How To Survive The Office Christmas Party: 9 Simple Rules

It's office Christmas party season again! But before you crack open the bubbly (or Jägermeister) let's just take a couple of moments to set some ground rules! Read this week's blog to find out more.

June 21, 2023

It’s Christmas party season again.

Whoop, whoop!!!

And I’m sure you’re very excited about the festive celebrations you’ll be treated to.

But before you crack open the bubbly or Jägermeister, lets take a brief moment to discuss something a little more serious...

The 9 (simple-ish) rules of Christmas office party etiquette.

I'm not trying to be a buzz kill...

I'm just trying to help you have fun, without being subjected to that "oh-my-goodness-why-did-I-do-that? morning-after-the-night-before dread!"

And yes, I've been there myself...

Rule 1: Don’t be a bloody bore.

Your office Christmas party is the perfect opportunity to get to know your colleagues (and boss) a little better and cement long-lasting relationships on a slightly more personal level.

It’s a time to have fun and be merry!

It’s not the time to talk about last month’s expense reports, next month’s marketing campaign and how annoying it is that you don’t get paid until the day before Christmas… etc.

Keep the conversation casual, fun and avoid work discussion as much as humanly possible.

Rubbish at small talk? Click here for some great conversation starters!

Rule 2: Put the phone away!

Don’t be that person.

You know the one; constantly snapping pictures, sending Tweets and updating Facebook and Instagram (etc.) throughout the office party.

(Ok if you’re the social media manager at your office, this will be a little harder…)

Firstly, it’s annoying!

If I wanted to feature in selfie after selfie, I’d have my own phone out.

Secondly, you’re wasting your time!

This is your opportunity to have fun and actually get to know other people (see rule #1).

Thirdly, it makes the party look rubbish.

If you’re having “the best time ever” how do you have so much time to keep going on social media?

Recruiter Pro Tip One last thing; you also might not want to get too trigger-happy with the photos because as the booze continues to flow, you might end up posting something you regret! Your co-workers and/or boss won’t thank you in the morning when they see the barrage of inappropriate, horrible and embarrassing pictures you shared, the night before. Worse still, it could seriously affect your company’s reputation.

Keep it to one or two posts max (early in the evening) and then put it away.

Rule 3: Dress appropriately.

Incredibly obvious, right?

You’d be surprised…

It’s important to remember that you must still maintain a certain degree of professionalism! Here are our three golden rules to stick by…

  • Don’t dress too casually. Joggers, hoodies, trainers (depending on event) could come across unprofessional, lazy and ungrateful.
  • Don’t dress too skimpily. Don’t show too much skin and do try to wear clothes that fit properly (you don’t want a dreaded wardrobe malfunction).
  • Don’t dress too smart. You’ll look a bit peculiar waltzing around in a ball gown when everyone else is smart-casual.

If in doubt – ask your fellow co-workers what they’re planning to wear!

(And you can’t go too far wrong with a Christmas jumper…)

Rule 4: Quit your moaning.

It’s really bad taste to spend the entire evening badmouthing and moaning about your job, your boss, your co-workers and/or the party.

People will soon pick up on your negative vibe and will either choose to ignore you or join you -which could bring down the atmosphere of the entire event.

Your boss certainly isn’t going to be impressed with that.

Pipe down and have some fun.

Rule 5: Don’t drink too much.

I know, it’s Christmas; it’s time to let loose a little bit.

But there is a line that you don’t want to cross. (See some horror stories, here).

Try to stay within your own limits; don’t get sucked into the peer pressure of downing drinks, playing drinking games or keeping up with the crowd, if you know you can’t hack it.

Keep yourself in check, make sure you’ve got a safe ride home and then you won’t have to worry about that dreaded morning-after-the-night-before-oh-crap-what-did-I-do? feeling.

Rule 6: Don’t overshare!

Are you the kind of person who has a couple and then starts spilling their deepest darkest secrets?

Don’t! You may well regret it.

It may sound a bit cynical and suspicious, but you just don’t know when or how your co-workers (or boss) could use that information against you in the future; is it worth the risk?

(It does happen, believe me.)

Recruiter Pro Tip Avoid any conversation that starts along the lines of… “Joan, you’re actually a really nice person. When I first met you, I thought you were a massive @#@#…” *Cringe.* This may seem acceptable at the time but your co-worker will remember and in the cold light of day, who knows how they’ll interpret your back-handed compliment?

Before sharing anything sensitive with your co-workers, I would have a serious think about whether you can trust them and what the repercussions would be if the “secret” came out.

Rule 7: Don’t do drugs.

Look, I’m not here to lecture you about what you do in your spare time… but it is (seriously) never a good idea to take drugs at a work party.

It’s extremely obvious, totally unnecessary (it’s a work do for goodness sake) and it’s really not going to look good if your boss finds out.

Is it really worth the (very real) risk of losing your job?

Rule 8: Don’t make “The Move.”

In a survey by Recruiting Times 39% of people admitted to ‘intimate activity’ at the office Xmas party!

Now, I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of office romances - you can read about those HERE.

What I will say is think things through before making “the move.”

  • Do you really want to be at the centre of gossip? (It’s bound to happen).
  • How is your boss going to react? (Are relationships frowned upon?)
  • Will it be awkward when you go back into work?

Office romances (or flings) can have a really serious effect on your career and reputation. Before you do anything, consider the consequences of your actions!

Anyway, whatever happened to good old fashioned dating?

Rule 9: Do go.

I know; there are so many rules and so many opportunities to completely embarrass yourself and perhaps you don’t even really want to spend time with your co-workers outside of work anyway – but you still shouldn’t skip the office party!

  • You don’t want to look ungrateful to your boss, who’s planned this party for you.
  • You don’t want to seem unsociable to the rest of the team (even if you are)!
  • It’ll be fun, once you get there!

Go on… you’ll regret it if you don’t!


Ok, I’m not trying to be a party pooper!

I’m just trying to help you have fun so you can look back on the Christmas party with a smile rather than a terrible sinking feeling in your stomach.

You don’t want to ruin your Christmas break by worrying about going back into the office!

If you’re looking for some more advice on how to navigate your career, with etiquette & success, click here to sign up to our weekly post.


Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
We help great people get brilliant jobs in top companies.

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.