It’s getting cold outside. The holiday season is upon us once again. You know what this means – your work holiday party is coming up. While people tend to have some reluctance about holiday parties, they can be a great time. They can also be an opportunity to mingle with people you don’t talk to a lot.

To help you make the most out of your work holiday party this year, we’ve put together these tips:

Holiday season
Holiday season

make an appearance

Many people are tempted to skip the work holiday party. If you choose to skip the event, you could miss out on a great opportunity to get to know people on a more personal level. It’s a great opportunity to socialize with everyone, not just the people you work with closely.

arrive early to get into the conversations

While many people tend to be fashionably late to holiday parties, arriving early can be advantageous. Arriving early allows you to get time with the boss and other people in the company you may not normally have a lot of face time with. Get into those early conversations with coworkers and start the night off right.

avoid talking about work

Even though it’s a work party, keep the shop talk to a minimum. Sure, some work talk will happen, but it’s not the time to pester your boss about a raise or a project you’re starting in the new year. Use the time to have fun and engage in conversations with your coworkers, but avoid getting involved in gossip or workplace politics.   

branch out from your closest group of coworkers

People have a tendency to stick with the people they know. Office holiday parties are no different. The IT department sits at one table, the HR team sit together, and leadership mingle among themselves. Your holiday party is the perfect opportunity to get to know colleagues from other departments or people you don’t work with on a daily basis. Use the party as an ice breaker and to network within your own company.

set aside a moment to speak with your boss

Make it a point to have a conversation with your boss. It’s a great opportunity to have a real conversation with them. Try to talk about something that is not work related.

say hello to colleagues you don’t interact with often 

Make it a point to have quick conversations with as many people as possible. Work the room. Say hello to people you don’t speak with regularly. Is there someone from another department you email with regularly? Make sure to say hello.

try a mocktail if you don’t feel comfortable drinking

Not everyone feels comfortable drinking at work events. Or perhaps you are the designated driver for the evening. You can still enjoy a holiday drink, but make it a mocktail. This allows you to blend in with everyone having a drink and socializing, without drinking alcohol yourself.

put your best foot forward

Having a good time is important, but having too good of a time could leave a bad impression. It’s important to put your best foot forward. But once the party starts and the drinks start to flow, you could have one too many. If you opt to drink, pace yourself and set a limit of 2 or 3 drinks max – this is still a work event and you’re representing yourself professionally.

don’t be the last to leave

Being the life of the party and having fun is great, but know when it’s time to head home. Avoid being the party animal who’s left living it up until the closing bell rings in the wee hours of the morning. If the party is on a weekday, remember, you still have to go to work in the morning. Calling in sick the day after the holiday party, especially if you were having drinks, is not a good look.

plan a safe route home

There’s nothing cool about drinking and driving. ALWAYS plan ahead. If you plan to drink, don’t drive to the party. If you have even a sliver of a doubt about how sober you are, call an Uber. Many work parties provide taxi chits. Use them if you’ve been drinking.

Work holiday parties are a great opportunity to have fun with your coworkers. Make the most of it. Happy holidays!

want more tips to make the most of your career?