Does the thought of attending your office holiday party fill you with festive glee? Or, like so many of us introverts, would you rather get a lump of coal than go to the work shindig?

If you find yourself in the “bah, humbug” camp when it comes to office holiday get-togethers, you’re definitely not alone. People who tend to feel awkward or uncomfortable at group gatherings may dread this annual rite of corporate passage. In fact, they may be tempted to skip it entirely.

There are plenty of up sides to going to the party, though. Networking, camaraderie, and yes, even fun, can all be had at the office holiday party. With a few simple strategies, even the most hesitant partygoer can enjoy the festivities.


It sounds so simple, but this strategy is a powerful one. Smiling naturally – not a forced or strained grin – is contagious and relaxes you as well as your smile’s recipient.

Stay Open

Our body language sends messages to others, whether we want it to or not. Standing tall with arms relaxed at your sides (if they’re not holding your plate or glass) conveys confidence. Standing with your body directly facing whomever you’re talking with communicates friendliness and interest in the other person.

Conversation Starters

Come prepared with a few conversation starters, especially if you’re going to be mingling with folks you don’t know very well. After introducing yourself, asking questions like “What’s your favorite thing about winter?”, “What’s your best holiday memory?”, and “What’s the coolest gift you’ve ever given someone?” can get the ball rolling. Even better? You’ll probably learn some fun and fascinating things about the other person that will keep the conversation going.

Give (Conversational) Gifts

You can approach people with generosity by asking them questions, really listening to their answers, and responding with humor and warmth. These techniques are all gifts to your conversational partners. They’ll appreciate you for it – and focusing on what you can give to the other person will help you avoid getting stuck in your own anxiety.

You can also take advantage of the seasonal spirit to thank your colleagues and supervisors who have helped you, guided you, and inspired you this past year. Expressing your gratitude to others, simply by taking some time to say “Thank you,” is a gift that will keep on giving.

While you may be tempted to Grinch it up this holiday season, try these tactics at your office holiday party and see if your heart doesn’t grow a size or two in the process.