MATT PRE­STON

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Elf ears – yes or no? Is Bey­once danc­ing ok? Find you mo­ral com­pass with my guide to of­fice party eti­quette at de­li­cious.com.au MATT PRE­STON

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 ...

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