With the holiday season upon us, there’s a decent chance you’re going to attend at least one corporate affair. Perhaps a networking event or a company party. Regardless, the holiday mood can sometimes get the better of us, leading to some uncomfortable situations and possibly career damaging behaviour. So before you head out for a night of after hours merriment, check out these five tips to make sure your party, your guests, and your behaviour stay socially safe.

Limit the drinking. Being drunk in front of co-workers is not cool and will negatively impact how others see you long after the holidays. Beyond the issue of drinking and driving, we may also be prone to say things or act in ways that could embarrass ourselves while offending others. Limit alcohol consumption with drink tickets, or by implementing a buddy system.

Don’t talk shop. You have 40 hours a week to talk about that project. So for one night let it go. View the event as an opportunity to get to know your co-workers on a personal level. Find out their hobbies and interests. Ask about their families. Or just convince them to demonstrate their karaoke skills.

Ditch the mistletoe. This one time tradition is now a recipe for trouble. If you believe kissing a co-worker would not be acceptable at the office, then you can be assured it’s just as unacceptable under the mistletoe.

Bring the spouse. Bringing your spouse is a good idea on many levels. First, you have someone to keep you on your best behaviour. Second, your spouse can often help you relax and be more sociable. And finally, it’s comforting to know you’re not going to leave the party alone.

Remember that titles still matter. Even in that ugly Christmas sweater, your boss is still your boss. And your staff still need to see you as a leader. So be aware of how you communicate with others. While you can dispense with formalities, don’t think you can become personal friends in one evening. Instead, enjoy each other’s company in a capacity that maintains respect.

Marc Gordon