the woods when hunting. No one can single out your terrible dance moves if the people around you are equally distracting.
All in all, there is a fine line between the good, the bad and the ugly at any holiday party. The hardest part about attending holiday parties is finding that line between maintaining composure and having fun.
If you do it right, you can reap the benefits of both. If you do it wrong, well, you will always be known as the guy who tried to swing from a chandelier with a tie wrapped around his head.