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How to Survive the Holiday Work Party

With the holidays creeping up on us, so are those workplace holiday parties.  Some people love them; some people hate them.  The informality of these parties can make them a bit of a minefield if you don't handle yourself appropriately.  Follow these tips and the holiday party will be a positive ending to your year at work:

Go to the party.  Yes, it's a busy time of year and maybe you aren't overly excited about seeing your coworkers outside of work hours but it's important that you make an effort to attend.  The holiday party is a valuable opportunity for you to bond with your coworkers and to demonstrate your commitment to the organization.  Skipping the party makes your coworkers feel like you don't enjoy spending time with them.  You don't have to stay long; just make an appearance.  

Make new connections.  Being outside of your normal work routine allows you to talk to coworkers that you don't usually see.  From a networking perspective, this is a valuable opportunity.  Talk to lots of people and try to build relationships.

Limit your alcohol intake.  If you are feeling uncomfortable, you may be tempted to overindulge with alcohol.  This is a mistake.  Drinking too much could damage your relationships and undermine your professional image.  Limit yourself to one or two drinks MAX.  Also make sure that you eat lots of food and drink lots of water.

Maintain boundaries.  With the drinks flowing and the music pumping, you might feel that this is the right time to confess your undying love to your co-worker.  Don't do it!  This is also not the right opportunity to bust out your inappropriate sense of humour.  Enjoy yourself but stay professional; you want to avoid an awkward Monday morning!

Most importantly, have fun! Don't treat the holiday party like it's a chore!  Everyone will know if you are watching the clock and waiting for it to be over.  Relax and enjoy yourself!  This is the time to enjoy them company of the people that you work with and to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year.  Eat the food, take in the music and engage in some good conversation; the New Year will be here and life will be back to normal soon enough.  

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by