‘Tis the season to be jolly and that means the office Christmas party is just around the corner. Here’s how to make sure you have a great time, without having to type up a new resume the next day.

Work Christmas parties are not for the faint-hearted.

They are, in fact, a convoluted labyrinth of awkward encounters and social niceties that need to be maneuvered with skill. Here’s how to have an enjoyable night, without having to file for unemployment the next day.

The do’s and don’ts of work Christmas parties

Do attend

The first and most basic step, so let’s get it out of the way quickly. Even if spending an evening making small talk with Russell from accounts isn’t your idea of a fun night out, it’s still important to glue a smile to your face and make an appearance at the office ‘do. It’s all part and parcel of work life and, really, it’s an opportunity for you to advance your career. Use the opportunity to network, get to know your colleagues and put yourself on the map and next year you could be attending the office party with a much better title.

Don’t drink too much

The drinks may be flowing freely, but this is not the time to over-indulge. Even though you and your colleagues may be a little bit more footloose and fancy free then usual, keep in mind that it’s still a work function and what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there. Your actions, should they be embarrassing and fueled by liquid courage, will definitely come back to haunt you. So, keep the drinks to a minimum and save the real indulgence for the family Christmas party. They have to love you no matter what.

Do dress to impress

If your office attire swings to the more corporate and conservative side, or you have to wear a uniform, then this is your chance to let your hair down and allow your personality to shine through your clothing choices. Just keep in mind that it’s still worth keeping things on the professional side. Comfort is also key, so ensure that your shoes don’t pinch and that you can comfortably sit down without having to do any acrobatic maneuvers.

Don’t just talk about work

You know what really makes a party? Discussing budget reports, KPI’s or who has been stealing people’s sandwiches from the work fridge. Just kidding, these things are no fun and you won’t be either if you bring them up. The Christmas party is the one time of the year when you don’t have to quickly change the subject and make it look like you’re discussing important work issues if your boss happens to wander past. So make the most of it.

Do mingle and be inclusive

At work parties, it can be easy to stick with your own team and ignore the people from other departments. After all, you spend everyday with these people. You know their innermost thoughts, can tell their sneezes apart and were forced to sift through thousands of photos of their cat’s birthday party. But this is your chance to work the room and get to know your colleagues. Keep one hand free to shake hands, keep circulating and be on the lookout for wallflowers who might need to be invited into the fold.

Do not be drawn into office gossip

Sometimes when the drinks are flowing and everybody is feeling relaxed, things can get a little more comfortable then they really should. Don’t be drawn into office gossip and don’t whisper anything under cover of darkness that you wouldn’t say to the person’s face under the harsh office lights the next day. Keep things friendly and remember that even the office Santa isn’t bound by a code of silence.

What are your rules when it comes to attending the office Christmas party? Let us know in the comments.