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Workplace holiday etiquette

November 30, 2011

The holidays can be a time for workplace fun and frivolity, but it’s also a good idea to comport yourself well, especially around your colleagues and your boss. Here are some important do’s and don’ts to help  take the stress out of the holiday season and bring about workplace holiday harmony.


Do take the stress out of the holiday season by having a “Secret Santa.”
Gift giving is a special tradition, but it can also lead to some anxiety. Having a “Secret Santa” with an affordable limit — even including your boss — can remove any competitive element out of gift giving at work. A fixed spending limit eliminates any potentially awkward moments when exchanging presents.

Do remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays.
Chances are that some of your colleagues hail from a variety of sects and faiths. Make a point of incorporating a wide variety of cultural traditions in your holiday festivities and be sure to involve a cross-section of employees in your office holiday party planning.

Do exchange personal gifts privately.
If there’s a special someone you’d like to give a present to, make sure you do so after work-hours, so as not to alienate others.

Don’t overstay your welcome at holiday gatherings.
Whether it’s a rambunctious office party or an intimate gathering at a colleague’s home, know when it’s time to bid your friends adieu and call it a night.

Don’t overindulge.
It can be tempting to take your celebrating to the next level, but don’t forget that partying with co-workers is different than doing so with friends and family. Don’t forget that you will see your boss and co-workers again the next day, so it’s best not to cross the line.

Don’t exchange rude or distasteful gifts with colleagues.
A gag gift that you find funny could easily offend a fellow worker. Also, avoid giving co-workers personal items such as alcohol, fragrance or clothing – gifts that might be seen as too intimate for a business setting.