5 Etiquette Tips for Your Holiday Office Party

The company holiday party is, undoubtedly, coming up. That can mean anything from a potluck in the office to a fancy ball with dinner and dancing, but regardless, you need to behave properly. When one needs to behave properly at a function, to whom does one turn? Judith Martin, better known as Miss Manners, of course. So, Gentle Readers, listen up and learn from the best of the best, with lots of commentary thrown in from me. (Also, please note, that some of this advice comes with the help of Nicholas Martin and Jacobina Martin, Miss Manner’s children.)

This is an appropriate party as long as everyone has agreed to it. If it’s dictated from on high, it doesn’t go over well. Now, unlike a small friend get-together, an office party has people there who probably don’t want to be there. You’ll never get 100 percent consensus on anything in an office, but if the majority agree, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s okay.

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6 thoughts on “5 Etiquette Tips for Your Holiday Office Party

  1. I think the biggest thing with gift cards is if they’re NOT generic like you suggest, they need to have enough money on them to get something reasonable. Nobody is going to go to a store they do not shop at and spend their own money to use the card. So if the cheapest thing in the shop is $40 do not give an $25 card. Nobody should be out of pocket to use the thing.

    Seriously taking EHRL’s advice is the best. Make the card either generic, or to someplace that everyone goes (a Mall card that works in all the stores, a major grocery store in the area.)

    But the worst thing that I ever got was a $25 gift card to a restaurant that you couldn’t eat for ONE at $25 let alone two. The company wasted it’s money because they had to pay for them, even if they got a discount, and they sat in drawers

    Nowadays at least you can go online and sell them for a small loss. Back then that wasn’t the case. It’s just stupid.

    1. My husband once got a gift card for $25 to a clothing store he never shops at and I never shop at. It went to waste.

  2. The Office Potluck. Boy, I so want to print this out and send it to a former boss. (but, she wouldn’t get it)

    She was the manager who had hire and fire authority over ALL contractors in the department; all managers had to get her final approval on extending staff contracts.

    She “organized” an office potluck for the department last July (a “summertime picnic” she said). By “organized” I mean she didn’t just send out an email and sign up sheet – she went around the office and asked what each person was bringing; as in, she stopped by your desk and put you on the spot!

    I should also point out that our contracts were monthly – renewed at the beginning of each month. She had a habit of playing contractors off each other (i.e, taking an assignment away from you to give to another person, then, just before your contract expired she would give the assignment back to you. A not so subtle reminder that she could fire you at a whim). Needless to say, not bringing something homemade to the potluck didn’t feel optional.

    The real kicker was on the day of the “picnic” her contribution was a box of store-bought cookies. Yes, that’s right – one box of cookies when there were close to 60 people who brought home made food.

    She claimed with a kid under 5 at home she didn’t have time to make anything – but, she loved what everyone else brought and was so looking forward to tasting everything!

    Thank goodness I am no longer working there!

    1. Yeah, no surprise that she’s a former boss.

      I love potlucks! Love them. I don’t mind people bringing store bought goods, but not if they are big weenies like she was.

      Also, I have some fantastic potluck dishes. My secret recipes. Secret, in the sense that I’ll tell anyone who wants to know. My two best potluck dishes are

      1. 5 layer dip with chips (beans with taco seasoning mixed in, sour cream, salsa (homemade), guacamole (homemade), and cheddar cheese. This always goes instantly.
      2. Crock pot Thai chicken soup. This is not only yummy but a beautiful yellow with green spinach. If you make it for Christmas, you can use red curry paste. It changes the flavor but makes it festive. The recipe says pressure cooker, but unless you use fresh lemon grass, you can do it in a crock pot and keep it cooking in the break room until the party starts.

  3. Don’t give it to a specific store because it’s likely to go to waste unless you know your employee regularly shops there.

    This. At one job, we used to get a $25 gift card to Bass Pro (very large sporting goods store). I’ve been in Bass Pro, but I don’t shop there because it’s not relevant to my interests, and believe me, $25 doesn’t go very far!

    1. My goodness, I wouldn’t need a Bass pro gift certificate at all.

      Funny thing, my husband is in Texas with his German coworkers. He took them to a Cabelas. They were speechless.

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