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Celebrate Xmas with a group of friends or co-workers

Christmas parties are a cultural tradition in Australia within companies and businesses. Celebrating a successful year bonds employees, and within larger companies Chrismas parties help departments met and mingle with people in the same firm they might otherwise never interact with. They are supposed to be fun, frivololus, flirty, but not filthy.

Unfortunately, otherwise responsible co-workers with a few under the belt can become raucous, as a result of the alcohol lowering their inhibitions. 72% of Australia's adults claim their most embarressing moments to occur while they're intoxicated, and we advise one to exercise great care and restraint so that your most embarressing drunken occasion doesn't occur on at the company Christmas party. Sober colleagues will remember your behaviour, and naughtyness may damage your reputation at work -- or worse.

However, we realise that you don't want to be considered socially inept, and therefore it is necessary to at least take advantage of the free alcohol, socialise and build upon the relationships your firm has so far fostered. If you fit into the work social scene well, you will prosper in the workplace as a result of your bonding session gained at the company christmas party!

We have compiled a list of things you must know when attending the company Christmas party:

What to wear to an Office Christmas Party

Men - Check with the ladies (they always know what a man should wear) and the dress standard of the venue. If in doubt, try over dressed, rather than under. We prefer dark trousers, pants or slacks, and a smart shirt. Remember how to iron. Always ensure your shirt has a collar, just in case after the party you and a couple of the boys (or girls *winks*) hit the nightclubs. Many clubs won't let you in if your shirt doesn't have a collar. Make sure you're comfortable, there's a good chance you'll eat and drink a lot, and you don't want to split your pants.

Ladies - Unless you're in the porn industry, we do not believe a lot of skin is approriate at company Christmas parties. LBD's work well at Hens nights, but be careful of the impression they give at a company function. Check with the venue, but smart casual is usually the best bet for a function of this sort. Make sure you're wearing comfy shoes, as there's a good chance the night will wear on for some time, you'll be on your feet a lot, and you don't want black toenails from too-high hells, erm heels. Ensure you're going to be warm enough, you don't want your lips turning blue and your nipples behaving like headlights.

What can you talk about... what should you avoid

Work is over - We realise that work may be a common interest point with others at the Christmas party, but this is your chance to really get to know one another. Work is better left at work. Let your hair down, and show what an interesting and attentive person you are by becoming acquainted with your colleagues on a social level. Bosses, supervisors and managers especially like to avoid the work topic, and it won't go down well with them to bring it up. They're trying to escape it too.

PC rules still apply - Politics, sex, toilet humour, religion, women, races... all those subjects which happen to include a barrage of bad jokes and can be touchy subjects should be avoided. Remember that outside of work, people still have feelings and opinions, and even though you might be watching your alcohol intake, everyone else may not be. Badly approached topics on these subjects may result in heated debates and personality mismatches. Avoid these at all cost. Try talking about the weather. I hear Mars is close by.

How much to eat and drink

DrinkTracker - iPhone Breathalyzer & BAC Calculator App

It is Free - By all means, take advantage of the ever-pouring drinks and the plentiful free food... but, remember your own limitations. A good rule of thumb with alcohol is to do one alcoholic drink and one water/softdrink/juice. Spacing yourself is important. Whatever you do, don't drive home if you've had too many. We recommend you keep yourself happy, but not quite tipsy. Wobbly legged is definitely not an option at the company Christmas party. Have a look at R U Pissed to see how much you might be able to drink.

Get a Taxi - Company parties are usually held in easily accessible locations, and are therefore close to taxi resources. Some areas also have a service where you and your car can get driven home, like .05 Cheuffer Drive in Cairns. The restaurant/venue will be happy to book your transport on your behalf.

Get a Room - Sometimes, a little bit of alcohol and good food while sitting beside your office heart throb will get your pulses racing. If you feel things might get heated, get some accommodation. Don't start making out in front of the party, or even in a dark corner... especially if it is against your company policy. In Cairns, have a look at the accommodation near restaurants.

Social ineptitude at it's finest

Meet & Mingle - If you see the IT manager sitting on his own in a dark corner, help him out and go speak to him. The poor guy has problems fitting in. Not to say all IT managers are like that, but that goes for anyone who might be a little shy, or even new to the company. Some firms encourage people to bring their partners, and they often feel strange not knowing anyone. Help them feel comfortable. You may forge a valuable alliance. Make sure you've got a stack of business cards in your top pocket, or in a handy place in your handbag.

Kisses, Hugs.. and maybe more - Not at the Christmas party. Remember that sexual harrassment laws still apply at work functions, and anyway this is a cheesy time to tell someone you've got the hots for them. Be jovial, expressive, but not sleazy (trust me, it will come back to haunt you).

Two Left Feet - You *might* have to dance at the Christmas party! OMG! What do you do. Get some lessons, from friends, dance teachers, jig up and down... but don't be anti-dancing, as your co-workers will see you as being most unfriendly. If you must decline, we assertive. Most people will understand. If someone doesn't want to dance, realise that you asking them in front of a large crowd of colleagues in likely to make their head get hot, their palms sweat and their knees tremble. Be discreet.

Complaints - Remember, this is supposed to be a fun occasion. Don't whinge about the food, service, venue, company, drinks etc. Pretend you're enjoying yourself. Pretend. Make-believe. Children can do it. Tap your ruby slippers together and dream out the words, "There's no place like home", don't just don't say it.

Pressies - If your company traditionally gives pressies at the Christmas party, be tasteful. Don't exploit people's sensitivities, and certainly don't buy anything that might offend. That includes non-Halal.

Got any more suggestions or tips for office party animals? Tell us your office party etiquette tip.

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