It’s here. You somehow survived Thanksgiving with your family/in-laws/pseudo-friends, etc. Now the holidays really start and it’s a sprint to New Year’s Eve.

But first, you must make it through the gauntlet of Holiday Parties with various groups of friends, co-workers, and/or family.

The Work Holiday Party Survival Guide

Here are some suggestions for surviving those awkward company parties where Elliott from accounting has taken full advantage of the open bar and Sam from HR is giving you the stink eye.

You Should Go…No, Really.

Remember how your parents told you attendance was important? Yeah. You might not have had to go to class to get an ‘A’ in college but if you have any desire to move out of your parents’ house you need to attend the work party. Shake the boss’ hand, offer to go get the next round of drinks, whatever you can do to make your presence felt shows you might actually give a crap.

Arrive Fashionably Late

If the invitation says 7-11pm, it’s safe to show up at 8pm so you can avoid helping put the finishing touches on the Dollar Store decorations.

Know The (Dress) Code

Showing up under-dressed is a terrible impression to make. Don’t make the mistake of asking other lazy co-workers what they’re wearing. Ask and adult or someone that is helping plan the event if you’re confused as to weather you need to dress like you own real, adult clothing. If all else fails, top off your outfit with our Imperial Ugly Sweater Visor.

Work the Room

Want to get out of the crappy team or department you’re in? You need to know people. That means talking with people (even the C suite <gasp>) you may not know or have only said ‘hello – how’s it going?’ on the elevator a few times. So, down some liquid courage and network like a boss…and don’t forget to follow-up.

Know Your Number

No, we’re not talking about your cell. Know how many drinks you can have before you lose your filter. Bring a mini marker if you have to write on your own hand how many you’ve had. Don’t go over the limit unless you’re looking to get fired or have an awkward conversation with HR the following day.

Know When and How to Say Goodbye

Leave before the DJ stops spinning those MP3s. Make a graceful exit and say goodbye to old and new friends alike. This will avoid awkward goodbyes and any harsh fluorescent lighting.

The Family/In-Laws Party Survival Guide

Gather Pre-Party Intel

You will have to make an appearance at a family party. You are related by blood. That generally still means something. But that also means you know who to avoid and the best way to prep is to ask you mother who will be there. This will give you a chance to get answers prepped for the same three questions you’ve been answering since middle school.

Know Your Allies

If you have siblings hopefully you can rely on them to save you from awkward conversations with your weird aunt/uncle. If not, master the art of saying, “I’m really sorry, I have to use the bathroom” mid-sentence.

What’s the Food Situation

Would you rather eat pancakes of a diner’s floor than suffer through another meatloaf? Best to load up before the party and ‘sample’ the available food to avoid offending anyone.

Mess with People

There’s no better time to start rumors than with family. Have fun scaring the bejeezus out of your grandparents by telling them you are dropping out of college to explore alternative medicine in Cambodia. Or ask your aunt if it would be cool to have her face tattooed on your body. Have some fun. Control your own narrative!

Free Laundry

Don’t forget to get a few free loads of laundry out of your parents. Clean clothes just smell nicer at home.