The office holiday party is usually a delicate dance between a well-deserved time to let loose with co-workers and a potentially regrettable evening filled with a slew of tricky scenarios. Aside from obviously refraining from generous servings of spiked eggnog, we have a few tips for a ladies’ guide to proper party etiquette.

Study up – We all know how uncomfortable it can be to see a familiar face and forget the name. If you work for a big company, brush up on fellow employees that you see less often as well as current events to keep the conversations flowing throughout the night. Avoid just mentioning work as people will appreciate getting to know you outside of the office. You never know who you could end up standing next to at the hors d’oeuvre table, so, avoid any awkwardness and don’t be aloof. Great small talk could lead to a new professional connection that you can follow up on later.

To Dance or Not to Dance – You’ve had a couple of cocktails and the DJ starts playing your song. There’s nothing wrong with taking part in the festivities and enjoying the momentum of the evening, however, if you’re going to dance, just keep it under control – twerking is definitely not an option. Think ahead – if you plan on dancing throughout the evening, keep it classy and wear a dress you feel comfortable in.

Secret Santa – Affordable and practical gift options are usually the best bet for office gift giving. A gift card to a popular retail location such as Starbucks or iTunes is always an easy favourite. For a more creative option, stores such as Williams Sonoma and The Bay sell pricey gourmet chocolate gift sets. Why not make your own version? While doing your holiday baking (like our Christmas bark!), just make a little extra and give the treats as a gift – the secret is in the packaging! Pair your goody with a festive box/wrapping and your co-workers will never know the difference.

The Naughty vs. Nice Diet – It is possible to enjoy the complimentary appetizers and drinks while avoiding the running inner dialogue of whether or not to break your diet. The best thing to do is set ground rules before you go in. Avoid any cheese or bread based items and stick to veggies and proteins such as shrimp cocktail. Dark chocolate-covered strawberries are a delicious and healthy option for your sweet tooth. As for the beverages, avoid cocktails and sweetened holiday drinks. Stick to two or three glasses of wine or spritzers, always the best option for both your diet and your discernment.

A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way – Most of us get caught up in the nerves that go along with the holiday party and forget about the effort that it took to put the event together. Show your consideration with a handwritten card thanking the organizers for a successful evening. This gesture will likely be unexpected and highly appreciated by your employer. Also, make sure to follow up while the iron is hot with potential professional connections made during the soirée.

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