We’ve all heard stories about the employee who embarrassed herself at the company’s holiday work party — or acted so inappropriately that later, she was fired. To avoid those kinds of missteps that negatively impact your reputation, consider the following suggestions at your employer’s holiday soiree this year.

  • Go easy on the libations. Yes, free drinks are nice, but your holiday work party is not the time to let your hair down and get tipsy. Limit yourself to one or two drinks so you don’t accidentally lose your inhibitions and say or do something you’ll regret later.
  • Dress appropriately.  Ask HR about the party dress code, then stick to it. Be cautious if evening wear is encouraged; it’s seldom (if ever) OK to wear revealing clothing around co-workers.
  • Participate. You’re not alone if you’re not exactly enthused about showing up to your holiday work party; one survey last year found 90 percent of U.S. employees would prefer a bonus or extra vacation days. In most cases, however, you should consider company parties to be part of your job if you wish to be considered the ever-important “team player.”
  • Mix and mingle. Rather than clinging to chums, take the opportunity to get to know co-workers with whom you’re somewhat unfamiliar. You may be pleasantly surprised, and it will make your workplace interactions that much more comfortable.
  • Be a great conversationalist. Avoid controversial subjects but do come equipped with a few other ideas of what to discuss — holiday plans, progress on gift shopping, favorite holiday memories, and favorite recipes, etc. Remember most people are flattered when you ask them about themselves, their backgrounds, their families and their outside interests.
  • Use your best manners. The way you act in mixed company is part of the persona company execs may evaluate when considering you for a promotion. At any company party, it’s important to thank waitstaff, avoid taking more than your share of refreshments, use napkins, avoid chewing with your mouth open, etc.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. Instead of taking your holiday work party for granted, remember to thank both the planners and the execs who approved the expense. Such events can be time-consuming, stressful and costly to plan.
  • Hide your inner Grinch. Politely clap and cheer for anyone else who wins an award, even if you secretly believe it to be undeserved.