Tonight is our company’s Christmas party. Years past, we would gather at a very fancy venue, enjoy an excellent meal, highlight some of the fun things from the past year, and give people a chance to mingle. One year we even had a vice-president, dressed in a blonde wig, singing Santa Baby, to the delight of the staff. This year, we are having our party at a bowling alley. A little different, sure, but it gives the staff and their guests the same opportunity to enjoy an evening of free food and entertainment. All good stuff, don’t get me wrong, but it would be awesome to have something of this caliber on tap for tonight:

Or maybe, just once in my life, it would be fun to experience a Christmas party of this magnitude:

But, I work for a faith-based company, so I’m pretty sure I won’t even hear any swear words, much less double entendres.

Now, I’m not in sales or another customer-facing department. I don’t get out of my cubicle much. Even though I have been to 20 Christmas parties over my work career, I have never felt 100% comfortable with them, and have this big feeling of social ineptitude. So my deliberate year comes at a good time – I can finally learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to Christmas parties and become the life of the party.

Like I tend to do with these posts, I always start with the opposite of what I am trying to do. It is based on the model of the T.V. show “What Not to Wear”, where they first toss out all the things a person should not wear, prior to showing them what they should be wearing. I found a post by Enya Collins that lists several things not to do at a work Christmas party. I found the third item interesting, especially given the sexual harassment movement going on currently. The third item recommended staying away from the mistletoe. Check. Not even going there, even with the bride. And I need to remember that what happens at the party does not stay at the party.

The best post I found was this one which relayed some excellent tips. Some of it centered on anxiety, which I usually don’t get, but I should be aware that others at the party might be anxious. The tip on prepping topics to talk about beforehand was one that I’ve discussed before, and I’ll have a list ready for tonight.

For those who are reading this that are in a different corporate environment that I am, here is a list of how-tos for getting a promotion instead of a hangover at the work Christmas party. Since our company does not have a lot of upward mobility options for me, I can toss that list aside.

Therefore, for my deliberate action for today, I’m going to continue to be present with those I’m am talking with at the party, not worry about the time or other distractions, and work up a short list beforehand of solid conversation starters. And to also go over the “Unapproved Story List” with my bride, making sure we’re on the same page.




Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

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