Goldie’s Guidelines to Holiday Dining with Colleagues

Once again the season is upon us; the season of frantic shopping, Christmas tunes played in every retail store, and for professionals, the inevitable office celebration with our colleagues. This holiday lunch or dinner is the boss’s or management’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to the team. These meals, while social, should still be considered work-related, and a certain social protocol should be kept in mind. That does not mean that you can’t enjoy yourself or be yourself. Read on for 5 tips to make your office holiday event anxiety-free, and a warm memory for Monday back at the office:

  • Cocktailing and Colleagues don’t mix. At a holiday meal, it’s oh-so-easy to overindulge in the spirits. After all, you’re not paying! When wine is involved, those spiffy servers just keep filling up your glass. Despite this, you’ll need to keep your professional wits about you. The servers are motivated to pour as much wine as possible (the more bottles emptied, the bigger their tip). Discreetly put your hand over your glass when the server offers more wine, and accept more only when your glass is completely empty, so you can keep an accurate tally on how much you’ve consumed. In dining situations, the magic number is two – two cocktails or two glasses of wine. Sounds wimpy? I bet no one has ever been embarrassed ‘the next day’ at the office for drinking too little.
  • Watch Your Waist, and Dine Well Too. Too many of these festive feasts can lead you to pack on the pounds. But if you think strategically, you won’t have to put in double time at the gym. If guests are ordering two savory courses (an appetizer and an entrée), you could start instead with a salad or even share an appetizer with a like-minded colleague. You can also use my favorite trick for business dining: order two appetizers and forgo the entrée. Just be prepared with your preference when the server asks which dish you would like first.
  • For the Meat & Potatoes Guy: In some cases, the venue of the office event might be an artisanal restaurant with refined cuisine. If the menu seems too intimidating or fancy-schmancy, fear not! Any restaurant will plain-grill, bake or broil a piece of fish, meat or chicken for you upon request.
  • Dress to the Nines– Fragrance Free. Some people consider it fun to get all gussied up and show off trendy threads to colleagues who may be used to seeing only the professional side. Whether you want to get all decked out or wear business attire, leave the perfume, cologne, hair oils, or heavily scented lotions at home. 80% of taste is smell, and when fine food is involved, make sure that food has center stage, not your newest designer fragrance.
  • Be the Ultimate Gracious Guest. Hand-write a thank you note to whoever’s responsible for organizing your holiday hoorah. Show what an appreciative, classy employee you are by taking a few minutes to write the note, address the envelope, and affix the stamp. This small gesture can go a long way, and will remind them of how lucky they are to have you.
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2 Responses to Goldie’s Guidelines to Holiday Dining with Colleagues

  1. lola says:

    my dad’s only advice to me when i started working was #1 on your list. you never want to be the drunk people talk about for next year! great advice.

  2. admin says:

    Lola,
    Your dad’s a smart man! When interviewing leaders in the financial services industry, people drinking too much at a business meal came in at the top of the list of professional turn-offs. The other list topper was tardiness!

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