Today is Day 6 of my "25 Days 'til Christmas Plan" and I'm merrily on my way to holiday bliss.

With my husband's office party right around the corner, I started thinking about all of the funny things that have happened over the years at these events.

Luckily, I have not been involved. Also, it says something about the people who were, if I still remember who did what, even years later.

Somehow, I doubt they are still with the company.

The office party, however, is a wonderful way to score points with the boss, while having a fun night out with colleagues and friends.

It is the perfect place for senior management to get to know you, in addition to giving your boss insight as to how you handle social situations.

They want to know that you remain professional and a team-player, while displaying your more easy-going, likable side.

The office party is also the ideal place to continue strengthening work relationships and meet new friends.

To ensure that the party is a successful avenue, there are five areas that can make or break you.

Tips for each of the five are:

1. Attire: Must be Appropriate

* “Cocktail” means knee-length dress or classy jumpsuit with heels, eye-catching jewelry; men wear pants and a tie.

* “Formal” refers to a more elegant, below-the-knee or floor-length gown with heels and crystal adorned jewelry; men wear a tuxedo, or at the very least a formal black suit and dark tie.

* “Holiday Casual” implies black pants, knee-length skirts (never jeans, unless specifically themed a “Denim and Diamonds” party); men wear pants and long-sleeved, button-down shirts.

* Wild hair, nails, clothes or shoes is never appropriate.

2. “And Guest”: Choose Wisely

* Your spouse or long-term relationship will most often be the wisest choice. The interaction that you have with your mate as well as your mate, in general, will be on display.

If there is a chance that they are going to cause a problem for you, other arrangements may have to be made. Attending a party alone is much preferred over being the laughing-stock.

Any wrong move could hurt your career.

* If you have to bring a date, you must choose very wisely.

You should not pick a first date, heavy drinker, smoker, poor dresser, person who uses profanity or is loud/obnoxious, or someone who is uncomfortable in social settings. This person is a reflection on you.

* The only attention that should be brought to you is your professional, yet relaxed participation in conversations, activities and dining.

Do not, however, bring a same-sex friend. This is not boy's or girl's night out. This is a work function.

* Gently, but clearly, set your expectations ahead of time by reminding your date of the appropriate attire and behavior.

3. To Bring: Don’t Show Up Empty Handed

* If the party is at someone’s home, bring a hostess gift such as a nice bottle of wine, set of infused olive oils, gourmet sea salt set, beautiful candle, or a poinsettia.

* If the party is held at a large venue, a gift is not required, unless a charity has been identified and recommendations for donations made. This might include items such as an unwrapped toy or canned goods.

4. Behavior: Professionalism is Key

* Make sure that you have properly RSVP'd by the requested date.

* Arrive at the party at least 15 minutes after it has started but not more than 30. Leave 30 minutes, at the latest, before it is over.

* Bring a hostess gift, if the event is held at someone’s home. Warmly greet and thank the hostess as you arrive and as you leave. Compliment them on their home.

* Offer a warm, “Hi, how are you?” to everyone as you mingle, but introduce your guest to people who you most would like to spend time with or impress. Formal introductions and handshakes are in order.

* Make a point to greet your boss as well as other senior management. Engage in a short conversation, as many people will be vying for the boss’ time. Make sure to say goodbye to your boss, the most senior person at the party and thank the host.

* Discuss neutral topics, such as plans for the winter break (if taking time off or have kids), current events (not politics, religion, sex), and the other spouse’s career/hobbies. Never discuss upcoming changes at work, unless you are certain that it will be a positive conversation.

* Cell phone use should be minimal. Limited picture-taking of couples or small groups of people (not activities/actions) is appropriate, if others are doing so, as well. Do not take calls, check emails, or text.

* Do not over-indulge on food or alcohol, garner too much attention by laughing or talking loudly, or explore the host’s home. Also, do not spend time with the people who are doing these activities. You will become guilty by association.

* When drinking alcohol, alternate between water and your drink of preference. Make sure to eat heavier foods that will help inhibit intoxication.

* Participate in planned activities, as you will be remembered as the team-player and be regarded as a more likable person.

* When you hit it off with someone new, make sure to get their name and contact information so that you can follow-up with them.

5. After the Party: Second Chance for Good Impressions

* Within two days, send a card or email thanking the host for the wonderful event.

* Any verbal promises made should be followed up on within the same time frame. This could include making dinner plans, setting up play dates, sending contact information for a service provider, forwarding pictures from the event, or even sending the name of a great book you have been reading.

* Regardless of what happens, do not send a text message. Sending an email or making a phone call is much more professional.

At the end of the day, common sense should reign and in my personal experience, if I am questioning an outfit, a conversation with someone, or having that next glass of wine, then the answer is automatically “no.”

These are the tricks that I have learned throughout the years to ensure a great, productive time at the holiday office party.

These types of events are a great opportunity to get to know upper level management and meet new friends.

I hope that some of these tips will help you navigate through this year's holiday office party, as well.

Here’s to another Inspired Minute!

Author's Bio: 

Hi there! My name is Tracey and I’m on a mission to turn average days at home into meaningful minutes. I’m a wife, mother of 3 and an Inspired Life Blogger. This is my journey to create ways to save time, maximize money, creatively organize, craft, gift, and decorate and humbly volunteer. Please visit my blog at for ideas and tips that I hope will inspire you!