Gross: Christmas party etiquette


The Ugly Christmas Shop/Flickr

Parties, presents and ugly Christmas sweaters are the most expected part of the Christmas traditions. The Christmas Party is the perfect time to show your true colors — advertise your wit, your charming smile or your affluence in dance, but don’t go overboard. Be a respectful, responsible party-goer.

Hailey Gross

After a stressful finals week or a long year at the office, it is great to have enough free days in a row to truly get a little wild. As a result, the annual Christmas Party is a staple of any group, organization or company. If you have a job, friends, family, neighbors or even just cats you can expect to be coerced into joining one of these festivities.

Though the New Year looms closely, and we all want to party with abandon, there are a few rules of social behavior that should still be followed, no matter where the mistletoe is placed, or how many glasses of wine you have had.

If the social occasion is a workplace party, the rules are particularly strict. There probably should not be any overt kissing in hallways, or at least not until your bosses and supervisors are at least as intoxicated as you are. When it comes to clothing, the same thing goes: a little caution. You want to look good, as this might be the only time your coworkers see you in something other than slacks and a dress shirt, or a conservative business suit. However, you still want them to respect you, so keep that in mind when picking through your wardrobe.

The most important thing to remember is that you will soon have to return to work, and the people you drank or sang or danced with at the party will return to their cubicle-confined, spreadsheet-obsessed selves. So try not to do anything that draws undue attention. The Christmas Party is the perfect time to show your true colors – advertise your wit, your charming smile, or your affluence in dance, but don’t go overboard. Even if you don’t remember the night, someone else probably will.

If there is some sort of gift exchange incorporated, make sure you go for something neutral. Most people enjoy a nice bottle of wine, but fewer will appreciate the sexy santa outfit, or a candy cane shaped like a man’s genitals. Even if you know who the recipient is, opening such a gift in front the entire office might make them a little uncomfortable.

When it comes to family parties, the rules are much the same, but a lot of your own judgment has to come into the matter. If your family loves alcohol as much as they love each other, feel free to get a little wild. But if your strict and religious grandparents make an appearance, chug some cranberry juice to get the whiskey off of your breath. Endure the boring, generic questions asked by older relatives until you can think of a halfway decent reason to slip off. At the very least, eat as many Christmas cookies as you possibly can. Maybe your Aunt Sue is totally unbearable, but at least she bakes a mean peanut butter cookie.

Specific to the family party is that you should be willing to lend a helping hand. Nothing will put you in grandma’s good books as quickly as taking over the dish washing, or cleaning up paper plates. Family Christmas parties can be awkward and stifling, but remember that they are your family and you love them – let it show.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have friends motivated enough to throw a Christmas Party (or maybe you are that friend). Maybe these people are coworkers whose company you can tolerate outside the office, college buddies, or even the kids you grew up with. In any case, these parties are often the most enjoyable. Make sure to bring a gift for the host, and if it is a close friend, this would be the appropriate time to purchase boob-shaped beer mugs or other crude joke items. Remember to wear your ugliest Christmas sweater, and stock up on funny stories to share with people you don’t know as well. Other than that, they’re your friends, it’s your party – who am I to tell you how to act? Christmas parties with friends are the perfect time to be a little outrageous.

So drain that mug of eggnog, find a dark, mistletoe-laden corner, and let yourself go for once. After all, you can just resolve to never do that ever again in a few days’ time when 2014 rolls around.