Tales From A Hungry Life

December 22, 2016

10 Tips for Surviving The Office Holiday Party

by Maria Schulz

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…well, almost. You’ve got a million things to do and no time to do it. Of course, in the middle of all of this madness marches the Office Holiday Party! While making merry with your colleagues can be a hoot and a holla, there are some landmines you must avoid. So, without further ado, here are my…

Wait! I'm not ready

Wait! I’m not ready

10 Tips For Navigating The Sometimes Rocky Shoals of the Office Christmas Party

#10. If it’s a party at a fancy location, don’t dress like you’re going to a ho-down. This ain’t hot dogs and burgers on the company lawn. Deny thy “hee-haw” ways and reach into your closet for an outfit that would make your momma proud.

Not the look you're going for

Not the look you’re going for

#9. Don’t dress like Lady Gaga in her meat dress. This is an office holiday party. Your hero may be Lady Marmalade/The American Gigolo, but save that look for clubbing with friends. Would Grandma gag if she saw your outfit? If the answer is even “maybe,” then look for a more suitable get-up.

#8. Don’t drink yourself silly. Sure, a glass or two of your favorite alcoholic beverage is a great way to loosen up and enjoy yourself. But everyone knows/has a story about that office co-worker who got plastered at the party and then told the CEO what a total nimrod/creepy jerk he/she has been all year. You probably love that story. But…don’t be that person!

Run away!

Run away!

#7. Steer clear of the office gossip. Of course it’s amusing to hear about Peggy and Peter and their raging office affair, or how Mr. Smithers from the executive office is hot for Penelope Pittstop from accounting. But hanging around with the Office Gossip may just land you in the next story about something stupid you’ve done, or make you guilty by association. You don’t want to be the next punchline in his stand-up routine.

#6. If the Office Suck Up/Do Nothing wins an award, smile and clap politely. There are greater travesties of justice to rail about in the outside world. Raining on this person’s parade just makes you look like a jerk.

So long, Crabby

So long, Crabby

#5. Should your co-worker ask if he/she can sit at your mostly empty table during the cocktail hour, of course welcome them. That’s the case even if this person makes your gag reflex work on overdrive. You have to work with this person the rest of the year. Chalk it up to the spirit of Christmas or your second glass of wine, but do it. Keep that smile on your face and the conversation light. Invite others to join you. You’ll live, and maybe this lonely, crabby outcast from the office will carry that goodwill you’ve expressed forward into your daily interactions.

Weather? Check. Shopping? Check.

Weather? Check. Shopping? Check.

#4. Brush up on your small talk in the days leading up to the event. Find neutral, non-offensive topics to discuss and practice on your significant others. “Can you believe how hot/cold/rainy/snowy it’s been?” “Did you do all of your shopping yet?” “Are you going away for the holidays?” are all great starters, and they might just get the dud sitting next to you off and running.

#3. Don’t overshare. No, this is NOT the time or place to tell everyone you come in contact with about that hilarious time you did a drunken version of “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” on your old office karaoke machine or how you egged the boss’s car after last year’s party. That’s old news, or at least you better hope it is. Don’t go there.

Dance like Snoopy

Dance like Snoopy

#2. If there’s dancing, get up and dance. The hours fly by when you’re out there, and even if you look like Elaine on Seinfeld, you’re still having a good time. The boss sprung for a DJ/band. You might as well enjoy it.

Don't be that person

Don’t be that person

#1. Thank the hoi polloi in charge for a lovely event. Maybe the food was terrible, the band gave you a headache, and 5 hours of merry making with people you’ve already spent 40 hours with this week seems like overkill. So what? Don’t be a Debbie Downer. You got to go to a party. It’s not like you spent the day working in a salt mine.


Reindeer Cake!

Let them eat Reindeer Cake! Enjoy this recipe from the Food Network and watch the video so you can see how to decorate it perfectly. Go ahead, make Santa proud! Two words: ganache and pretzels. ‘Nuff said.

So…what are your best tips for surviving the office holiday party? What’s your best holiday party story? Favorite recipe? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks! Enjoy.



  1. Where were you when I could’ve used these tips. I did tell the Chief Accountant off at one party and even though it was years after and I even served two years in the Army he remembered it and finally I had to leave the job if I ever was going to get promoted. However as it turns out I spent the next 15 years with American International Pictures which I loved, movies, stars I met cocktail parties galore. Maybe it’s better I told Howard Berkle off that Christmas Eve in or about 1954. My journey has been a lot better than it would have been So live, love laugh and be happy!!!..

    Comment by bglou — December 22, 2016 @ 10:43 am | Reply

    • Thankfully it worked out for you. Many times it doesn’t! Oh well, at least you walk away with a story to tell. Always a silver lining!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — December 22, 2016 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  2. You need to see if Louie is reading this. Even though he didn’t have one this year, he’s had some “interesting characters” show up. If you ask him and he says, “I’ve NO idea what Paul’s talking about…..” just smile and move on. You’ll know he’s not telling you anything…….and yet he’s telling you EVERYTHING!

    Comment by Paul — December 22, 2016 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

    • The annual party is usually the best place to find “interesting characters!” No wonder people look forward to it.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — December 22, 2016 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

      • Maybe THAT’S why he cancelled it……..there were some people who were getting a little TOO interesting! HAAAAAAA!!!!!!

        Comment by Paul — December 22, 2016 @ 5:49 pm

  3. Maria, i have been avoiding holiday parties my entire work life. when I was younger I blamed it on having to be home for the kids. After hearing about the antics of my co-workers I made the right choice. Fist fights almost broke out on the dance floor over challenges, and one year the Principal instigated it. The next day (the parties were usually on a Thursday night) there was hell to pay and the PTA was there so the whole neighborhood was apprised of the incident. Of course some of the students heard things from their parents and asked about them. Then there were the people who didn’t like the place, food, people, etc. who gave the party an even better spin that lasted the whole school year. Over the course of my employment I was also in two or three schools at a time and gave the excuse that I can’t go to one party and not the other. I know some people have no choice, but I think the best thing to do with people who have a tendency to be watchers, petty, and drunks, if you have to go, always bring the conversation back to them, by the fourth drink they are ready to tell you anything (and usually do).

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — December 23, 2016 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

    • YEP! Tony’s RIGHT! Just don’t go AT ALL! Don’t worry, I read the entire post, but I like the first part of Tony’s dissertation more so. JUST AVOID IT!

      Comment by Paul — December 23, 2016 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

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