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Party Pooper

How to avoid making a fool of yourself at a Christmas party

Written by . Published on December 20th 2011.


Party Pooper

THE yearly office Christmas party sounds like the perfect opportunity to finally brush off the dust that’s been covering up the atmosphere yearlong and to add in some spice into the melting pot (perhaps with some help from the mulled wine, served in plenty). Maybe you think it’s a time to finally grab that chance to chat about something else other than finance stuff with cute Ben from accounting, to discretely tell the PR girls that everyone secretly thinks they’re stuck up or to admit to your boss that he’s actually pretty cool. Think again.

The difference between celebrating a great night with your colleagues and ending up as the embarrassing mess of the party is slim – frighteningly slim – but there are some basic principles easily to stick to that can be followed to have a successful night.

Before even considering attending a Christmas party, you should be aware that a complete etiquette guide on such occasions should have been read and memorised by heart. It’s one of the secret kinds of handbook that everybody above 35 has read, but nobody below that age has even heard off. To put you off even more, it’s incredibly important you stick to its rules, because taking one step off its set tracks can leave you doomed forever.

At any given formal occasion, there will always be one or two people making absolute fools out of themselves. In fact, most parties are remembered solely by who did what and how silly it was. “Do you remember that time when … puked in the punch, and (insert name here) drank it by accident?” is the common format. Make sure your name doesn’t fall into this category.

The difference between celebrating a great night with your colleagues and ending up as the embarrassing mess of the party is slim – frighteningly slim – but there are some basic principles easily to stick to that can be followed to have a successful night.


What to wear?
Finally, a chance to show off your ripped body, Pilates-sculpted booty or slick fashion sense to your co-workers! That should give you a big boost on the office cool-o-metre. Think again. How can your boss and peers think you take your job seriously if you show up in a teeny tiny miniskirt or sparkly, revealing dress?


What to eat?

Unless you work for a place that serves food (or for that matter, any other place where the chef can become so insulted by your resistance to indulge in his food that he’ll chase you around with a cheese knife), don’t work yourself through the stack of freshly baked sponge puddings. Yes, it’s free, and yes, somebody has to eat them, but be aware of your boss’ burning eyes in your back. Even though the office will have spend a considerable amount of money on the party, bosses (and office gossipers) will still take notice of who’s working the company’s credit card.

This could be you if you're not careful, or worse, you could wake up next to him...This could be you if you're not careful, or worse, you could wake up next to him...

 
What to drink?

Certainly something you deserve after a year of doing work that’s more akin to slavery. Champagne till the bar runs dry! Or not? It’s safe to say that binge drinking is not the smartest idea when your peers and boss surround you. Remember that they’re used to seeing the professional you, not the bar dancing, vomiting and loud singing along to every song you. It might turn out to be a little embarrassing when you next see your colleagues at the photocopier the next day, to say the least. A couple of glasses of wine, a cocktail and perhaps some champagne followed by chanting to yourself ‘I have to see these people on Monday morning’ should be enough to have a bubbly night.


What to do?

Nothing is as awkward as not knowing what to do, and this awkwardness gets tripled when at a Christmas party. Nobody wants to be known as office the wallflower. This is perhaps the point where things go downhill for person X and Y, as now drinking seems like the right thing to do. Restrain yourself. Do have a drink, but stick to one or two, then do a little twist or spin on the dance floor (but perhaps leave this out if you’re known to do a robot dance) and then, most important of all, make sure to chat to your colleagues.

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