The holiday party is back but changing

by Dec 8, 2022

The holiday party season has officially started.

After a three-year break the December holiday party is back on our calendars – but how?


COVID-19 put pay to the holiday party tradition which fell by the wayside – especially at the height of the pandemic. We saw a rise in online events which were less compelling, but maybe better than nothing. Last year the Omicron variant was a major party pooper.

This year there does seem to be an uptick in interest in in-person gatherings as the holiday party seems set to make a comeback. But we are still seeing some caution and other changes in the pipeline.

Changes to the holiday party

1. Lower key

It’s not just a looming recession, the energy crisis, and layoffs in the pipeline, but concerns that despite not being of pandemic proportions, COVID-19 is still out there. The holiday party is also impacted by increased numbers working remotely.

Research from NerdWallet in the UK found that 36% of businesses are stripping back their Christmas parties this year to save on costs.  27% said they won’t be having a party at all, with half of that number citing financial reasons.

2. Greener

Reports are that companies are going green. Many are cutting back on extravagant lighting due to soaring energy prices and going green generally with their decorations and gifts. All that glitters is not gold…. because it isn’t recyclable either.

3. More Inclusive

We are becoming more thoughtful and inclusive of other cultures and making sure that these events are not alcohol focused. Reports indicate that activities and themed events are becoming more popular. For some Gen Zs this is even their introduction to corporate festivities. They more than any other generation are less likely to drink alcohol.

How to manage remote teams more inclusively – 3 Plus International

4. Hybrid events

With increased numbers of people working remotely, companies are getting creative around hybrid events. From a career point of view if you can attend it does put you in the same room as senior people to increase your visibility.


5. More responsible employers

It might be a social event but it is still a company function and comes under their remit for health and safety. Organisations seem to be taking that role more seriously around employee protection – provision of taxis, limiting drinks, and reminding employees of company guidelines on inappropriate behaviour.

History books

Does this mean that the stories of raucous rave-ups from yesteryear will now become part of office folklore?  Remember the days when a free bar led to the letting down of communal hair,  when microaggressions hadn’t been invented and getting groped was a bit of harmelss fun?

Holiday party firing behaviours included inappropriate flirting and behavior with anyone at all – co-workers, bosses, and clients, plus substance abuse The holiday party frequently gave the letch from Marketing licence to get “handsy,” undeterred by even #MeToo messaging.

Rules for first timers

But for any newbies here are some golden rules for anyone who has not been to a more traditional holiday party. Avoid becoming the office legend:

  • Network with senior people early.
  • Don’t drink your dinner – eat and mix alcohol and alternate with water.
  • Tables, shots, and dancing are NEVER a good combo.
  • Avoid the mistletoe – Really. Like a communicable disease. Especially during COVID which IS a communicable disease. You might have had a secret crush on a colleague all year, but guess what….that’s exactly how it should stay. VERY secret. That would be one piece of office “goss” that would go viral. Think #MeToo and sexual harassment case.
  • Apply the 24-hour rule –  Absolutely NO photos, tweets, Facebook posts, or Instagrams until the following day. Then ask that critical question. What value would it add? The answer is almost always ….none. Generally, a social media embargo is a good idea.


holiday party

More serious note

Don’t forget that there are still annoying double standards regarding misbehaviour of women. Men are more likely to be forgiven for more minor alcohol-related indiscretions. There is also a very strong connection between alcohol consumption and sexual harassment or assault.

Have fun … but take care!

If your company needs to strengthen its female talent pipeline  – get in touch now!  


Is your organisation holding inclusive events?

Take a look at this post: 10 factors to consider to set up inclusive events



Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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