Q&A: Can I skip my office holiday party?

Accepting work-related invitations, such as office holiday parties, is always a must.

Sorry, but you’re out of luck. Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to rub shoulders with the boss because if you’ve been invited to a company fête celebrating the most wonderful time of the year, you’re absolutely on the hook to attend. The first rule of office holiday parties, according to margaretpage.com (Page is a business etiquette expert in Vancouver), is that you always accept work-related invitations.

But that’s the easy part — the rules don’t stop there. Not only should you make a point of being at any shindig hosted by your bosses or colleagues, you also need to make getting face time with your manager and other execs a priority. The higher-ups won’t take kindly to watching you sitting in the corner, beer in hand, staring at your smartphone — you’re expected to get out there and mingle. Be sure to have a few non-work-related topics up your sleeve, says Page, so you’re not stuck talking shop all night. And even though it’s tempting to sneak out after the CEO’s yearly toast, don’t leave unnoticed. Say your goodbyes and thank your boss for having you.