Holidays In The Workplace: A Helpful Guide

Holidays In The Workplace: A Helpful Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? A time when offices are often transformed (or at least sprinkled!) with all things winter and fun. An opportunity when many companies roll out giving back initiatives and ways to unite in community good. A time when you wonder ‘Am I supposed to bring my significant other to the holiday party?’ and ‘Should I get my boss a gift?’.

To help alleviate some of the seasonal stress, the PJF Group has created the helpful, holiday tip list below. The ultimate rule of any holiday happening is when in doubt…don’t!


DO Attend. Whether your holiday celebration is after-hours or during the workday, you should make every effort to attend (unless you are ill). Your timely and good-natured presence shows commitment to your career, respect for your peers who planned the event and provides opportunities to engage with others whom you don’t normally get to interact with daily.

DON’T stay in your comfort zone. It’s tempting to find the people you know and chat with them the entire time but spending at least a portion of the time introducing yourself to new faces is nearly always a growth opportunity. This may be a rare chance to connect face-to-face with other departments and even put together the names and faces of executives and team leads. Keep the tone positive, the conversations short and the commentary limited only to what you would say in the office environment.

DO moderate. If alcohol is served, limit yourself to 1-2 drinks and never drive under the influence. If party attire is requested, consider business attire that is festive yet temperate. If guests are invited, ensure you RSVP for yourself and the guest in advance, rather than just decide to bring someone last minute.


DO play by the rules. Some office events involve gift exchanges. If participating, bring a thoughtful gift that lies within the budget and tone of the event type. It’s best not to participate if you are unable to bring an appropriate present (no re-gifting those silly socks from Aunt Edna when there is a $40 limit!).

DON’T buy for your boss. While it’s a well-meaning act to add your boss to your holiday shopping list, it can be seen as though you are trying to win the corporate game of ‘favorite’. A thoughtful, conservatively priced gift purchased with funds pooled from the team is more common in some cases – but office culture and policy will dictate what is appropriate for your individual situation.

DO (optionally) acknowledge the service of direct reports. Hand-written cards, homemade gifts and small thoughtful items gifted with equity across the board are always appreciated!


DO take photos! There is nothing wrong with capturing memories of the office festivities and maybe even re-purposing them in internal presentations and team building events throughout the year.

DON’T share office party pictures on social media without the permission of everyone in the photo and avoid pictures with alcohol or ambiguous behavior. Avoid commentary on social media regarding who was at the party and what you wish had been done differently.

juliebusiness woman santa hat

DO thank whoever organized the office festivities!

DO extend gratitude to anyone who mentored you throughout the year or went above and beyond to support you. Handwritten notes and thoughtful emails where they are unexpected but well-deserved often go a long way.

DO take a moment to look around and reflect on what you are grateful for at this point in your career; remember the days when you longed for the things you have now. It’s easy in Silicon Valley to get wrapped up in where we should be and where we are headed. Allow yourself to savor the gift of the present for what it is and what foundation it provides. Save the ambition for your business planning…! 😉

Resources Used:

Emily Post: The Workplace & The Holidays –

Monster: Office Holiday Party Etiquette

The Spruce: 10 Holiday Celebration and Office Party Tips