Here it comes- the office holiday onslaught, and with it some important etiquette thoughts! Before you know it, your workplace will be filled with Secret Santas, parties with the company partners, and gratuitous greetings. How can you navigate the next few weeks with grace and aplomb? Here are some tips when it comes to holiday office etiquette:
Gracious gifting: Gift giving at work can be a difficult thing. Remember that great episode of “The Office” where Michael Scott ignores the Secret Santa spending cap and throws an iPod into the mix? (If you don’t, check out a clip here.) When it comes to holiday office gifting, stick to the rules. That way, no one experiences the awkwardness of either over-gifting or over-receiving. What if you receive a gift from a co-worker, but didn’t purchase one for the gifter? Anna Post, descendant of etiquette maven Emily Post, suggests not making up an excuse about having a gift for someone when you don’t. Just accepting the token with a gracious “thank you” is enough.
We’ll say it again: Say thank you. Often. Write a thank you note to the co-worker who gave you a gift, bring some “thank you” cookies to the security guards at the door, or thank a colleague for their fantastic work. ‘Tis the season of gratitude. Spread it around!
Party Planning: At this point, stories of drunken antics at holiday parties are an office cliché. Avoid being the one wearing the lampshade by doing some pre-party prep. Try to stick to the one drink rule- remember, even though it’s the holidays, this is still a work function. Drink plenty of water and be sure to eat beforehand, especially if you’re the type of person who is one Bellini away from singing Jingle Bells on the bar. That will keep you from having to hang your head in embarrassment in the New Year.
Don we now…: Our (still appropriate) holiday apparel! Regardless of where your company party is held, it is not an excuse to dress like you are going to the club. Subtle sparkles, a colorful tie or dress, or a fun holiday accessory are all perfect for the party, but steer clear of low cuts, high hemlines, or overly casual clothing. You don’t have to be stodgy, but if it’s not appropriate for the office in general, it probably shouldn’t make an appearance at the party.
Happy Merry Seasons Greetings?: The holiday season is about many different types of personal beliefs, but spreading goodwill in your office is something everyone can believe in! Handing out some holiday cards to your co-workers? Stick to a “Season’s Greetings” theme so everyone can feel included. Know for sure that your cube-mate is lighting the Menorah this year? Go ahead and wish her a Happy Hanukkah. If you’re uncertain about what, if anything, a colleague will be celebrating, stick with “Happy Holidays”. It’s a good way to spread cheer regardless of whether folks are decorating a Christmas tree or a Festivus pole! (Thank you, Seinfeld!)