How to be the Christmas party legend for all the right reasons!

It’s that time of year again and love it or hate it, the office Christmas party is looming large on the calendar.

Believe it or not, HR Professionals do like a good old knees up occasionally! With that in mind we have put together what we hope will be a fail-safe guide to enjoying the festivities without an inappropriate mistletoe or photocopying incident…

Make an effort, turn up
Holding a Christmas party is a great way to thank employees for their dedication and hard work. However, some people simply don’t like the festive season or would rather spend free time with their families. But going along, even for a short period of time, will show your camaraderie and commitment to your organisation. If you simply can’t go tell the organiser well in advance, don’t just ignore the invite in your inbox.

If you are new to an organisation the Christmas party can be a daunting prospect, however, use the time to get to know your colleagues, you have the potential to build great relationships!

Don’t forget that you are still technically at work
This is the big one! Not wishing to put a dampener on things, but just because you are dressed up in all your finery and out of your physical work environment, you are still technically within a work environment and therefore the same rules still apply. However, it is not the time to corner your boss and discuss a pay rise, or communicate your disgust that the biscuit box is always emptied by the same person. This is a time to celebrate and socialise, not vent your frustrations about your job or colleagues.

What to wear
Check the dress code, many a faux pas has been made misunderstanding fancy dress and “fancy” dress. Make sure you are turning up in your best bow tie, not as Batman and Robin a la Del Boy and Rodney.

Dancing the night away
Dance, Dance, Dance, yes you are allowed, it’s the Christmas party after all. The combination of good times, alcohol and festive cheer will always lead to the inevitable dance off, but unless your name is John Travolta, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

With enough Prosecco clouding your judgement it’s all too easy to convince yourself that your heart belongs to the newbie in design. It doesn’t! Getting all kissy (consensual or not), or being overzealous on the dance floor, could lead to injury either to yourself, someone else or even a sexual harassment claim being made against you. Enjoy the dancing, but make sure you stay off the naughty list!

Know your own limits
Be responsible with your drinking, and don’t forget…it’s OK to say no or to stop.
Getting drunk at the works Christmas party it’s definitely not OK. No one needs to see you rolling around the floor, passing out in the toilets or having to rely on your work colleagues to look out for you. Keep hydrated, switch to non-alcoholic drinks and don’t drink 15 flaming sambucas whilst dancing on the table.

Getting home
Always keep in mind when it’s time to leave, you do not need to be the last person standing. If you drove in, make sensible arrangements to ensure you get home safely. Leave your car and most importantly DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. Either pre-book a taxi or arrange a shared lift.

If you have had a lot to drink the night before its always worth remembering that it can take your body 1 hour to break down 1 unit of alcohol. If you didn’t finish drinking until the small hours, by the time 8am rolls around you may still be unable to drive. As a guide, there are 3 units in a pint of lager and 1.5 units in a 125ml (small) glass of white wine.

Don’t throw a sickie
Unfortunately, some Christmas parties fall on the proverbial school night. If you have overindulged the night before, regardless of how terrible you feel, do not call in sick! Everyone will know what’s wrong with you and the great times of the previous night will be lost in a sea of resentment. But don’t forget, you may still be over the limit to drive!

Social Media…be wise and compliant
Do you really want to post your evenings high jinx on social media? Have your colleagues given permission for you to use that picture of them? Don’t betray confidences. Parents or partners seeing their loved ones in an embarrassing state is not funny, particularly if you are on the receiving end. Save your posts for when you have a clear head and can think sensibly, and only share if it’s appropriate and you have permission if the posts involve anyone else!

Say thank you to your boss or the organiser, even if it’s after the actual event. People go to great lengths to arrange Christmas parties and it can often be a thankless task.

Finally, have fun and be the Christmas party legend for all the right reasons.

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