Etiquette 101: Office holiday party edition

With a wave of holiday parties washing over both your social and professional calendar, we have some tips for keeping your etiquette on point.

It was discovered this year that millennials have more anxiety than other generations. OH REALLY?! YOU DON’T SAY?! Thank you American Psychological Association for telling us how we feel and what we already know. So typical of you to assume you know us better than we know ourselves! Apologies for that outburst, but as millennials it’s also been reported that we’re not managing this stress very well, so get used to unexpected mood fluctuations. But don’t worry – it’s not you, it’s us.

As stressed out little balls of anxiety, we (not unlike anyone else this time of year) are looking for ways to let off some end-of-year steam and put these feelings of stress and the stressors raising our cortisol levels from our minds as we transition to a new year. What better way to do this than at the annual office holiday party with the colleagues you spend your days with, who are likely also experiencing the less-than-ideal side effects of daily living as a 22 to 37 year old. Office holiday parties are great for this. They provide an ideal occasion for people who are always buttoned-up or straight-backed, who you see every single day and often allude to knowing how to party, to let loose. These parties do however live in this strange realm that is equal parts social as it is professional. Thankfully at Eighty-Eight, we are welcome to be our best selves at all times, and if our best self is doing the can-can on a table while belting out our favourite karaoke song or taking a body shot off of a fabulous drag queen, so be it! Whatever helps you to decompress and alleviate some of those often prohibitive levels of stress that have building up all year. 

To ensure that you’re in your best form, making the most of your office holiday party, and enjoying yourself we’ve put together some DOs and DON’Ts to make this year’s holiday party the best yet.


  • Bring your “weekend self” to the party. This is no place for Monday morning you. We want to see Saturday night you out in full force, whether that means you’re binge-eating chicken nuggets, dancing with drag queens, or sabering a champagne bottle.
  • Make a point of chatting with people you don’t work with closely day to day and don’t know as well. You may meet your new work wife or learn that your quiet coworker loves the same weird Netflix show that you’ve been binging. Even in a small office you can fall into a pattern of chatting with the same two people all the time – use the holiday party to get the scoop on everyone else.
  • Scan the room immediately for the food and set up camp next to it, because food is your friend.
  • Pace yourself. Eat some food before you drink several glasses of wine and eat some food (and drink some water) between your glasses of wine.
  • Give your plus one correct location details so they’re not stuck waiting in the cold to meet a bunch of people you work with.
  • Plan ahead for the morning after! Stock up on your charcoal lemonade or whatever elixir helps you bounce back (or drag yourself out for a greasy meal to soak up all that booze) and drink lots of water before you fall asleep so you’re not dead the next day!
  • Learn how to sabre a champagne bottle.
  • Put your phone away. Unless you’re taking photos, put your device away. Enjoy the moment and be thankful that you have a boss that wants to reward you for all your hard work.
  • Eat as much as you possibly can!
  • Book the next day off if you can.
  • Wear ugly Christmas sweaters.
  • Cover yourself in glitter.


  • Worry about drinking more than the boss. The boss loves her wine!
  • Forget to bring the festive vibes! That’s everyone’s job.
  • Over indulge too early in the evening (save that for the post-dinner shenanigans). If you can’t pace yourself and stay in party mode for the long haul, you may miss your colleague showing off their holiday beer pong sweater on stage with a drag queen or perched in the bathroom drinking out of the sink. Who wants to miss that?
    • More specifically, don’t drink seven glasses of wine immediately upon arriving at the party, especially if you haven’t dug into the appetizers yet. This is a surefire way to spend the next four hours in the bathroom, forcing your closest office friends to reevaluate their relationships to you as they’re forced to take care of you in your time of need, and find yourself consumed by embarrassment for many years to come.
  • Arrive early because Murphy’s Law states that the only people who arrive early are you and your arch nemesis.
  • Do pilates on the dance floor – you don’t know what has happened or spilled on these floors, girl! Get up! Editor’s note: However, if you do choose to do this, your coworkers will regale the tail with admiration for years to come. 
  • Try to be a hero when trying to get home – or more specifically, don’t take the subway because you may fall asleep and wake up in the rail yard (this happened to someone I know and then the next year he fell asleep in a snowbank, another don’t).
  • Hide in a corner. The purpose of this party is to get a chance for the whole team to socialize and get to know each other beyond their time in the office. Even if you feel awkward, stand with people and jump into the conversation whenever you’re comfortable.
  • Leave early, no one likes a party-pooper!
  • Give blood the day of a holiday party (especially if you’re so busy and stressed you completely forget that you gave blood). You’ll end up so drunk you can’t walk and someone has to escort you home in a cab.
  • Answer the phone if your parents are calling you after midnight and you have a sick family pet. This could result in fits of sobbing that could have waited for the next day’s brutal hangover.

Take from these what you will! Now, grab your best festive attire, a glass of wine, and get ready for your stress levels to dissipate as things get fun (read: weird) with your colleagues.