8 Ways Holiday Movies Prepare Us for Office Soirees

Don't let the Ghost of Holiday Parties Past haunt you and your professional reputation -- forever.

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By Amy Glaser


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Amid the end-of-year hustle, it's important to take a moment to reflect on achievements from the previous year and encourage your team to look ahead to the possibilities that the New Year holds. And what better way to do that than with a little holiday celebration, with some movie magic thrown in for good measure?

Related: Every Time a Bell Rings, a Business Gets Its Wings

All types of holiday celebrations, from fancy galas to low-key lunches, provide important opportunities for coworkers to build a healthy work culture by bonding on a more personal level,and celebrating professional achievements. However, holiday parties also provide opportunities for professional faux pas. When it comes to your reputation -- the one you're building or the one you're trying to maintain -- it is critical to be on your best behavior at your office holiday party.

Remember: The Vegas rule does not apply: What happens at your office holiday party might not stay at your office holiday party. In fact, it can follow you your whole professional career. To help you navigate your office celebration this year, then, take a few pieces of advice from some of the best holiday movie scenes:

Movie: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Attend and be present.

Unless you have a legitimate conflict, rule number one is simply to attend your office's holiday party. It is the polite and appropriate thing to do. Your attendance shows you are a team player who cares about your offices culture and about learning more about your coworkers on a personal level. However, when you attend the party, make sure you are present. Engage with your colleagues and partake in games, karaoke or dancing, if appropriate. Don't sulk in the corner because you wish you were elsewhere -- even if your crush is off dancing with an international Quidditch star.

Movie: Mean Girls
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Don't be cliquish.

While you're at the party, make sure to work the room. It's easy to fall into the habit of talking to the same people you work with every day, especially if you already have a close-knit team or are friends with your colleagues outside of the office. But now is your opportunity to mix, mingle and get to know your colleagues from other levels or departments. So, avoid a "you can't sit with us" attitude -- it definitely isn't "fetch" -- and go out of your way to make new connections.

Related: Creating an Alternative to the Office Holiday Party

Movie: Love Actually
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Keep it professional.

While you're busy socializing, remember to keep things professional. You are at a work event after all. So, if you think you can secretly kiss your office crush and get away with it, think again, Prime Minister. Keep flirting out of the picture and make sure all your interactions are workplace appropriate.

Movie: The Santa Clause
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Dress appropriately.

It's important to look the part. When choosing your outfit, be sure you are dressing appropriately for both the venue and your company culture. For example, if you are attending a cocktail party at an upscale restaurant, you should wear a different outfit than for a casual party in a local bar after work. Additionally, outfits should not be too tight, too short or too low cut. You want your boss to know you're the right person for the job.

Movie: Bridget Jones's Diary
Image Credit: Miramax

Control your alcohol intake.

While holiday parties are a great excuse to let loose and have fun with your colleagues, remember there is such a thing as too much fun. No matter how much alcohol improves your singing (or your perception of your singing), being the most intoxicated person at the party will affect your professional reputation. And not in a good way.

Movie: Elf
Image Credit: New Line Cinema

Don't hide at the food table or bar.

We know that everyone loves free food and an open bar. Who doesn't? However, standing by the refreshments table all night makes you seem disinterested in socializing with coworkers. Don't be a cotton-headed ninny-muggin: Take a step away from the food and engage with your colleagues.

Movie: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Don't destroy the holiday cheer by talking shop.

Work-related topics will inevitably come up in conversation, as they're something your colleagues all have in common. But remember, don't be all work and no play. No one wants to get stuck hanging out with the office Grinch who only wants to complain about his/her full inbox or never-ending to-do list. Poor Cindy Lou Hoo.

Movie: A Christmas Story
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Make sure your gifts are appropriate.

While gag gifts may be a great way to infuse humor into the office white elephant exchange, make sure your gift is appropriate and inoffensive. Think of it this way: If you would be too embarrassed to give your gift to Ralphie's mom, save it for a less professional setting. Your professional reputation is "FRAGILE" -- don't risk damaging it.

Related: Turn Holiday Parties Into Networking Goldmines With These 10 Tips

Amy Glaser

Senior Vice President at Adecco Staffing

Amy Glaser is a senior vice president at Adecco Staffing. She has been with Adecco for five years and has more than 17 years of leadership experience specializing in dynamic, fast paced industries. A member of the Kentucky College for Technical Education Advisory Board, Glaser is passionate about partnering with employers to create and shape the future workforce of America.

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