Tips to help you survive the work Christmas Party

The words ‘Work Christmas Party’ can strike terror into the strongest souls. According to the Institute of Leadership and Management, even senior managers feel anything but relaxed at these events. If you’re not scared, I can only surmise that this is your first year in full-time employment. Here’s hoping you still have your job the morning after.

A couple of years back, I sourced and shared some smart tips about handling this professional / social minefield and it’s now an annual fixture in Zoomly’s blog calendar. Especially after one lovely person asked me to share the tips earlier in December as she’d just committed all the ‘DON’Ts’ and hardly any of the ‘DOs’ at her employer’s party. Let’s face it, this is a rich seam if this selection of party horror stories from Heart listeners is anything to go by (gosh, what a wild bunch you are).


  • Capture images that will come back to haunt you. Hopefully you don’t need to be warned about getting ‘creative with the photocopier’. Finance firm Fleximize shares this and 4 more tips for ‘Surviving the Office Christmas Party’.
  • Let’s assume that, despite the above, you can’t resist taking a photo of the colleague who’s face down in what’s left of the buffet. Please don’t share the images on all your social feeds – unless you want to face a tricky conversation (and possibly disciplinary measures) the next day. How would you feel in their shoes?
  • Say anything that you wouldn’t say at your workplace in the daytime. Now is not the time to complain loudly about your boss’s demands or how long it takes to get your expenses reimbursed. Don’t badmouth colleagues and watch your language. Recruiter Robert Half has more tips here.
  • Have a #MeToo moment. It’s neither cool nor wise to prey on the less powerful – and if you go too far it’s illegal. Don’t discover that what you thought was ‘harmless banter’ could cost you your job.
  • Get totally drunk. It’s easily done when everyone seems to want to top up your glass or worse, get you to join their drinking game. You could end up in all kinds of trouble – with colleagues, managers and fellow guests. And remember you’ve got to get yourself home.


  • Make small talk with as many colleagues from other departments as you can. The Christmas party is a great opportunity to build relationships with people you know less well than your immediate team-mates. Yes, even those serious souls you think are a little dull. It’s the season of good-will, remember. Stuck for something to say? Er… how about you ask them what they’ll be doing over Christmas? Or you can memorise some of the small talk questions from this post by The Muse.
  • Have a good lunch. No, not a mostly liquid one: a nutritious square meal that will fill you up with nourishment for and all that dancing you’ll be doing and soak up all that Christmas cheer you’ll be drinking.
  • Learn from others’ words of warning based on their experience. If they’re all strangely tight-lipped, gasp at Business Insider’s 24 funniest party season stories.
  • Set up a ‘safe home’ buddy ahead of the event. You can book a ride together (a few days ahead, or at least the morning of the party, but not on the night – are you dreaming?) and ensure you both get home safely. With your shoes.
  • Wear your Christmas jumper. If not at the office Christmas Party, then when?

If you’re hungover and horrified as you read this, here are some soothing pandas with their tips, via Glamour.

If you want to read more horror stories from work Christmas parties, you may enjoy last year’s post.

Have a great time!


Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’ and ‘How to be Zoomly at work’

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Image credits: – Drunk office worker after christmas party – picture: drunk office worker — Photo by Elnur_Depositphotos

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