10 Do's & Don'ts for Your Office Christmas Party
Lee Broderick
Author: Lee Broderick

Lee has worked as a touring musician and songwriter since graduating from LIPA in 2010. After returning from a two-year stint in Nashville working as a staff writer for Universal Music Publishing, Lee joined our exclusive roster as the frontman of one of our most popular bands - Festival Nights. He combines his live performance and songwriting alongside work as Content & Social Media Manager for Tailored Entertainment.

10 Do's & Don'ts for Your Office Christmas Party

We’re fast approaching that most blessed time of year in the corporate calendar – Christmas party season.

It’s typically a hectic time of year for us here at Tailored Entertainment towers. We’re usually inundated with requests to provide unique corporate entertainment to end-of-year do’s of all shapes and sizes, right across the country. It goes without saying that things look a little different this year, but we’re still as excited about the festive period as ever!

Playing at hundreds of festive corporate events has afforded us the opportunity to get pretty keyed up on the delicate intricacies of Christmas party etiquette. Cause, lets be honest, there’s a conflict at the centre of the work Christmas Party preparation, isn’t there? On one hand, you work your socks off all year round, and you absolutely deserve to let your hair down, right? On the other, you can very quickly end up on one glass of Chablis too deep; swerving around the dancefloor like a toddler at a wedding whilst simultaneously trying and failing to get off with the DJ.

And let's not pretend like those self-same problems aren’t still inherent in a virtual Christmas party. Offices around the world are getting set for their end of the year do via Zoom – but we’re certain there’s still plenty of ways to make a total prat of yourself via webcam…in fact, I’m sure many of us have found that out already!

All this can and should be avoided. And guess what? Your favourite purveyors of Christmas party entertainment have got you covered. We’ve decided to let you in on a few do’s and don’ts for your Christmas Party. Think of it as our guide to getting through Christmas party season without needing to submit your resignation come January 2nd. We’ve even thrown in a couple of extra titbits of advice for getting through the virtual Christmas do, should you be subjected to it!

And if you’re an employer or manager tasked with putting together this year’s Christmas party, you’re in luck! We’ve got a little advice for you too - read on to find your own guide to Christmas party etiquette further into the piece.

But without further ado – here we go!

10 Do's & Don'ts for your office Christmas party

1. Make the effort and turn up!

Were starting our do’s and don’ts for your office Christmas party with the most important one of the lot. Show up. It may sound like a no-brainer to some people, but corporate parties definitely aren’t for everyone. You may feel like you spend enough time with your workmates as it is without spending your free time with them too. Maybe you’re not a big drinker, and your concerned about being the only sober person there. Maybe you’re just exhausted after a long year!

Whatever your reasoning, you should definitely make the effort to attend the Christmas party, at least for a couple of hours. Don’t forget, it’s often your team’s only chance of the year to hang out away from the office. You may see a different side to people you didn’t know was even there. You may even make new friends. What’s more, your co-workers will appreciate the effort – and they’ll notice if you don’t show your face!

This counts for double for those virtual Christmas parties, too. It’s not even like you’ve got to book a taxi! You’ve really no excuse for not making the effort, and who knows – you may enjoy yourself much more than expected.

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Fantastic. I have never seen so many members of staff dancing at our Christmas party. I received so many comments saying how fabulous they were. Big thanks and wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

Tina. Corporate Christmas Party. Castle Hotel, Windsor.

2. Get a handle on the dress code

There’s nothing worse than being the most casually dressed person at the party. Conversely, you don’t want to be donning your hat and tails for a few pints at the pub/casual drinks at your kitchen table via Microsoft Teams. Take a minute to get a sense of the occasion. Cocktails in a trendy inner-city bar have a very different dress code to a full-scale black-tie gala. What’s more, if your usual office attire is pretty bland and basic, don’t be afraid to go to town a little on your colour palate.

Having said all that, it’s important to remember to dress appropriately. After all, it's still a work event. Maybe leave the more daring outfits in your wardrobe for the family get togethers!

3. Enjoy yourself in moderation (or don't get too drunk)

You and your team have worked yourselves to the bone all year. This may be your one chance in the corporate calendar to really relax and enjoy yourself – and you deserve it! Have a few drinks, have a dance, make the most of it…you’ve earned it! Still, there’s no better way to say this than to just, well, say it. Don’t get too drunk. No one wants to be known the whole year round as the one person who didn’t know when to call it a night at the Christmas party. Not to sound like your mum or anything, but make sure you eat beforehand – and drink plenty of water throughout the evening. Sorry to sound like a downer, but you’ll thank us come Monday!

This piece of advice is all the more important in the setting of a virtual Christmas party. It’s almost easier to go a little overboard when you're sat in the comfort of your own home. Keep an eye on your booze intake and get plenty of food in to accompany the vodka tonics!

4. Avoid the office romances - especially with the boss!

Okay, so like us you may have spent most ‘Lockdown Parts 1 and 2’ repeat-binging episodes of the US version of The Office. But here’s the thing. We can assure you that the office Christmas Party is not the place to live out your own version of Jim and Pam’s life-affirming love story. We recognise that a drink or two can help you pluck up the courage and go talk to that co-worker you shared a joke with in a Zoom meeting one Tuesday in the summer, but maybe save making your big move for another time. A time with less live karaoke bands, jaegar bombs and nosy co-workers present to witness the interaction.

A great rule of thumb is just to avoid altogether those tempting trysts under the mistletoe with any of your co-workers…that goes especially for your boss! That’s not something you’ll want to be facing up to in a sales meeting the next day.

5. Skip the work chat

A difficult one to avoid for all of us, admittedly – especially when you’re surrounded by people you work with every day. But it’s a good idea to try and give yourself permission to talk about something else other than your workflow directives. Give your co-workers permission to do the same thing - ask them questions about themselves you’ve never asked before. You’ll all relax a lot more if you do!

6. Don't be remembered for the wrong reasons

This is a decent rule of thumb across the board, and could comfortably take the place of every one of these do’s and don’ts for your office Christmas party. Think back to your last few corporate do’s. Remember that one person who made an absolute tool of themselves? Yeah. Don’t be that person. Simple enough really isn’t it? But it’s very easy to get caught up in the fun and forget where you are – remember, you’ve still got to get up in the morning and log on to work with all these people.

7. New to the office? Be sure to mingle

If you’ve just started a new job, the Christmas party can potentially be a bit of an anxiety-laden affair. It’s been hard enough starting in a new role whilst working from home-  You haven’t even worked out how Google Drive works, let alone learned everyone’s names.

However, it’s just as easy to see it as an opportunity. Be sure to circle the party and introduce yourself to everyone. And if you can’t remember someone’s name, be honest and ask them! We’ve all been new to the team once, and we all recognise the fear of asking someone’s name when they seemingly know yours. Try to ask questions about the people you talk to – their family, their personal lives… before you know it, you’ll have a whole host of people to walk you through the operating instructions for that coffeemaker come Monday morning.

8. If you're one of the old guard - include the new people!

Conversely to the point above, if you’ve been at the company a long time be sure to keep an eye out for anyone new who’s seemingly struggling to enjoy themselves. Attending a work party when you’re brand new to the company can be daunting to the best of us – it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to take a little time out and see how they’re getting on, maybe introduce them to your colleagues…they’ll definitely appreciate your efforts!

10. Know when to call it a night

Congratulations! You’ve successfully navigated your way through nine of our ten do’s and don’ts for your office Christmas party. However, the last one is a deal-breaker - the last word in true Christmas party etiquette. Know when to call that cab and head home, or if you’re online – know when to hit that ‘LEAVE’ button before it’s too late. Don’t let all your hard work come undone by too many tequilas in some dodgy (virtual) nightclub at 3am. You’re better than that…aren’t you?

So there you have it! Ten tips to get you through Christmas party season without a hitch, or P45, in sight. But what if your job is to plan the Christmas party, I hear you cry? Well never fear. We’ve got you covered with five top tips for planning an incident free Christmas bash!

Employers - six tips for planning the office Christmas bash...

Here’s a handful of things to get you thinking about how best to organise your Christmas bash without having to put in a call to HR on Monday morning…

Going virtual? Try and make things extra special

If you’re planning a virtual Christmas party, you’ve got a tough task on your hands to keep things as special as they have been in recent years. No one is expecting you to do anything out-of-this-world, but getting everyone in the sprit can really make the difference. Encourage everyone to get a bit festive with their screen backdrops and outfits, plan some fun games for everyone to play (we’re all virtual pub quick experts these days anyway!), you could even send everyone a bottle of their favourite party beverage as a little treat. Not too big a task to enact and not overly expensive, but it’ll go a long way with your team. It’s been a tough year for everyone – making your employees feel valued and appreciated is easy to do, even from a distance!

Don't scrimp on the party - treat your team!

It’s difficult to overstate how much your employees really care about their Christmas party. It’s an opportunity for you to show your team how much you value their work throughout the year, and thank them for everything that they’ve contributed.

Make a real effort with the office shenanigans – maybe book in a few surprises or something a little bit special that everyone can enjoy. Maybe an awesome party band like Gatsby's Jukebox, a vintage themed corporate party band playing 21st Century hits in a roaring 1920's style. You can read more about some awesome Christmas party options in a recent blog.

Invite Everyone

The Christmas party is for absolutely everyone, so make sure you don’t leave anyone off the invite list – it’s a sure-fire way to cause unrest in the office! This includes people absent through sickness, maternity or paternity, or furloughed leave.

Avoid any issues by setting out expectations beforehand

For sure you want people to enjoy themselves but it’s also okay for you to remind everyone that this is still a work function and that it’s important to act accordingly. To avoid any issues further down the road, it can be helpful to remind staff of all this beforehand. What’s more, it can be a good idea to moderate the amount of free alcohol available - and be sure to make sure there’s plenty of food and water on offer, too.

Stay away from awkward work-related chats

The Christmas party really isn’t the place to start discussing promotions and Christmas bonuses, nor for weighing in on thorny office politics. Best to avoid these discussions entirely – it’s easy enough to politely close the conversation down without offending anyone. It is Christmas after all!

Finally - relax and enjoy yourself!

Of course, you want to remain professional; but you should allow yourself the chance to relax a little with your team. You’ll enjoy it more, and they’ll appreciate the opportunity to see a slightly different side to their boss!

So there you go! Everything you need to know to get through Christmas without too many missteps. And if you’re still looking for a band for your big night, get in contact with us and find out how we can help. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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