© 2011 Grant William Veitch Harrold The Royal Butler. All Rights Reserved. 

Christmas Work Party Etiquette with Next

It’s that time of year again when everyone is getting ready for Christmas – but unlike in the days of our grandparents, nowadays the Christmas build-up begins in July.


In fact, a recent campaign from retailer Next found that nearly 400 of us Googled “is October too early to decorate for Christmas” between October 2018 and December 2018. And did you know that at least 10 of us ask the Internet “will I get a white Christmas” every single month of the year?


The study (which looked into funny things people Google during the festive period) proved that us Brits are an impatient nation. Whether it’s the thrill of gift giving, the smell of stuffing wafting through the kitchen or the excitement of post-turkey charades, Christmas is a season I certainly get excited about.


Office parties are a big part of this excitement too. Discussions around when to host the event and who to invite (only staff members or partners too?) are commonplace. I myself encourage partners to be invited – let’s just say it avoids any potential frolicking between co-workers…


Read on for the Royal Butler’s top tips for the office Christmas party.

1. The Date:


If you’re the organiser, the first thing to consider is the date. Our calendars fill up very quickly in December, so it is important to secure a date ASAP.

Once you have decided on the date and venue, make sure the workforce is informed well in advance. I would recommend at least six weeks if possible. Then, decide if this will be an occasion to invite just the staff or to include their partners (this might come down to your budget).

If you’re a staff member, make sure you arrive at the correct time at the right venue or rendezvous point. Always ask if you can bring something to assist with the party (and that doesn't include 25 of your closest friends!).

2. Budgets:


With regards to the budget, consider whether you’ll have a sit-down meal, canapés reception or just drinks. Make sure you time the event correctly, so you don't run out of canapés or drinks. For example, a drinks reception may last for a few hours while a sit-down dinner will be an evening event.

Think about how you’d like to decorate the area/venue as well – décor can make or break a Christmas party and you’ll want to make sure yours goes down in history as one of the best. Want to show your employees how much they mean to you? Join the myriad of people Googling “rose gold Christmas decorations”, “champagne Christmas trees” and “luxury Christmas tablecloths” to give them a party to remember.

3. Dress codes:


Let's not forget to be exact about dress codes as you don't want your CEO turning up in a Rudolph outfit when it's black tie. You can be as formal or informal as you wish but make sure your guests know they have to adhere to the dress code.

Though the standard Christmas party dress code tends to revolve around black tie and formalwear, it may surprise you to hear that a few people (clearly reluctant to pack away their summer wardrobes) were browsing the Internet for “open toe shoes for Christmas party” back in December 2018.

It’s not a problem if you are planning a Hawaiian/summer theme (though I do advise against it) – so long as there’s a fixed dress code that everyone knows about and adheres to, that’s the most important thing.

4. Gifts:

You may also want to consider giving your staff/guests a present personally chosen by you. We don't need to be handing out Fabergé boxes, but perhaps a Christmas pudding or something similar would be a lovely gesture. As a staff member, a gift to your boss might be a good idea (and save you from a P45 next year!)

These days, people turn to Google to ask for gifting advice for all sorts of personality types, some of which are very specific like “what to get a picky mother in law for Christmas” or “what to get a crossfitter for Christmas”. If you happen to know a lot about your boss’ personality and hobbies, try this tactic and see what wonderful, whimsical gems and suggestions the Internet comes up with…

5. Transport:

If the event is miles from the office location, you may consider hiring a minibus to get everyone there. For this, may I suggest you have a coach monitor or someone in charge to make sure everyone behaves? I’m sure the driver would appreciate this as well.

6. Alcohol and behaviour:

Be the perfect host and guest by not misbehaving or drinking too much as you may regret it when your bottom appears on the “Naked Rear of the Year” page on the office website. (This may have been the case last December, when 260 red-nosed Internet users searched for “embarrassed myself at Christmas party”).

Another etiquette tip for you: when holding glasses, remember we don't hold them like pint glasses; they are always held by the stem with the thumb and forefinger elegantly and in a gentle manner. Never ask for a glass to be filled up, unless it is offered to you. A good waiter/waitress will make sure you never go without a drink.

Never draw attention to yourself or the other guests around you and always remember you are an ambassador for your company, so everything you do will reflect not only on yourself but also that of your colleagues. If your behaviour is not up to high standards, it may affect the decision on hosting another event next year!

7. Food:

If it is a sit-down meal, make sure you have a basic idea of how to hold yourself properly at the table and use a knife and fork, and of course a napkin.

If it is bowl food or canapés, you need to practice the fine art of balancing the glass and the bowl or food at the same time. This can be tricky, but with a bit of practice at home, you will be a master of this in no time.

Of course, ideally there will be tables dotted around when you can rest your glass while enjoying your nibbles. If there are cocktail sticks, make sure you place them in bowls provided. It may be that the dish they are served from has a smaller area for you to place the sticks in after eating the sausage. Of course, do be careful not to place it in the wrong dish.

And if you’re wondering “is it illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas Day” (which apparently 720 people were in December 2018) – the answer is no. It’s perfectly legal to eat mince pies both on Christmas Day and during the office Christmas party.

We hope these tips help you to conduct yourself well at your Christmas party this year. Feel free to give yourself a chuckle by looking at more of Next’s funny Google searches too. -https://www.next.co.uk/christmas/funny-google-searches .