Your 2015 Office Christmas Party Etiquette Guide

24/11/2015 4:27 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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A mature couple kissing at a party

It's that time of year again -- the office Christmas party.

An event so fraught with social faux-pas Aussie law firms have even written briefs about it.

So with the reputations of millions of workers in mind, The Huffington Post Australia got social etiquette guru Anna Musson to help us with the big dos and don'ts of a festive season knees-up.

Musson's top tip -- make sure you attend.

"You should definitely go. This is your company's way of saying thank you for the year, and not going reeks of a bad attitude," she says.

She says for many businesses the Christmas party is the big social event on the calendar, so only bail out if you've got a solid, and truthful, excuse.

office christmas party

Make sure to show your face at the office Christmas bash

"If your wife is in labour fair enough, that's fine but it's always good to attend and make a good show of it," she said.

When it comes to the party itself there are a lot of rules.

For instance, if you want to meet the boss, Musson says get someone to introduce you instead of barreling up to him or her at the end of the night.

The etiquette expert says that strategy makes an awkward drunk chat with the chief executive less likely.

"It's better than going up to them late and letting them know what's wrong with the accounts payable system," she says.

Another piece of advice, if it's a themed party, is to keep the dress-up G-rated.

"Definitely go in theme but don't go as a sexy kitten and if it's a 'P' themed party don't go as a prostitute or pimp," Musson said.

Some other hints include keeping your shoes on, taking only one canape item at a time and not getting caught holding drinks in both hands.

"We all know this one, don't be drunk," Musson added.

"You can still be fired for bad behaviour at Christmas party, so you should treat it as a work function.

"Keep repeating 'one drink, one water, one drink one water'."

office christmas party

Keep the drinks, and water, flowing to avoid a potential social catastrophe

If you do get carried away and embarrass yourself, Musson advises apologising to the boss quick smart.

She says the best thing to do is go and see the boss in person, and failing that to send a well-worded email.

"The way you recover from this can determine your success or demise at work," she added.

"If you just brush it under the carpet it's likely you will be either disciplined or dismissed, it happens every year."

An extra tip -- keep clear of social media at the party.

Musson says with work colleagues and employers often connected on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram it's best to stay off all of them.

"Don't drunk dial, drunk text or drunk post," she said.

On when to leave, she says the smartest move is after speeches, or about 8pm, when you notice management heading for the exit.

"That's when you should go too."

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