In theory, a holiday office party is a sparkling celebration of shared merriment and communal accomplishment. The reality, though, can be something far less festive—like the movie this season about a holiday office party gone terribly wrong—and so we created a Holiday Office Party Edition of Do’s and Don’t-You-Dares. Keep this list in mind and keep your job once the party’s over.

Do… RSVP in a timely manner (if requested) and show up on time. Remember, this isn’t just a holiday party, it’s a holiday office party, which means it’s an extension of work, so mind your manners. 

Don’t-You-Dare… Wear something inane, like an ugly holiday sweater or a set of Rudolph antlers, unless this type of silly attire is specifically requested on the party invite. Or unless you’re the guy or gal just expected to be off the wall. And, while we’re discussing clothing, Don’t-You-Dare wear something that leaves little to the imagination—this is even worse than wearing one of those ugly holiday sweaters and a set of Rudolph antlers. As with any party, there are lots of expenses to consider and appreciate, and you can show your respect by being a well-dressed guest.

Do… Bring a guest only if guests are invited, and make sure the person you bring agrees to follow all the other Do’s and Don’t-You-Dares listed here! 

Don’t-You-Dare… Drink. At. All. Loose lips, from too many cocktails, don’t just sink ships, they sink careers, too. As tempting as that complimentary craft beer (or hot pink cosmo) might look, it’s simply not worth getting/acting tipsy/drunk in front of your boss and colleagues. If you must indulge, then limit yourself to one drink. Whether one or none, if you’re worried about co-workers encouraging you to celebrate (e.g. drink) with them, order seltzer with a wedge of lime—this gives the appearance of celebrating (e.g. drinking) without any tell-me-I-didn’t-do-that-in-front-of-my-boss consequences.

Do… Remember that everyone’s watching (and probably taking pictures and making video clips, too), so be on your best behavior. Avoid meeting with HR the next morning.

Don’t-You-Dare… Spend the night staring down at your phone. Shut it off, put it in your back pocket or the bottom of your purse, and then forget all about it.

Do… Branch out and meet co-workers from other departments and those in higher-up positions. In addition to meeting new people, you might also gain new understandings about what they do and how you can work together better—and it’s always a good idea to make a positive impression on those close to the top.

Don’t-You-Dare… Try to work during party hours, either by monopolizing a co-worker to talk about a project or by playing the martyr and staying behind at your desk to (sigh) plug away while everyone else enjoys themselves.

Do… Keep all your conversations as light as fake snow. This means absolute avoidance of no-no’s like politics, religion, and office gossip as well as inappropriate jokes.

Don’t-You-Dare… Kiss anyone (even your guest… even if that guest is your spouse… and even if there’s mistletoe present). A holiday office party is no place for public displays of affection—and, it must be said, it’s no place for private displays of affection, either (so stay out of the copier room).

Do… Send a Thank You note to your boss—and all those who helped plan the party—acknowledging their thoughtfulness and effort. Send a separate Thank You note for any gifts you may have received from your boss and/or the company, too.

And remember to thank your friends here at Masiello Employment for providing these office etiquette tips! Heed our advice and lead by example, it’s a professional move that is sure to reward you in the long run. Be safe, and Happy Holidays!