From work parties to family gatherings, there’s a lot of parties around the holidays. Stress, alcohol and more stress can make the holidays feel anything but relaxing.

That can mean a big culmination of craziness. We’ve all got a story or two.

Here’s our tips to being fun, fabulous and fearless this holiday season and avoiding potential pitfall faux pas.

Faux Pas No. 1: Being in a clique at the holiday office party.
There’s a reason they made the movie “Mean Girls.” Just because people graduate high school doesn’t mean they stop acting that way. Holiday gatherings can only emphasis this, especially if you’re a boss who plays favorites. 

The upside: When you go to the holiday party, try talking to the co-worker you never talk to.
You know the one. This is a great chance to get to know someone new, make a new ally or find a cool drinking buddy. If you’re the boss, try to be fair instead of showering your attention on one or two employees over everyone else.
 
If you’re the shy one, muster up some courage.

Not sure how?

We love this classic book by Barbara Walters, “How to Talk With Practically Anybody About Practically Anything.



Faux Pas No. 2: Talking too much about work at an office holiday party.
Yes, we know it’s a WORK party. But the holiday office party is your chance to get to know your co-workers outside of work. Learn about their kids, their cat, dog or pet parrot. Get their names. Always ask the name of the dog. Find out if they are taking a vacation, if they like to cook or travel or do spin class or brew craft beer.

If you’re not good at small talk, just ask some questions.

People like to talk about themselves. (We are all inherently egotistical and voyeuristic, and like to know what other people are doing.) 

Faux Pas No. 3: Looking or acting totally inappropriate.
A holiday work party doesn’t equal party like a rock star. Unless you want to be known as the slutty shot shooter who French kissed someone under the mistletoe, keep it under wraps. 

There’s an old saying “loose lips, sink ships.” If you drink too much you are liable to say something you later regret.

As this Inc. writer Steve Tobak bluntly states in his tips piece, “Enjoy the entertainment, just don’t be the entertainment.”

That also means leave the “I’m-not-sure-if-she’s-even-wearing-underwear-miniskirt” at home.

Not sure if the girls are on too much display?

Try wearing a SHOLDIT scarf that’s a purse, so you can strategically place your phone near you, so can “pretend text” if necessary, and not bare all. (It’s also a good conversation piece for the awkward moments, just watch other people’s reactions as you unzip a secret pocket in your scarf.)

Faux Pas No. 4: Not being aware and prepared.
It could be the crazy drunk uncle. Or maybe it’s your husband’s (or boyfriend’s) obnoxious brother. Or maybe it’s the co-worker at the holiday office party. We all know the one. The guy who has had too much to drink and starts pawing all over you, while his significant other turns the other way or he’s just single and desperate.

Or maybe it’s the relative who is always negative and throws insults like daggers from the food that you’ve made to the holiday decorations you’ve purchased. The best offense is a good defense.

Instead of going on the defensive, be prepared.

If there are bratty kids coming, plan ahead to try and find some type of game, video or something to distract them so they are screaming under the table having a tantrum as a 7-year-old that they don’t like the food. We’ve seen it.

Walk into another room when negative Nancy starts commenting, or maybe invite her to host the gathering next year.

Our best advice: stay above the fray. Keeping calm or lowering your voice when people start to get excited can help people to lower their voice before things escalate to a level that’s out-of-control.

Faux Pas No. 5: Expecting others to change.
Take stock of what you can control (yourself) and not what you can’t. Just know people don’t typically change and the past is the best predicator of the future.

That relative that never RSVPs? Decide what boundaries you want to set. Maybe you don’t reveal the details of the holiday event unless the person responds to your initial invitation. 

When all else fails pour yourself some eggnog and think about everything you are happy for, grateful this holiday season. It helps to put everything else in perspective. 

If you need help on the cooking front. Here are a few fixes for food.

 

 

 

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