The party season is nearly upon us, and that means that frocks are being bought, babysitters arranged and meeting diaries for the next morning are being cleared.

But far from being a completely fun festive party, the works Christmas do can be an impossible evening to navigate. Keeping your colleagues and bosses happy at the same time as letting your hair down, isn’t easy. So here are our top Dos and Don’ts on getting through the Christmas party with your dignity, and career prospects, in tact.

The dos

Go

We know not everyone enjoys a party or a night on the town, but it’s only a few hours so get into the Christmas spirit. After all, this gives your colleagues a chance to see that you’re sociable, willing and not afraid to get involved.

If you really don’t want to go, don’t feel you have to. But it might be more fun than you think.

Talk to people you don’t usually talk to

This is a great opportunity to spread your wings and talk to people you usually wouldn’t. The party is an environment where you don’t have to worry about how good you are, or saying the right thing. Speak to new people and get to know the real them.

So be brave and step outside your comfort zone. You never know the good it could do for your career.

Drink plenty…

Of water. If you’re having something a bit stronger, go easy. The Christmas party is an opportunity for certain members of the workforce to, how shall we put it….let their hair down.

Having fun and going a bit wild is all well and good, but remember that it's still a work environment. You still have to impress, or at least, not make a fool of yourself.

So if you’re going to drink, keep yourself on the right side of funny by mixing in the occasional glass of water.

Dance!

We know we said making a fool out of yourself wasn’t a great idea. But there’s making a fool out of yourself where people are laughing at you. And there’s making a fool of yourself when you’re in on the joke.

Throw some shapes on the dance floor will show everyone you don’t take yourself too seriously. And it's a conversation starter when you're back at work.

Leave when it’s time to leave

You may be having the best night of your life, but you’ll only remember it as that if you leave while you’re ahead. Staying too late, especially on a school night, could make you look irresponsible and unreliable.

Say your goodbyes while the mood is positive and you’ll leave people wanting more.

Sort out how you’re getting home before you arrive

At this time of year, late night transport can be hard to come by. Taxis are often very busy, and buses/trains fill up fast with other party-goers. Waiting in the cold at the end of the night could ruin your evening, so make sure you know how you’re getting home before you arrive. Pre-book a taxi, note down the time of the second-to-last train, ask a kind friend to give you a lift.

The Don’ts

Talk about work too much

There are two big reasons why you shouldn’t discuss work at the Christmas party:

  1. Everyone is trying to relax. They don’t want to think about the pile of work they have waiting for them when Christmas is over.
  2. You don’t want to commit to doing something that you’ll regret when you actually have to do it.

Put too much on Social Media

Remember that not everyone feels the same way about social media. Some people like to document everything they do, whereas others are a bit more private. Mary from accounts might not want a video of her singing Karaoke sharing on Facebook.

Get Romantic

Remember... what goes on at the Christmas party, doesn’t always stay at the Christmas party.

Kissing Richard from the design studio may seem a good idea at the time, but you will have to speak to him the next day. And the next day. And the day after that.

Too risky.

Get involved in office gossip

You may think that you’re chatting in confidence, but you never know with Chinese whispers. Don’t create an awkward situation for yourself by saying something you shouldn’t about someone you work with.