12 Dos and Don'ts for Office Holiday Parties (Plus Ice Breakers)

So he says, "Those aren't antlers..."

Office holiday parties exist for many reasons. For one, they're a morale booster. I know whenever I'm handed an asinine project late on a Friday in July, I always think back to the free crostini I received in December and I'm ready to get down to business. They also offer you the chance to spend time with your coworkers outside of a work setting so that you can be reminded that you don't want to spend time with the vast majority of them outside of a work setting. The party can also serve to bring a person and their significant other closer together, in that they often choose not to leave each other's sides for fear of one or the other being swept away in an undertow of house pet stories or complaints about various ethnic groups. But as great as that all sounds, holiday parties can actually be full of land mines, usually disguised as an open bar. That's why we thought a few dos and don'ts were in order to help you navigate as the season gets underway.

DO find out if you can bring a date. DON'T ask if they have to be human. Although it never hurts to check.

DO attend. DON'T throw a competing party across the street sponsored by Axe Body Spray with appearances by some of America's hottest reality show participants. Unless you already had it scheduled and the Dave and Buster's won't refund your deposit and/or Trishelle from "The Real World" is booked every other weekend.

DO dress appropriately. DON'T forget to thoroughly Febreze your Big Johnson t-shirt.

DO bring a gift or card for the boss. DON'T ask if it's cool if you just sign your name on someone else's because you're totally good for it.

DO avoid talking about work. DON'T avoid talking. Unless you're planning to wow the office by enclosing yourself in the ice sculpture behind the bar for the entirety of the party, only to emerge at the end a shell of the person that went in after having nothing to eat or drink for nearly three and a half hours, besides the dozen shrimp and four beers you had right before you were sealed inside. In which case, by all means, save your strength.

DO branch out and talk to others with which you may not have regular daily contact. DON'T end those conversations by telling the person that you remember now why you don't talk to them regularly.

DO enjoy a complimentary cocktail or two. DON'T complain when it's not strong enough. You don't want to seem ungrateful. Just throw it in the bartender's face and walk away.

DO be prepared with topics for small talk (bonus ice breaker ideas below). DON'T have them written on your hand. The bottom of your shoe is much more inconspicuous. Unless you're standing up.

DO have an escape planned when conversations turn awkward. DON'T just plan to make out with the other person.

DO try and get some face time with the boss. DON'T use that time to challenge him or her to see who can hold their breath the longest. Because you'd totally waste him and it's never a good idea to show up the boss.

DO loosen up and show a different side of yourself. DON'T view that as your opportunity to have a good cry. "It's just hard, you know? I'm trying to stay positive, but bad thoughts creep in. I feel like I did everything I could. I poured my heart and soul into it, but I'm learning that's not always enough. Sometimes it's just not meant to be. And that just makes me question life and whether it's really all worth it. Anyway, that's the story of how I lost my fantasy football league. Thanks for listening. I feel better."

DO remain professional and in control. DON'T let that stop you from doing what you love to do: Dance. Dance. Dance!

BONUS—Ice Breakers, a few ideas for stimulating the lost art of conversation:

  • Let's make a pact to tell each other if one of us has a booger.
  • I just don't trust a clown that can't juggle.
  • How many funerals have you been to?
  • If you want to challenge yourself, try shoplifting.
  • When you think about it, farts are really just poop miscarriages.
  • What animal do you think will eventually overtake and enslave the human race?
  • May I ask how you discipline your children?
  • I just can't get into televised surgeries.
  • If my child had a peanut allergy I wouldn't speak to them.
  • Are you a cop?
  • My baby is an asshole.
  • You have a booger.

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  • All I want for Christmas is to get drunk with Tony at a holiday party.....make it come true Santa.

  • Awesome. My favorite part is the dated Trichelle reference as your reality star. Hopefully she can bring Alton with her.

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