10 Tips How To Avoid Major Holiday Party Screw Ups

December 14, 2011 Katja Presnal

Holiday Party season is cheerfully on and I sure hope I don’t have to remind you not to drink and drive, which of course you would never ever do, right? Since that is hopefully so imprinted in your mind, let’s discuss some other tips how to NOT make big mistakes during this Holiday Party Season.

Warning: Holiday Parties Can Result in Major Mistakes

Holiday Parties, especially the office kinds, or even the ones who innocently start as “girls night out” after work with a few friends, can turn into disasters that nothing during the first 11 months of this year can even compare to. Holiday Parties have the dark side of contributing to horrible things in life, like major loss or major embarrassment, and in today’s social media age things easily get even worse, and you have to pay even more attention to the risks of attending Holiday Parties.

Examples of losses you may experience after messing up in a Holiday Party (aka “drinking too much””):
– Losing your dignity and respect. (I hope you are old enough that you have already lost your virginity long time ago).
– Losing your money/wallet/phone/other item.
– Losing your job.
– Losing your boyfriend/husband/family.
– Losing your friend(s).

I consulted with some of my favorite bloggers to compile this list. Thanks for helping with tips Rajean, Emily, Ginger, Andrea, and Tuulevi.

10 ways to Prevent Making Major Mistakes During Holiday Party Season

1. Don’t go to any Holiday parties and stay home watching your co-workers broadcast the party via Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. If you are lucky, you will see how messed up everyone is before they start doing risk management and removing items posted online.
Prepare: Your night home won’t be complete without Häagen-Daz limited edition peppermint bark ice cream, and if you want to feel like being part of the action, have a co-worker to text you pictures and updates.

2. Be the designated driver and don’t drink anything in the Holiday party. There is always that pregnant mid-level manager who will appreciate not being the only one who is not drinking, even though you run into risk of pretty much everyone else thinking you are too uptight to loosen up.
Prepare: Buy a new BMW, Mercedes-Benz or better yet, a Porsche. Even all of the party animals understand that you’d rather be driving your new luxury car than drinking. Then remember to leave early to prevent nobody throwing up on your new leather seats. The budget option: borrow someones beat up mini-van and cover the backseats with blankets and be cool with driving everyone around, and be prepared for that young inexperienced secretary throwing up on the backseat.

3. Don’t dress too sexy. A few drinks and you forget your dress was a tad too short or that your bra straps will show under your dress if you take your cardigan off.
Prepare: Wear pants and high heels. Heels will make you feel sexy and dressed up, but pants will remind you to.. keep your pants on the entire night. In the extreme situations where you are sexually attracted to a co-worker or business associate, wear your granny panties or nasty old panties that you wouldn’t want be caught dead with, especially in the front of the guy you admire secretly.


4. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your mother, your boss, your spouse or your kids to see.
(Or your future boss, future spouse, future kids.) Because most likely someone will document the exact moment you are dancing as a backup dancer for someone singing karaoke version of Baby Got Back, and it will most likely live on YouTube forever.
Prepare: Add a picture of your mother/kid/hubby/kid as your phone screensaver and every time you look at the picture remind yourself that person will be able to see you tonight.

5. Create a social media free zone. It’s OK you want to loosen up and have a few drinks and dance on the tables and NOT have the entire world to see it afterwards. But remember that you are only eliminating part of the problem. You might prevent your entire social circle of finding out, but the people attending will still witness your bad behavior.
Prepare: If you are hosting the party, suggest locking up everyone’s phones, or host the party in a remote location with no cellphone coverage.

6. Take the social media sobriety test before broadcasting from Holiday Parties. Make a real commitment NOT to make the Small Screw Up at the party become a Major Screw Up by telling about it to everyone via social media sites like Facebook.
Prepare: Download the Webroot social media sobriety test app, it is a browser plug-in that helps prevent “under-the-influence” posting on sites including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Tumblr, blogs and web-based email accounts such as Gmail or Hotmail. Users can customize which sites they wish to block and at which hours. Recommend this to all of your friends and co-workers as well.

7. Don’t show off your party skillz. You know, the karaoke singing, the hip hop dancing, the tequila shot drinking, all the party skills you think you mastered in college; they don’t belong in your adult life, and especially not in your office parties.
Prepare: Wear shoes that barely are comfortable for walking and stop at drink number one. Even if you are competitive at the office, don’t show how you are winning in the drinking games. Because it won’t be “winning”, it’ll be Charlie Sheen-winning.

8. Don’t try to solve a problem or confront anyone at the party. Don’t think of the party as a place where you can finally ask for the raise, or talk about a problem at work or impress your boss. Your party skills will not get you a raise, and your boss wants to relax in the party too, and you will only make things worse for you with a bad timing of trying to talk about a work-related issue in a party. I was once offered a job in a party in Las Vegas, and well, that’s the quality of the job it also was.
Prepare: Make an appointment with your boss to discuss about the issue before the party so you are not tempted to mess up and do it in the party.

9. Don’t flirt with your boss & don’t let him flirt with you. Especially don’t flirt with your boss in the front of his wife; she is married to a powerful man, and probably knows many power players herself. Women will never forget the women who try to hit on their husbands, and she might be in a position to give it back to you one day (think of her as ER nurse, or home loan officer). Don’t let you boss flirt with you because you will never gain his real respect at work if you let him play with you off work.
Prepare: Even if you are attracted to him or his power, think of your married boss more like a father figure, mentor, brother or even a priest. Even if he is single, make sure you are attracted to him for the right reasons, and not because he has the power to help you in your career. Sleeping your way to your position or career will never work in the long run.

10. Fake the drinking. If you don’t drink, you will look like a party pooper, but if you drink too much, you run into making a mistake you’ll regret. Fake drink!
Prepare: Make your first and only drink gin tonic, and ask the bartender to add tonic water in the same glass. This is the same trick flight stewardesses use on board when they are trying to keep the drunk passenger happy but not serve alcoholic drinks anymore. Gin has a very strong scent and even if you have a splash of it in your glass, it will smell like an alcoholic drink.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (4)

  1. Such a smart but also fun list! Thanks for including me, great company to be in, just wish we could be clinking our fake drink glasses in person this season! (What a great tip, I’ve always used a cocktail glass with garnish, for my non-alcoholic punch or bubbly, but I like the hint of gin smell.

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