hristmas parties are fun, but they can also be exhausting and stressful if you haven’t prepared yourself properly. Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you come out on top after the holiday festivities are over, without losing your sanity or your job in the process. Here are some of our best survival strategies to help you make it through the office Christmas party without wrecking your life (or your reputation).

 

Bring a Gift

Some companies host themed holiday parties or potlucks, so bring something you can share with your co-workers. If you’re attending a more traditional work party, consider bringing a gift for your boss. While it might feel weird at first, everyone else will be doing it—and people love feeling obligated to give gifts. As an added bonus, your gift will let your boss know that you’re thinking of him or her during one of their busiest times of year.

 

Be Merry at all Times

Even if you don’t drink, you can still enjoy yourself at a holiday work function. Set your drink aside and find another way to socialize with coworkers. Don’t just stand by your punch bowl all night. You might think people are keeping away from you because they don’t want to talk about work or politics, but they really just want someone who will listen and chat with them about their lives outside of work.

 

Drink but not to excess

It may be tempting, but try to limit your alcohol intake at a work event. One too many drinks can put a damper on your evening, as well as leave you vulnerable if you need to drive home. Drinking with clients is also generally considered a bad idea. If you’re going out for drinks at a work function, think of it as professional networking, not drinking with coworkers.

 

Avoid awkward small talk

Nobody likes small talk, so if you find yourself feeling awkward at a work event, it’s best to just have a drink in hand. That way you can excuse yourself whenever someone says something that doesn’t interest you—and won’t worry about whether or not people are judging your lack of social skills. If you do find yourself making small talk with someone, do your best to listen carefully and ask questions (and perhaps follow up) accordingly.

 

 

Leave on time (aka make your escape plan)

It’s important to have an escape plan for Christmas parties—especially if you’re going to a bar. In addition to leaving on time, ensure that you have a designated driver or reliable ride service for getting home safely. If there are no available options, try saving money by using public transportation or carpooling with coworkers who are also leaving at a good time. And leave your credit card at home! 

 

Be thankful for your Secret Santa gift

A new study published in Psychological Science found that people who felt thankful for a gift were more generous in a bargaining scenario. It’s science: Gratitude leads to reciprocity. Go into your company’s Christmas party with a spirit of thanks and an interest in giving back, and you may end up going home with more than just a hangover. So play nice with Secret Santa—you never know when you might need him or her later on down the road.

 

Don’t Hook up with a Co Worker

It’s best to avoid hooking up with anyone at your workplace, even if they are your partner in crime on all of those late night conference calls. If you get involved romantically, it will cause tension in your working environment. Let’s face it, no one wants to listen to their coworker talk about their personal life while they’re trying to get some work done.

 

Bring a Plus One for Company

In some companies, bringing a plus one is forbidden. If you do bring a date, keep it professional and don’t make any long term commitments at that party. Even if you and your significant other are separated and getting a divorce (or close to it), don’t announce that fact or try and set anyone up at the company holiday party!

 

Get Home Safe

If you’re driving, stick to your limit. Have a designated driver or arrange for someone else to get you home. You can also take public transportation, walk, or get a cab/Uber/Lyft if you’re not willing to risk it.

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