The party season is in full swing, and soon most of us will be donning the gladrags, grabbing the glitter and celebrating Christmas with our colleagues.
But, as we’re escaping out of the office and seeing our work friends in a social setting, there’s a careful line to toe.
You want to have fun - but not so much fun that you’re the subject of office gossip in the kitchen the next morning.
So how do you find the balance? Take a look at our list of top tips to getting through the work do unscathed, whether you’re a new starter or an office veteran.
Don’t over-think it: If you’re new to the office, or a bit shy around your colleagues, it is easy to get weighed down with Christmas party panic. But try not to worry. Pick an outfit, pay the deposit and go along for a good night with your friends. That’s all anyone is hoping for.
Set a limit: If you’re nervous, or not enjoying yourself much, the temptation to drink the bar dry is a strong one. So before you go along why not limit yourself to a certain number of drinks, or even an amount of money to spend, to avoid going over the top.
Find a buddy: This is a one for the office newbies (and shybies) out there. Travel to and from the party with a friend to take the stress of arriving and leaving alone away. It’s also good to have someone by your side to rely on if you hit the complimentary wine a bit hard.
Don’t be shy: If you’re usually a shrinking violet in the office, why not take this social occasion as an opportunity to come out of your shell? Stay away from work talk and try to keep the conversation flowing. You might just make a good impression.
Beware gossip: They say loose lips sink ships, and this is especially true around Christmas time. When you’ve had a couple of drinks and the unavoidable work talk (it’s going to come up at some point) has reared its head, make sure you don’t say something that will have you hauled into the office when Monday comes.
Be social media aware: There’s nothing wrong with a good selfie (more of which later) or status as your enjoy your Christmas party. But remember how far things can travel once they’re on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. You don’t want to become the subject of a post-party meme, do you? Keep it clean and drunk-selfie free.
Take a selfie: If you’re feeling confident, it’s inevitable that you’ll take a selfie. It is 2015 after all, don’t try to fight it. But if you’re normally a bit selfie-shy, snapping a quick picture of your Christmas party outfit can boost your confidence. It also comes in handy for remembering how smart you looked at the start of the night, versus the end.
Grab a soft drink: All of the eating, chatting and alcohol consuming can leave you dehydrated. It’s easy to fall victim to the table-ready wine to quench your thirst - order a soft drink in-between to keep you going (and you’ll thank us in the morning).
Don’t overindulge: We’re all in agreement that Christmas time is a time for eating, drinking and be merry. But going a bit overboard at the festive do will leave you paying for it - and not just the drinks. We know the party season throws a lot of set menus our way, but don’t feel pressured to stuff yourself full if you can’t handle it. Leave the table comfortable, and not feeling sick for the next day. And remember, water is always your friend.
Be yourself: Peer pressure doesn’t go away, even when you’re an adult. Work friends all having that extra drink? Don’t feel you have to. Chatting about something you’re not interested in? Be polite, but try not to talk rubbish. It’s great to be a bit individual - so if this is your first Christmas night out, don’t shrink off to one side. Show your new colleagues what you’re really about.
Enjoy the night: It only comes around once a year after all, so take advantage of the season and enjoy a fun night out on the town with your colleagues. It’ll be over before we know it, so make it count (and you do have a full year for people to forget if you did something daft).