Holidays at the office are hard; I’m talking, “finding all of your presents before December 1” hard.  Expectations are sky-high, and everyone has their own personal preferences and family traditions. At its heart, this time of year should really be about showing care and appreciation for those who have impacted our lives throughout the year.
Unfortunately, after we’re through scheduling, planning and organizing our winter away, the spirit of the season is replaced by stress and an overwhelming fear of failure. As deadlines creep up, so do the lingering office etiquette questions:
Is it time to call it a wrap with gift wrapping?
Is your Festival of Lights a bit too blindingly bright?
Is your “ho ho ho” becoming “oh no no?”
Avoid a merry meltdown this holiday season by following these simple tips when planning for the office holiday p’s: Parties, presents and pretty, pretty decorations.
Party Professional
Work party: it may sound like an oxymoron, but the two do actually go together! The office party is a great time to form connections with coworkers and celebrate a successful year. Do your best to attend, but if you are certain you cannot make it for any reason, be sure to share your reasons why with the team.
If you can attend, be sure to do your homework beforehand. Make sure you’ve timed out your evening in order to arrive on time and be sure to dress appropriately. If you are concerned with any questions about attire or other rules which may be unwritten, a fellow coworker can be a great resource. Once inside, moderation is key; not only if you’re partaking in alcoholic beverages, but also in conversation! Try not to stick just to the people you know best; rather use this opportunity to branch out and make new connections.
Afterwards, be sure to thank everyone involved, especially the person or team involved in planning the event. If you felt the stress of just planning to attend, imagine how much work they put in!
Present Pressures
When it comes to giving gifts at the office, the questions stack up quickly. Here’s a quick rundown of things to keep in mind:
Who – Do not feel obligated to get something for everyone at your company. (Depending on your office size, this might be tough for even Kris Kringle himself to pull off!) Rather, determine the people you have worked closest with in the past year, then decide from there.
What – Too high? Too low? When it comes to figuring out the best amount to spend, no one really knows! Keep in mind that over spending just to get ahead is never in style, and will most likely be recognized for what it is. Instead of alienating coworkers, consider pooling resources on a group gift for bosses and managers.
How –Thoughtful always trumps funny, expensive, outrageous, etc.  Take some time to really think about the person you’re buying for, and go for heart rather than heat.
Why – A present should always be given out of appreciation. If you’re not giving the gift to show that person in your office how they’ve impacted your career and share your thanks, you probably shouldn’t be giving one at all.           
Pretty or Pushing It?
Finally, there’s a lot to love about the sights, sounds and smells of the holidays. But before you start transforming your cubicle into a life-size gingerbread house, keep in mind that holiday decorations at work can be distracting. Strong scents, such as pine and peppermint, can adversely affect your coworkers who are sensitive to certain smells. Also, flashing lights and repetitive jingles may start off cute, but after a while can become to source of a holiday headache. Spread the cheer, but beware of your office mates wishes.
This holiday season, let’s replace the stress with stories of success! Do you have any office holiday etiquette stories to share? Please comment below and keep the conversation going.