nito/Shutterstock.com

How to leave with your dignity and corporate ambitions intact.

Do arrive on time, but not first. Not quite fashionably late, but business casually late.

Don’t arrive without an exit strategy. Think Obama in Afghanistan, not Bush in Iraq. De Gaulle in Algeria, not Khaleesi in Meereen.

Do keep in mind that even if the event takes place after hours, you’re still expected to present yourself professionally. Festive bow tie? Yes. Sexy Santa suit? No. Sparkly headband? Fine. Footed Christmas PJs in a child’s size L? OK, but only if you work somewhere ironic, like the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Don’t compliment a sweater for being ugly unless you’re absolutely positive it was intended to be. If uncertain, ask a neutral question like: “Is that from Talbots?”

Do double-check whether people are bringing their actual spouse or just their work spouse. Plan any coordinated outfits accordingly.

Don’t use this party as an excuse to make a romantic gesture toward a colleague. Take a page from great American work husbands Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and save your pursuit of happiness for the Fourth of July picnic instead.

Do remember that you can’t spell “egregious sexual misconduct” without “mistletoe.”

Don’t bring mistletoe.

Are we having fun yet? (Dragon Images/Shutterstock.com)

Do limit your alcohol consumption. Whether your boss is the Jack Donaghy to your Liz Lemon (a trusted mentor who pays you slightly less because you’re a woman), the Josh Lyman to your Donna Moss (there are sparks, but nothing you can act on until the current president leaves office), or the Avon Barksdale to your Stringer Bell (plotting your demise), keep it together until the senior executives leave.

Don’t forget that “Fireball” autocorrects to “fireable.”

Do keep the conversation work appropriate by avoiding any topics that appear in songs by The Weeknd.

Don’t do anything the bosses in Love Actually do—e.g., buy your assistant an inappropriately expensive gift, offer to assassinate an employee’s ex, or drop the only copy of your manuscript in a pond.

Do take advantage of your company’s cloud-based storage to back up your manuscripts.

Don’t do anything the employees in Love Actually do, either—e.g., suggest your boss purchase you an expensive gift, curse in front of the Prime Minister, or leave your coworkers short-staffed during the holiday rush just because Colin Firth showed up to say you’re beautiful and he wants to marry you.

Do bring Colin Firth as your date.

Don’t feel left out if you’re a freelancer and don’t have a holiday party to go to! Put on your sexy Santa suit, pour yourself some Fireball, enjoy your mistletoe without threat of litigation, and use this time to knock out a listicle about the twelve kinds of holiday party encounters only ‘90s kids will understand.

Top image: nito/Shutterstock.com

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