Christmas is the season of festivity, family, and joy. It is most distinctively marked by woolly Christmas jumpers that you own in the spirit of embracing said festivity and the mad rush to get everyone their presents on time. It is also the season of the much anticipated Christmas office party.

Whilst it's important to add some fun into the office environment just before Christmas, it's equally important not to let 'winter magic' turn into 'winter madness'. An office get-together is the perfect time to bond with colleagues and start your holiday on a positive note. However, an office party is by no means a family Christmas dinner where most transgressions can be forgiven and forgotten. It is a work-related event and should be treated as such.

Your behaviour at the office do can have serious impact on your working relationships and career. Survey by the CIPD) revealed that one in ten employees know someone who has faced disciplinary action or dismissal due to inappropriate behaviour at work-related Christmas parties.

So is the office do simply too risky? Maybe it's best to avoid it altogether? Well, that's probably not a very good idea. The whole point of work-related events is to show that you are a reliable part of the team. Not being there is not going to illustrate your commitment to the company. This is especially true if you have just joined the team. You want to connect with colleagues and make a good impression on your boss. Missing out on the Christmas party is probably not going to do you any favours. In fact, your absence might be noted and commented upon the next time you enter the office.

Here are ten tips to help you leave the office Christmas party in high spirits:

Prevention tactics are always better than the cure. As with hangovers, Christmas party blunders are best managed by avoiding them altogether. One of the worst instigators of inappropriate behaviour is alcohol. Even when you make the valiant decision to 'pace yourself' or 'not drink too much', those fancy Christmas cocktails have a way of sneaking up on you. The best way to avoid alcohol induced mishaps is to simply not drink. There is no need to worry about being a drag if you are having fun and being social. People are more likely to notice a frowning face than what is in your glass. If you are worried that you won't be able to resist the allure of alcoholic beverages, you can simply avoid temptation by making plans to drive yourself home. This gives you an added bonus of having a good explanation for some of your more nosy colleagues. 

Don't give up on food. A sure one way ticket to being drunk is not to eat anything. Of course this doesn't mean you should stay at the buffet all night. Just make an effort to go for a nibble every now and then. Having a balanced pre-party meal (if it isn't included) is also a good idea and will help you stay sober for longer.
Know your limits. If you are planning on drinking, know when to slow down and how far to go. It's all right to enjoy a drink with colleagues but the aim is to stay sober and in control. Set yourself a clear limit of drinks before the party and stick to it. If self-control is not your forte, the next tip should help you.

Let a friend know your limits. Having a trusted colleague, friend, or partner with you is a great way to manage your alcohol intake. Let them know how much you can drink before become inebriated and ask them to give you a friendly nudge if you are going over your limit. Kindly offer the same service in return.

Plan ahead. Make sure you know what you are doing before, during, and after the party. Knowing how you are getting there and back is key. There is nothing more awkward than looking for a ride home through a tipsy haze. The whole point of work get-togethers is to strengthen your position within the company and make a positive impression on your bosses. Prepare something to talk about beforehand and make sure this reflects the best parts of your personality.

Keep romance private. Regardless of what your company's policy is on dating colleagues, an office party is not the place for budding romance. If there is someone you are interested in, there is a much better chance to make a good impression when there is no alcohol involved. That way, your advances are much less likely to end in disaster, embarrassment, or regret. Be wary of other's romantic advances and handle them in a professional and dignified manner. Don't forget that you will be seeing that person back in the office.

Be smart about Smart Phones. Alcohol and Social Media are simply not a good mix. Whilst forsaking your phone for the night might not be practical, disabling social media apps is recommended. Posting comments and photos in the heat of the moment can lead to some unpleasant after-party effects. Don't forget that even if you manage to delete the incriminating posts, chances are that someone has already shared them across half of the UK.   

Smile. Nobody likes a grump. Even if you don't want to be at the Christmas party make an effort to be engaging and positive. Don't forget that this is a good opportunity to talk to people and establish connections.

Say no to gossip. Venting your frustrations about colleagues, your boss, and management in general is best kept to the privacy of your own home. You don't know who is listening and a well (or rather badly) timed comment may land you in a lot of trouble. Resist the urge to complain about your wage and stick to more festive topics.

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