The weather’s getting colder, the drinks are flowing and somewhere in the distance, you can hear the dulcet tones of your colleague singing along to Slade on the radio. You guessed it- it’s time to put your glad rags on because it’s Christmas party time again. Whether you love them or hate them, the annual festive do is a chance for the whole company to get together, celebrate successes and generally let their hair down for the night. For some companies, the festive do is legendary, with every party topping the previous year. But what are the biggest misconceptions about the Christmas party? And how can you make sure you have a fantastic time without hurting your career prospects?
5 myths debunked
For the most part, managers are happy to turn a blind eye to Christmas party antics. If you’ve had one too many, your boss is likely to book you a taxi so you can slink off to the comfort of your own bed. But just because the party is a chance to blow off some steam, it doesn’t mean absolutely anything goes. While you may not remember that loud conversation you had about confidential bonus figures, there’s a good chance someone else will. If you don’t fancy facing a disciplinary hearing in the new year, make sure you choose your topics of conversation wisely.
They’re intimidating events
It’s easy to be shy about the prospect of the Christmas party. After all, there’s a good chance you’re going to see Martin from accounts dressed as Santa while he blasts out his favourite show tunes on the budget karaoke machine. Try to keep in mind that it’s a party, not a formal presentation, so even if the top managers are there you can still relax and act normally. (Although you might want to refrain from suggesting a game of boozy Twister when the CEO asks how your evening is going.) Mingle as much as possible and consider circulating with a work pal if you’re nervous.
Everyone likes to have a natter and the Christmas do is a great chance to catch up with friends and colleagues who you don’t get to see very often. But just because you spotted Janet from HR cosying up with the good-looking guy from the catering team, doesn’t mean you should repeat the story to the whole room. If you wouldn’t talk about a friend, don’t talk about a colleague either, no matter how harmless it might seem at the time. Gossiping can be seen as petty, unprofessional and unkind, so it’s wise to keep it off your work CV.
The dress code might say glam, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should splash out on that skin-tight silver catsuit. If there’s a theme for the event then it’s always great fun to get dressed up, but you need to be mindful of the fact senior staff will be there. Employees are generally encouraged to rock their own style at the Christmas do, but it’s a still a good idea to dress appropriately. Check out pictures from the previous year or ask what others are planning to wear if you’re concerned about nailing the dress code.
You’ll finish your ‘to do’ list the next day
The biggest Christmas party myth of all is the grand ambition that you’ll finish your full to-do list the day after the party. If you’re planning to leave a bit early on the big day so can squeeze in an early eggnog, just make sure you’ve got all the essentials ticked off first. To avoid next day ‘fatigue’ companies may want to host their party on a Friday night or have a fun team building activity the next day. Failing that, make sure you order a round of bacon sandwiches for the morning!