As the 'silly season’ fast approaches many of us are looking forward to our annual work Christmas party. While this highly anticipated event is a great opportunity to let your hair down with your colleagues and celebrate your achievements over the past twelve months, there is an etiquette we should all keep in mind to ensure this year’s work Christmas party is a success.

Here are our top 10 recommendations to make the most of the festivities, whilst maintaining a level of professionalism - and ultimately not being asked to attend a disciplinary meeting on your return in the New Year!

1.     Move away from your phone - As technology becomes more and more part of our lives, it is often hard to engage with others without checking Facebook, emails or Googling different things.Keep a check on yourself. By all means use your phone to take pictures of yourself and your work family but remember to spend the time engaging with colleagues that you know, and maybe even some you don’t.

2.     Meet new friends - Christmas parties are a great opportunity to get to know people you don’t normally get a chance to speak with. Whilst we recommend you are polite and courteous; your annual Christmas Party is a great opportunity to break down the barriers associated with a colleague’s position. We spend a significant amount of time with the people we work with, why not get to know them better?

3.     Consider your approach - While we all love healthy chit chat at any function, your old (and new) friends are not looking for a stage 5 clinger. While a few drinks may give you the impression that you are speaking with your long-lost best friend, be mindful that the feelings may not be mutual. Nobody wants to feel as though they are a caged animal.

4.     Fancy Dress - Fancy-dress at a Christmas Party often adds an additional element of fun to the function. HOWEVER, we would recommend using caution when dressing up. Ensure you are aware of the dress code, if the invitation states semi-formal, arriving in fancy dress may just make you (and others) feel awkward.

If you love Christmas, and let’s face it who doesn't, you could look at introducing small festive pieces to your outfit while still adhering to the nominated dress code. We all love good festive earrings or a tie.

And, while I believe this statement should not need to be made. Ensure that if you are dressing up in theme that your choice of outfit is appropriate, aka G-Rated. It is a work function after all.

5.     Don’t Hog the Food - I once worked with an individual who boasted about eating 14 steaks at a function. Moral of the story, just because the food (and drink) are free, does not mean you need to devour every morsel that passes you. It is always important to be considerate and polite when attending your work Christmas party.

If you know you will be hungry, or if the invitation states finger food will be served, eat prior to attending. This will ensure that you will feel better after consuming alcohol and will mean you are not famished when the wait staff begin to serve the food.

6.     Maintain some professionalism - At the end of the year we are all ready to celebrate and to be honest, many of us feel entitled to treat ourselves with a few cold beverages for all of our hard work and extra hours throughout the year. While no one should deny your happiness, maintaining some professionalism goes a long way, after all this is a WORK Christmas party.

Remember - Using your manners and addressing your friends and colleagues by the correct name is always a welcome gesture. Pet names or insider jokes are for friends and family only.

7.     You don’t have to be the Life of the Party - After a few alcoholic beverages it is a well-known #fact that we become better singers and dancers. We are also funnier, and the volume and pitch of our voice seems to become irrelevant. While these are harmless, we can guarantee you that re-enacting the scene from Coyote Ugly where the bar staff dance on the bar,will not do you any favours and depending on the act, may lead to your attendance in a disciplinary meeting.  

Save yourself the embarrassment of being #that person, by controlling the urge to dance on the bar, maintain some professionalism at your work Christmas party and save your moves for another time.

8.     Be Inclusive - There is nothing worse than joining a conversation where people are already discussing a topic and getting the big freeze. While generally speaking the one thing you will all have in common at a work Christmas party is work, don’t be the #debbiedowner only talking about clients and spreadsheets.

Try to keep topics open and general and be inclusive and welcoming to new arrivals to ensure everyone feels comfortable joining into the conversation.

9.     Don’t trash the venue - This should be obvious but…While we all condone enjoying yourself at your work Christmas party there is a requirement to conduct yourself as an adult.

We have all been in a situation where accidents happen, and there has been unintentional damage or an item broken at the venue, intentionally causing damage is a no-go zone. It is important to remember that while you are having a good time, you are at a work event and representing your employer.

Drawing unnecessary attention to yourself through poor behaviour and causing unnecessary additional costs to the business through damage, will 100% see you attending a disciplinary meeting when you return to the workplace - and the real possibility that you may be looking fora new role in the New Year.

10.  Have your Co-Worker’s back

One of the most important points to remember about the work Christmas party is that all employees feel safe. If you notice a more vulnerable colleague being bullied or harassed, do what you can to assist them out of the situation, without engaging in a heated verbal exchange.

If you are going to consume alcohol, set yourself some limits and stick to them. Also, organise with one of your colleagues to check in with them and for them to do the same for you. This will ensure you both feel supported and that you have someone to assist you should a situation arise that makes you feel uncomfortable.

While the end of year work Christmas party should be seen as an opportunity to celebrate a great year of hard work with your colleagues, we all need to be mindful that these events are seen as an extension of our workplace.

If you are not sure how to approach your employees about the expectation of your upcoming Christmas party or if you would like further information – we can help. Just email

Candice MacFadyen

Candice is an energetic and pragmatic problem solver focused on tailoring bespoke....

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