love actually

Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the holiday season is the office holiday party, where all social boundaries seem to fly out of the window. In order to assure that your holiday party is fun and not a psychosexual nightmare, here’s how you can get yourself in the right frame of mind to enjoy yourself. Just remember: even if you comport yourself well and maintain professionalism, no one else will. There will still be a ton of awkward looks the next morning, so just prepare yourself.

1. Eat first

You may be promised a free meal. You may be told that there will be no need to eat first, as a fine buffet and traveling canapés will be provided. If that’s what you heard, you were lied to. Sure, there will probably be a decent spread and the cast of Party Down walking around in bow ties with mini tacos and sliders. But there will never be enough. You will not eat to the point of satiation, and given the amount you’ll inevitably drink, you won’t eat enough to keep you shit together. Eat first.

2. Prepare your mind for pent up office sexual tension that you may not have realized existed

Maybe you’ve never spoken to half of the people in your office, instead skirting past them awkwardly and making forced conversation about how much the office coffee sucks. The minute you enter your holiday party, however, the dynamic changes. Suddenly you are a part of a sexual cage match you didn’t see coming, and everyone starts divulging secret office crushes and getting handsy. Engage if you feel like it, or make a quick exit.

3. Just know going in that you will get significantly more drunk than expected

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a big drinker or had claimed that you’ll just stay for one drink. The tension involved with putting coworkers into a social situation quickly begets significant alcohol consumption, especially if your office has any sense and paid for an open bar. Again, eat beforehand.

4. Have a get home safe plan

Figure out how you’re going to get home before it’s 3am and your phone is dead. This might include having cash for a cab or a buddy you’ll go home with. This is maybe a good idea anytime you get plastered.

5. Try to do as much work for the next day as possible.

This one didn’t to occur to me until recently, but you will be useless the next day. You might be hungover and unable to do anything, but the real issue is that you will be too busy feeling awkward around your coworkers to be productive in anyway. You just can’t unsee your supervisor singing “I Touch Myself” karaoke while the dude four cubicles over put his hand on your lower back. Abandon work for the day. Better yet, plan not to come in at all.

Photo: Love Actually, 2003