Column: Smart office Holiday Party etiquette


Jingle Bells!  Its Holiday Party Time again!  However, corporate parties are still inherently about business.  You have worked hard to create a professional image.  One night of inadvertent blunders are the easiest way to fall off the fast track to success.  Don’t risk damaging your professional reputation by following these simple steps…

Eat prior.  This is to prevent any overindulgence.  Gauge the plate sizes of the hors d’oeuvres to determine how much you should enjoy.

Work the room.  Prepare ahead and have several topics, questions, or comments in mind when you arrive at the party and practice those introductions. Introduce yourself to the CEO, or VIP’s, and mingle with people from other departments, too.  During introductions, if you are seated, stand up to show respect.

Drink, dance, and sing in moderation.  You are being watched and do not want to relive your performances on Monday morning.

Attend and know who is invited.  Unless you are very ill, attendance is important.  Make sure spouses and significant others are on the guest list.

Appropriate attire.   Festive holiday attire such as sparkly red shoes will dazzle. Revealing clothes can alter your coworkers’ and manager’s perception of you as a competent professional.  It is best to be a tad festive, but also conservative.

Respect.  Ask fellow employees prior to taking pictures and posting them.

Express gratitude.  Prior to leaving, be sure to thank those who coordinated the party and also your employer.  Within a day or two, send out a written thank you, as well.  A great deal of effort was made hoping you would have a good time. It will make you stand out from the many employees who do not express gratitude, in addition to being the right thing to do.

Do you have any holiday party etiquette tips not mentioned above? Share them and any other etiquette questions you have.

Beverly Randolph, MA, is the Founder & Director of The Protocol School of Indianapolis and a certified Business Etiquette, Children’s Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant. Beverly lives in Carmel and is an Adjunct Instructor at Marian University teaching business-related courses.  Have any etiquette dilemmas? For more information, email Beverly at [email protected], call 317-430-5696, and/or visit    


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