Office Christmas party survival tips.
So, the invites are out, the decorating is done and the office party is on its way. All that’s left is to read my rules for office Christmas party success.
1. SANTA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING
I think office parties are best off-site. This tends to de-charge any office rivalries, alter the strict hierarchical structures, and it’s far easier to create a festive atmosphere. Well, unless it’s at the boss’s own home. There’s also something tragic about bright streamers in office cubicles – and the neon lights do no one any favours. Strip lighting kills parties the way sneezing and pointing kills fairies. (For my 25 essential tips for the ultimate outdoor, off-site picnic or barbecue, go to delicious.com.au.)
2. CATER TO ALL TASTES
Hopefully you’ve booked the catering well in advance. (If not, start panicking now.) Don’t forget vegan and vegetarian options. Unless you are also hiring catering staff, ensure you book platters so guests can help themselves.
3. FLASH A WINNING SMILE
Avoid any canapes that contain anything that can get stuck in your teeth, such as poppy seeds or spinach.
4. STAY OFF THE SAUCE
Be careful of drippy canapes or anything that’s dunked in soy, sweet chilli or tomato sauce before eating.
5. A VERY HANGRY CHRISTMAS
Always have a snack beforehand. Starving yourself to fit into a killer LBD is never a good idea unless you want to be on mineral water all night.
6. WHAT’S YOUR POISON?
Nobody wants food poisoning. If it’s a daytime event, avoid leaving cheese or prawns in the sun. And remember the legal ramifications of bring-a-plate, as well as how bad some of it will be.
7. DON’T GIVE THE FINGER
Never feed a co-worker with your fingers. Especially not in front of the boss. And definitely not your boss.
8. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
Always plan on something hot before the end of the evening – and that doesn’t mean moody Clint from the mail room. I’m thinking more about half a dozen pizzas. In catering parlance, this is known as ‘soak food’ and is traditionally served after around three hours of partying or drinking.
9. WORK THE ROOM
Keep one hand free for waving across the room to more interesting people than who you are currently talking to. This means having either food or a drink, never both at the same time.
10. NO DOUBLE HANDLING
That also goes for having two drinks at the same time for that matter. Save the ‘stereo drinking’ for later at the club.
11. STEP AWAY FROM THE BUFFET
When eating, opt for a few small plates of food rather than a single, heavily loaded one. Remember, people are always watching and always judging.
12. ON THE NAUGHTY LIST
Apparently flirting, random posting, boozing or making a fool of yourself are out – even if they are more common at the office Christmas bash than sharing where you’re going on your holidays.
13. MISTLETOE-FRESH BREATH
If you plan to ignore Rule 11, avoid the salmon dip and garlic bread in favour of the lime-doused pineapple skewers with mint that will leave your breath fresh rather than smelling like the bottom of an old Thai prawn trawler. And while attaching mistletoe to your belt might have seemed really funny when you did it, not everyone will agree later on.
14. THE PERFECT TONIC
If you have a say over what drinks will be served, remember that chilled beer and sparkling are mandatory. But I’d also suggest a free bar or a punch bowl or cocktail pitchers rather than just serving cheap wine. And don’t forget the temperance cocktails for non-drinkers.
15. DRINK RESPONSIBLY
If you are looking for a promotion, jelly shots are never a good idea. What may help your career, though, is to spike the drink of your office rival. I’ll turn a blind eye to that, but just don’t get caught!
16. A SOBERING THOUGHT
Talk to the bosses early. I think I’m funniest after the fourth drink, but most of us are actually funniest between the first and second. Equally, don’t get the boss drunk. Think about being their ultimate wingman. They will thank you for it, and it’s the right thing to do.
17. GROUNDS FOR PROMOTION
Keeping your glass on a lanyard around your neck does not show the initiative of someone who is suitable for promotion. However, knowing your CEO’S tipple of choice – and supplying it – does.
SOAK FOOD ...