Five Do's and Don’ts for Throwing Holiday Work Parties


Holiday work parties provide an awesome opportunity for your company to recognize your employees, their families, and the contributions they make to your organization. But, they can also get out of hand pretty quickly. C.A. Short Company’s list of Do’s and Don’ts is designed to ensure your employees have a blast, without dancing on the boss’ desk.

Let’s start off with the Do’s.

Do’s of Holiday Christmas Parties

Engage and Recognize Your Employees

Engaging and recognizing your employees should be a year-round process and not something that occurs once in December. However, the holidays do provide an excellent opportunity to show your employees you care. So, make sure you do so during your event. In addition to publicly addressing and thanking employees, part-timers, and interns in a speech, try to thank as many people individually as possible.

Be Inclusive

Your employees are more than just workers at your organization. They are husbands, brothers, wives, sisters, mothers, dads, and heroes. It’s important to recognize this and include their spouse, partner, and family members when possible. In addition to praising employees, also mention the contributions made by their families.

Avoid Hosting the Party at Work

If feasible, avoid hosting the party at your place of business, especially if alcohol is being served. Not only is there a greater liability in having an on-site event, but it can also make the festivity feel like yet another work requirement.

Limit Alcohol

No Do and Don’ts list for holiday parties would be complete without mentioning alcohol, the leader in holiday-party firings. If your company is going to serve alcohol, go over basic rules and expectations with your team. Additionally, limit the amount of drinks partygoers can get with drink tickets. Finally, be sure to serve plenty of water and food throughout the event.


Don’t stand in one corner for the entire event. Be social. Walk around and talk to your employees, other members of the company, and, especially, people who you don’t know. They’ll appreciate your effort.

Don’ts of Holiday Parties

Make It All About Work

While it’s great to touch on some key work highlights from the year, don’t make the holiday party all about work. This is a time you should spend letting your employees know they matter and encouraging them to have fun. Save the rest for the boardroom.

Focus on One Religion

You want your party to be inclusive, so you shouldn’t focus on just one religion. Remember, the U.S. workforce is incredibly diverse, and nearly 25% report being non-religious.

Gossip About Other Employees  

NEVER gossip about employees to co-workers or anyone else. This is especially true for a work holiday party, where lips may be a little looser due to the “festive” season.

Forget This Is a Work Event

Just because a holiday work party is more relaxed than a typical day at the office, it’s still a work event. So, don’t do or say anything you wouldn’t do on-the-clock.

Hook Up with a Co-Worker

It’s almost always a good idea to refrain from romantic relationships in the workplace. This is especially true at your holiday parties, where people may be more relaxed, not as guarded, and feeling a little too “merry”. It’s just not worth it.

Be Safe, and Have Fun

You don’t have to play the role of Santa this year, but don’t be a Scrooge either. Your employees worked hard for your organization all year, and it’s imperative they feel appreciated and understand the company cares about them.

Looking for even more ways to show your gratitude? Check out our free On-Demand Webcast, Unscrooged: Fun Ways to Engage Employees During the Holidays.

Unscrooged Webcast

C.A. Short Company partners with companies to manage, drive and facilitate increased employee engagement to increase financial performance, productivity, quality, and core performance outcomes. Our process and research-based platform enables executives and managers to engage their teams to increase the bottom line, motivate staff, and incentivize positive behavior. To Request a Complimentary Consultation, click here. 

Topics: Holiday, Work Party

R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

About the Author
R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

R Scott Russell is a video host, public speaker, and a sought-after thought leader in the world of employee engagement and recognition. At C.A. Short Company, he is responsible for producing engaging content, helping clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs, and providing ongoing training and education.