holidayofficepartySo, now that Thanksgiving is upon us, the race to get through the minimal and grossly overcrowded days left in 2013 is officially on. Whether you welcome or abhor the season, let’s review some end-of-year protocol that needs a temporary spotlight.

Gifting: Do so responsibly 

holiday-giftsFor our purposes, we’re talking only about gifts for clients, business associates, employees and office formalities. The important thing to remember is to make good choices, not only about what you gift but also about who is included on your list and why.

As planners you should put measured thought into this process and come up with the right combination of what you want to do and what is appropriate or necessary. You might even conclude that in this world of excess, the best way to thank business associates is really just to thank them. Something as simple as taking them out to lunch and having a one-on-one conversation might be the best gift ever.

By all means, if you receive a nice gift make sure to acknowledge it with a short written note or, at the very least, a phone call. If this business contact thought enough of you to buy and deliver a gift, you’d best remember that giving and receiving are part of successful client interactions.

Partying: Do so responsibly

office-christmas-party-WPWhether you’re a social person or not doesn’t matter this time of year because you will get plenty of invitations. It’s best to abide by these rules:

  • No matter what your answer is, acknowledge a formal invitation that seeks a reply. The answer is always a simple, painless yes or no. Period. No busy party planner wants to hear about your kid’s ballet recital, your dog’s surgery or grandma’s annual holiday cookie challenge. They want to know whether you’re coming to their event so they can plan accordingly. Just do it, and do so on time.
  • If you say yes, show up. No-shows are the bane of our existence in this industry, right?
  • Perhaps most importantly, behave like an adult. We know you’re thinking this is a whoop-dee-doo end of year holiday party, and you’re more than ready to throw back a few, but it’s first and foremost a business function. Know your limits — this pertains to both drinking and eating — and abide by them. Bonus point: If you refrain from snapping photos and posting them during or after the party.

Business as usual, sort of

Let’s face it, once we pass Thanksgiving many of us free fall through the next 30 days. End-of-year sales to close, functions to attend and multiple reports to compile are butting heads with turning in next year’s projections.

It’s chaotic and stressful on all fronts, so don’t contribute to the office madness by missing deadlines, calling in sick (unless you really are), avoiding, procrastinating or ignoring tasks that must be done. Respect the team you’re on and do your part to stay on task and keep spirits up whenever and wherever possible.

So, let’s all take a deep breath, light a tall candle, and let peace and protocol reign in the days and weeks ahead.

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More thoughts on holiday gift-giving next week. What rules do you follow? Please share your comments in the section below.