Don't Commit These 7 Party Fouls Inspired by 'Office Christmas Party'

Seriously, don't do that.

learn more about Nina Zipkin

By Nina Zipkin

BraunS | Getty Images

We're heading into the home stretch of 2016 now. Thanksgiving is over, Christmas and New Year's Eve are around the corner and there are only a few more cheerful get-together gauntlets to run before 2017, chief among them, your company's holiday gathering.

It is an event that is often filled with questions. Is that an appropriate gift for the swap? Is now the time to act on that office crush? Should I play beer pong with my boss? And if you have to ask, the answers to those questions are probably not; no, it isn't; and that depends, who's doing the challenging?

Related: 6 Tips for a Fun, Affordable Holiday Party

A textbook case of what not to do is in theaters this week, the aptly named Office Christmas Party.

In the movie, Jason Bateman plays Josh, a chief technology officer at a struggling family business that sells tech equipment and solutions. His boss, Clay (TJ Miller), the deceased founder's feckless but well-meaning son, is surprised by a visit from his sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston), the icy acting-CEO who tells him he needs to start laying people off or else his branch faces closure.

Related: 5 Ways to Get Naysayers to Participate in Team Building

So it's up to Josh, Clay and the company's lead engineer Tracey (Olivia Munn) to close a big deal to keep the doors open. As a last ditch effort, they invite Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), the man who holds their fate in his hands to the holiday party, so he can get a front row seat to their company culture. Festive mayhem predictably ensues.

Are the simmering family resentments and the countdown clock to save everyone's jobs just a means to get to extended set pieces that involve questionable choices, live reindeer, car chases and Russian mobsters? Of course they are.

It's not going to win any awards, but in the hands of a capable ensemble cast, the film is actually surprisingly enjoyable and pretty instructive. Read on for seven things you shouldn't do at your own party this year.

1. Don't make your HR department crazy.
Seriously, they only want to make sure that your work environment is comfortable for everyone. We're guessing that people who have such a firm grasp on the rules want to have some fun too, so do them a favor and don't plan anything migraine-inducing.

2. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
All year round, not just at the end of the quarter, don't rely on one deal or idea to keep you out of the cold. Always have a few contingency plans at the ready.

3. Don't blow your budget.
Office perks are always nice, and a photo booth or a snow machine might be fun for about 20 minutes, but as a rule, be judicious about how you are spending your money. Take a hard look at how you can keep morale up for the long term, not just one evening.

4. Don't let personal resentments build up.
Working with family and friends can be tough, especially since sometimes your personal lives can intrude on how you conduct yourselves in the office. Take time to check in and talk out things that are bothering you before things get ugly.

Related: Meet These 4 Entrepreneur-Sibling Dream Teams

5. Don't hack your colleagues.
It should hopefully go without saying, but use your powers for good. Figure out a way to improve the company security protocols or run a best practices session about strong passwords.

6. Don't bring any children/animals/distant relatives.
Approach the holiday party like you would a wedding. Unless your kid or pet is expressly on the guest list, find a sitter.

7. Don't leave your office unlocked.
If you have important documents or projects lying around, make sure they are in a safe place before the festivities begins.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.


Two Stanford Professors Explain How to Produce Hundreds of World-Changing Ideas In 1 Hour

Cramming everyone into a conference room to "spitball" is a disaster. But with some structure and a system, literally thousands of ideas are within reach.