Office Holiday Party Guide for Entrepreneurs: Dos and Don’ts

December 11, 2014

4:47 pm

‘Tis the season of office holiday parties! It’s that time of the year of endless celebrations before you have a little break.

We’ve created a brief guide for entrepreneurs for their best advice on everything that has to do with holiday party etiquette: From what to bring and awkward situations to avoid (mistletoe and boozing). Here are the Dos and Don’ts:

Do Find Out the Dress Code 

You don’t want to show up at the holiday party wearing an ugly sweater when everyone else is wearing formal attire, or vice-versa. Do a little research before, find out what is appropriate, and go with it.

Don’t Forget to Bring Something to the Party

First of all, find out if you are required to bring something to the party. Only show up to a party empty-handed if it’s a corporate event. If this is a smaller party, make sure to bring a bottle of wine or two. I recommend a bottle of champagne, who doesn’t like to hear the sound of corks popping during the holidays?

If you want to bring something non-alcoholic, a scented candle will do.

Do Brush up on Your Small Talk

Hey, I’m not a fan of small talk either, but it’s the best way to avoid awkward conversations. So keep all conversations light and fun. That means no work discussions about  a product delay or budget issues. This is not the time to talk about what is wrong with the business, it’s time to celebrate.  Stick to topics of travel, arts, and hobbies.

Don’t Forget to Greet and Thank the Host 

Make sure to greet the host right away. Sometimes we get caught up talking to colleagues and other guests that we don’t even greet the host until about an hour after you are at the party. They will remember you made an effort to greet and say thank you for the invite.

Do Exchange Gifts

This is the chance for you to tell a colleague, your boss or business partner that you are thankful and appreciative. Take this opportunity and give them something meaningful that you know they will like. Just don’t make it too personal, it may get weird.

Don’t Get Drunk 

Try not to get drunk; I know it’s tempting after a year full of ups and downs.  But don’t embarrass yourself or others by hitting that bottle too hard. Wait to get home. My suggestion is to stick to two drinks and a glass of water in between every drink.

Don’t Try to be the DJ

Unless you are hosting the party, don’t try to be the DJ. Sure, you are tired of hearing  Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” but stay away from the music; it’s rude.

Do Kiss Under the Mistletoe

It’s festive, and if the other person is also into it, go in for a kiss. It’s a harmless tradition, and having a few mistletoes around the party is a charming detail.

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome 

Don’t over stay your welcome (if this party is at someone’s private home). But don’t leave until your boss does, you don’t want to miss an important toast or speech.


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Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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