Your office is a landmine of awkward situations. There are unusually brief quarterly reviews (what does that mean?), uncomfortable bathroom encounters (remember when you heard the HR girl sobbing in a locked stall?), and those special conversations with your company president in which you have to repeat, as nicely as possible, that you’re not interested in dating his nephew. And then, there’s the Office Holiday Party.
You really sort of have to go, though. And admit it: There’s something in you, however small, that wants to go. There’s something thrilling about the small chance that you might get embarrassingly drunk, or receive a perfectly desirable gift in the gift exchange, or grab a drink with your office crush after the soiree winds down.
But before you set out trying to survive this year’s bash, you have to narrow in on a mission. Tell us what your motivation is, and we’ll tell you what you need to know. Click on the links to stock up.
A.) GET DRUNK AND STUFFED
You’re smart. You’ve already been given a holiday bonus (unless that didn’t happen…sorry!) so there’s no reason to play it safe anymore. Let loose and let fly and let yourself get a little wasted. First thing’s first: Bring your own wine opener. There will be amateurs present, and you don’t want to be left without libations if someone breaks the corkscrew. And who wants to wait for someone to run across the street to grab one? You came to drink. Next, make sure you bring a really terrific sweet treat in a really terrific serving dish (like this one of the Virgin Mother). The bigger the better: That way, no one will bat an eyelash if they notice you’re having fourth and fifth helpings of everyone else’s. We suggest you brush up on your cocktail skills, too. Unless you have a bartender present, you don’t want to be left with boxed eggnog and a recipe for poinsettias that some guy learned in college.
B.) WOO AN OFFICE CRUSH
You have guts. We respect that. You’re going to need to forgo the abrasive holiday sweater if you want to take that flirtationship to the next level. Opt for something simple, subtle, but sleek as hell. That should take care of looking good, but we suggest one of these flasks when it comes to feeling good. Liquid courage is essential, but no one wants to see you guzzling the free stuff in plain sight. And about that smartphone of yours: It’s more important than you think. Whether you’re showing your crush a few pictures of your dog doing something hilarious, or you have to fake an incoming telephone call to get out of an awkward situation, you should give them something nice to look at. Try these.
C.) APPEAR HAPPY AND ENTERTAIN YOUR COWORKERS
You could be choosing this route for a multitude of reasons. Maybe seeing your coworkers enjoying themselves really makes you warm and fuzzy. Maybe you’re deeply sad and you want to put on a convincing front. Regardless, you’re going to need a slightly abrasive holiday sweater. It wouldn’t hurt to decorate your desk with some inexpensive yuletide trim a week or so before the party either—that really says “I’m balanced and healthy and therefore I love the Holidays.” You should really bring your A-game to the gift swap, too. Check out our Secret Santa Shop for some ideas. Warning: An extremely approachable exterior can triple the chances of boring, uncomfortable conversation. Have an escape plan ready. We suggest, “So, how about the Fukushima nuclear disaster? Seems pretty dire, doesn’t it?”
And that’s that. Now you’re armed and ready to survive any Office Holiday Party, no matter how brutal. That Fukushima thing, though? We can’t help there.
Words and drawings by Jordan Shavarebi. Coloring skills by Kailyn Wilson.