1. If you’re bringing a date or significant other make sure you let them know what is public information and what is not.
More likely than not you’ve complained/vented about the people you work with on more than one occasion. Odds are that you may have even told your other half some top secret rumors and gossip that, if accidentally spoken to the wrong person, could mean huge consequences for you. Before you head to the party make sure you go over what is totally fair game to talk about and what shouldn’t be mentioned at all. Plus, it’s way more fun when your honey finally puts a face to the name and shares a knowing glance in your direction like your own little inside joke.
2. Be extra nice to the catering staff.
It is a known fact that all servers hate holiday parties. It’s unorganized chaos and usually means a set tip to bring out well drinks all night. Don’t be that asshole that snaps at your waitress while you wave a drink ticket in your hand. Make sure you bring a few extra ones to quietly slip to them to ensure that you never have an empty glass and thank them for putting up with a bunch of drunk co-workers that act as if they’ve never been to a bar before at all.
3. If you’re going to get drunk, wait until your boss is successfully more drunk than you are.
If this is your first holiday party you might be feeling a little nervous about throwing a few back with your supervisor right there. My rule of thumb is to nurse a glass of wine or a few beers while you wait for them to appear more drunk than you, then all bets are off.
4. You should probably eat beforehand.
Unless you work for a small, well-off law firm or somewhere similar, you can almost guarantee that other than the booze your office is probably only springing for a few hors d’oeuvres to tide you over for the night – and trust me bacon wrapped scallops are yummy, but not when they are the only things in your stomach. Make sure that you grab something before you arrive — otherwise you’ll spend much of the 11 o’clock hour trying to convince everyone to leave early and accompany you to Taco Bell.
5. Brush up on your small talk etiquette.
Before the drinks really start flowing you have to remember that you’re at a party with your co-workers. While you may be closer to some more than others a good portion of the first hour is going to be filled with strained conversations once your done talking about the only thing you guys really have in common -work. Other safe topics include the weather, cable TV shows (The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, etc) and, of course, whether or not your football team is headed to the playoffs.
6. What happens at the staff holiday party, stays at the staff holiday party.
In the event that shit gets real, it is always good to remember that just like Vegas – what happens here, stays here. That means that whenever you go back to work after said holiday party you do not speak of the many questionable things you and your co-workers did. In fact it’s best to think of holiday staff parties as a one night free pass to be yourself around a bunch of people who could not possibly handle the real you.