Office Holiday Party Etiquette

Office Holiday Party Etiquette | CorporetteI’m working on a monster post about what to wear to your office holiday party, and in the meantime found all these great articles about office holiday party etiquette, which we haven’t discussed in forever — so I thought we should discuss today, as a bit of a precursor to the “what to wear to your office holiday party” post. (Although of course feel free to share what you plan to wear to your party this year!)

For my $.02, it comes down to some simple rules:

  • If it’s your first holiday party, don’t assume — talk to others so you know what to expect, because there can be a huge variation in office holiday parties. Some offices have a midday Santa hat+suit kind of luncheon; others have a Friday night affair at a hotel ballroom.  (One of my old offices did the hotel ballroom for the low key affair, and another black tie ball in January just for attorneys.) If you can’t ask anyone, look for clues — if it’s a Friday night after work, odds are good that people are going to be still wearing their office clothes (with one small tweak like a party blazer or statement necklace).  If it starts at 5, it may be over by 7.  Another way to gauge the formality: where the event is held.  If it’s chosen for locality (the closest hotel ballroom, the closest restaurant, etc), odds are it’s going to be more low key than an event a bit further from the office.
  • Do not get tipsy, let alone drunk.  Save it for the office after party or when you’re at an event that isn’t affiliated with work. (Many moons ago, we also talked about what your drink says about you at the office cocktail party.)
  • Make it about the people, not the food or drink.  That’s a good hallmark of any party attendee, but it goes doubly here.
  • Talk to everyone.  Fight the urge to huddle in the corner with your friends, or only try to network with the VIPs.  It’s a great time to smile and laugh with your subordinates, as well as support staff.  A corrollary:
  • Don’t just talk about work.  If your boss comes over and needs to discuss a project, that’s one thing — but assume that people want to talk about anything but that.  Politics and religion are still dicey topics, of course, but there are a ton of other party-appropriate conversation topics.
  • If the next day is a work day, it’s business as usual. 

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Do You Send Holiday Cards to Friends and Colleagues?

MoMA Evergreen Doves Holiday Cards | CorporetteHoliday cards: do you send them? To friends or colleagues or both? What kind of cards do you send, and do you have any rules about it? It’s been eons since we last discussed holiday cards! (Pictured: MoMA Evergreen Doves holiday cards, $18.45 at Amazon.)

For my $.02, I think there are two kinds of people: those who send cards, and those who really don’t. I’m definitely in the first camp, although I’ll admit that the kinds of cards I’ve sent to friends and family have definitely changed since I’ve had kids. While I used to send pretty cards from museum stores and so forth, now I go to Shutterfly, Minted, or the like to get custom photo cards. But I don’t send those cards to people I know through the business (and because business is e-based, sending a physical card seems weird anyway!) — and I can’t see myself sending them to coworkers in my law school days unless I counted them a friend first, colleague second. (Over at CorporetteMoms we’ve talked about how to avoid sending what some of my single friends have joked about as “smug holiday cards.”)

As far as rules go, I can’t think of a time when I haven’t gone with a fairly neutral greeting like “Season’s Greetings!” or “Merry and bright!” just for efficiency’s sake. I always order a few extra in case someone sends me a card who for whatever reason didn’t get a card in the first round I sent them.

So I’m curious, ladies: Do you send cards to friends? To colleagues? What do you think about receiving them? Have you ever received one from a coworker that made you raise an eyebrow? 


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Should You Buy a Wedding Gift for Your Assistant if You’re Not Invited?

wedding gift for coworkerIf one of your coworkers is getting married and you’re not invited to the wedding, should you give her a gift? What if it’s someone really important — for example, should you get a wedding gift for your assistant anyway? Reader L wonders…

My secretary is getting married very soon, and I’m wondering whether I should get her a wedding gift and, if so, what I should get her. She’s in her 40s and this is her second marriage (she has adult children). She’s just having a small wedding at home, so I didn’t get an invite or anything, I was just thinking it would be nice to get her something but I have no idea what. It’s not like she’s in her 20s and just starting out, so I’m kind of at a loss. Hoping you and/or your readers can help.

Interesting. I see a lot of questions from commenters about what to gift, when to gift, and so forth, so here are my $.02… (Note that my advice is the same if your admin is a man, as well; but because Reader L has a female secretary, let’s use the feminine…)

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Sponsored: Celebrate Mother’s Day with Luxury Flowers from FTD

ftd4This is a sponsored post, but written by your usual friendly blogger, Kat Griffin.  

I don’t know about you ladies, but I’ve been disappointed in some of the online bouquets I’ve ordered for others recently.  They all seem just kind of… middling.  The bouquets are small, the flowers are boring, and the main way to pick something “better” is to get a fancier vase or a teddy bear or something.  But what about better flowers?  So I was thrilled when FTD reached out, because — for some reason — I had never really been to their site before, despite the fact that they’ve been in business since 1910, and I’ve never focused on the fact that they are known as the luxury flower provider.  Not only do they partner with heavy hitters such as Vera Wang, Better Homes and Gardens, Bacarat, Godiva, Cristal and Dom Perignon, but — SO SMART! — they also let you “upgrade” your order four ways, all based on the flowers.  “Good” is the first choice, which they stand behind — their whole site is backed by their 7-day satisfaction guarantee.  Next is “Better,” which promises “full and lush” flowers; the next level is “Best,” which promises “bountiful blooms.”  Some bouquets also offer a fourth option: “Exquisite,” which is “lavish and grand.”  Here’s how they show the flowers varying from one level to the next, using The FTD® Deep Emotions™ Bouquet by Better Homes and Gardens® as an example (which, by the way, is the Editors’ Choice, and may be my favorite of the bunch as well).  I’d be thrilled to get any of these hot pink and orange bouquets, and I certainly wouldn’t be embarrassed to send one. The pictured bouquet starts at $54 (good) to $105 (exquisite), and includes the vase.


Some of my other favorites from FTD’s site includes:

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PSA: Administrative Assistant’s Day is Wednesday!

What to Get your Assistant for Administrative Assistant's Day | CorporetteAdministrative Assistant’s Day is Wednesday, April 22 — what will you be getting your assistant? 

In the past, we’ve taken polls on administrative professionals day gifts before, talked about how and what to delegate to your assistant, and swapped stories of amazing assistants — our roundup of gifts for your assistant may also be of help to you.  Comments on our thread last year had some great ideas for what to get male assistants.

Pictured: The Light of My Life™ Bouquet by FTD®, available at for $39-$85. 


Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

giftguide-stocking-stufferCall me crazy, but I always like to do stocking stuffers as thoughtful little presents that may be everyday, almost boring things — but done better. For today, I’ve rounded up some small gifts that definitely fit that description.

Our previous gift guides are linked below — note that each one has a Pinterest board that is still being updated as we find more good stuff:


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