EDITOR IN CHIEF ADAM RAPOPORT, LEFT, WITH CREATIVE DIRECTOR ALEX GROSSMAN.Our editor in chief, Adam Rapoport, has been to 17 office holiday parties in his career, three of which he's hosted here at Bon Appétit. (That's him above, at left; next to him is Alex Grossman, our creative director.) He's seen it all, from drunk co-workers dancing on (and falling off) tables to stone-cold-sober abstainers; from dudes wearing the same old thing to ladies dressing for Cinderella's ball; from people eating too much to people drinking way too much. It's not hard to be a good office-party guest-but the rules are definitely worth mentioning. Here's how our boss thinks you should behave at yours (and yes, Adam, we're taking notes, too).
1. DON'T Be a Sober Sally
"Number one mistake: Not drinking. Everyone always tells you that you don't want to be the person who is falling-down drunk at your office party, but you also don't want to be the person who is stone-cold sober. You should have fun. Your co-workers will be more forgiving-they like to have stories to tell in the morning. You're supposed to have fun and do something a little bit embarrassing. But not a lot embarrassing."
2. NOT Every Office Party Is the Same
"You need to understand the culture of your office. If you work at a dot-com start-up with a lot of young people, everyone will be drinking, single-ish, and partying pretty hard. That's very different from partying at a law firm with a bunch of older partners to whom you need to be respectful. Figure out what kind of office yours is and party accordingly."
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3. DON'T Nosh When You Get There "
You have to eat something BEFORE you go to the office party. Don't eat a lot, but you need to lay a foundation-you don't want to get there at six and drink for two hours straight on an empty stomach. I'd rather eat a little something before, drink, have fun, karaoke, and then go out for a late-night meal somewhere-whether that's hot dogs or steak frites at some bistro. But I don't want to sit down with a knife and fork at some cocktail table at the party. That's just lame."
4. DON'T Keep It Casual
"If you're a guy, wear something nice. If you're the guy who changes between the work day and the holiday party, you're gonna get grief for that. Women can change outfits-that's perfectly acceptable and encouraged. Guys should wear what you wore to the office that day, just spruce it up a little bit."
5. The World Is NOT Your Dance Floor
"Dance on the floor, not on the table. Especially if you're wearing heels. But do dance. Just don't be the first person to dance. Someone else will, just not you."
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6. Don't Toast Till You're NOT Tipsy
"If you're the host of the party, you have to give a toast and thank everyone profusely for working their tails off the past year. That's required. Do it when you're two drinks in, no later. You wanna be loosened up, but you still wanna be on your game. If you're not the host, definitely do not give a toast."
7. DO NOT Drink the Punch
"I'm a vodka-soda guy. What I like about vodka soda on any night, but especially at holiday parties, is that there is no sugar in them. You gotta watch out for punch-which has a ton of booze and a ton of sugar -and those new-fangled cocktails that have a ton of syrup. Drink a couple of those, and you're hungover before you even leave the place. Go with what you know, don't suddenly veer off-course because it's a holiday party. If you don't drink tequila, don't just suddenly start drinking tequila. Bad idea."
8. DON'T Play Your Transportation By Ear
"Obviously, don't drive. In New York-where our offices are-that's not a problem. But if you don't live somewhere readily accessible to a subway, call a taxi, share a car with a designated driver, or have somebody pick you up. Don't be that person that drives, then says, Screw it, I'm gonna have a couple drinks. Just plan on not driving home, figure it out. You're a big boy, or girl."