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The Social Science Behind Office Holiday Parties


This may be appropriate behavior and attire for your mother's house, but not your office holiday party.

One of the joys of the holidays for Franchise Times’ editors is getting press releases giving advice on workplace etiquette for the holidays. We weren’t sure people in franchising needed advice on how to act at their company holiday parties, until we received the following letters to the editor. So here’s our advice, culled from the experts’ releases.

Dear Franchise Times:

I am getting ready to go to my office holiday party for a large prominent franchisor on the East Coast and I wondered if it was OK if I drank too much?

—Sue in HR

Dear Sue,

According to career coaches, two cocktails at a company function is the maximum anyone should consume—if they want to show their face at the office the next day. And note that “cocktail” refers to any drink with alcohol in it. This is not the time to be literal and have two cocktails, two beers and two glasses of wine (that would be considered six cocktails by etiquette authorities). 

Dear Franchise Times:

My office party is right after work and I had to skip lunch in order to get my work done. Is it appropriate to stuff myself at the buffet line since they kinda owe me lunch and dinner?

—Bob, assistant vice president of franchising

Dear Bob,

Sorry, but eating like it’s your last meal may make your boss suspect you know you’re about to be fired the following Monday. Instead, enjoy a handful of hors d’ oeuvres and one small plate of food at the buffet. Also experts agree you should not leave your toothpicks or dirty plates on the table. If you’re still hungry after the party, stop at McDonald’s on the way home. It’s probably time you embrace restaurants with Happy Meals.

Dear Franchise Times:

I have this killer dress—backless, sparkly and thigh-high—that I was thinking about wearing to Chick fil A’s Christmas party. What I want to ask is how much perfume is too much perfume?

—Donna in accounting

Dear Donna,

Skip the perfume.

Other advice: Office holiday parties are considered a work function, so don’t plan to make a quick entrance and leave. This is the season to get to know your coworkers on a less formal basis and yes it's mandatory to enjoy it.  Smile, stay away from the copy machine and don’t wear a Santa hat. 

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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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