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  • Jennifer Walchuck

Holiday Party: Dos and Don'ts

We all know the holidays are a magical time of year. It’s a time to celebrate the year’s accomplishments, spend time with family, catch up on some rest, and just enjoy the moments! It can also be a time to unwind with colleagues and make some great memories to carry into the new year. Although holiday parties can be fantastic for employee morale and culture building, they can also be an HR nightmare if things go sideways. As HR professionals, we always strive to build up great teams and keep great teams safe. Our goal is to make sure workers can get through the holidays unscathed and teams head into the new year better, stronger, and ready to tackle new business objectives head-on.

Here are some tips and tricks Sodexo and Newbould-Walton (2019) share that have been circling the HR world on how to ensure the holiday party experience is the best it can be for both employees and employers.


  • Show Up!

    • Showing up shows your commitment to the organization and willingness to be on the team. Even if it’s for a moment, it does not go unnoticed.

  • Don’t forget, you are still technically at work

    • Even though you may not be doing “work work”, you are still amongst colleagues so office parties are not the time or place to discuss your role, grievances you may have, or wages. It is a time to celebrate, socialize, and enjoy each other’s company.

  • Take the time to get to know your colleagues

    • Get to know your colleagues outside of their role at work. Spark new conversations, enjoy their company, and network. Sometimes, businesses have more than one location, get to know the colleague behind the email. This is all part of building great teams.

  • Make sure you know what the dress code is

  • Know your limits

    • As with any event where there is alcohol, please be responsible with your drinking.

  • Make sure you have a proper ride home

  • Respect your environment

  • Don’t call in sick the next day

  • Use social media wisely

    • Although it may be tempting to post on social media, remember that the internet is forever.

  • Say thank you


  • Invite all employees to the party

    • This even includes those employees that are absent through sickness, maternity, or paternity leave.

  • Remind employees of the company’s expectations

    • Be sure to be clear on what is considered inappropriate behaviour at the event. It is important to ensure the event remains a safe space for all employees.

  • Control the amount of free alcohol and make sure food and non-alcoholic drinks are provided

    • Although it is important to be responsible with providing alcohol, be sure to also treat your employees for their work over the year. It is about finding the right balance between the two.

  • Have a plan in place to deal with inappropriate behaviour should it happen

    • If inappropriate behaviour does take place, be sure to have a plan in place to deal with the behavior that is in line with company policy and consistent with how the policy is applied.

  • Consider nominating a member of management to refrain from alcohol at the event to deal with any emergencies or incidents.

Office parties should be fun events that encourage celebration and team bonding. So many great and wonderful accomplishments have been made this year by so many organizations. On behalf of everyone at Synergy, we wish you all a wonderful December as you wind down for the end of the year and celebrate the great work your team has done over the last 12 months. Cheers!


Newbould-Walton, L. (2019, December 13). The do’s and don’ts of the Christmas party. The HR Director.

Sodexo (n.d). 11 Simple rules you should follow for the works Christmas party.

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