In this post, I’m talking all about holiday party survival tips for lawyers. As I get ready to attend another one tonight, I thought I’d write a post on everything I do to prepare for, attend and ultimately survive lawyer holiday parties.
1. Don't overthink the lawyer holiday party.
I survive lawyer holiday parties by not overthinking holiday parties and thinking on the bright side.
I have to go to it, no matter what (because it’s a good thing to do and I’m in a leadership position at the firm), so I’m not going to resist or be mad that I have to attend. I’m going to accept it.
I’m not going to stress about who might be at my table because that’s not in my control (unless you’re the lawyer holiday party organizer). I have no control over who I will be sitting with for dinner, so I’m just going to make the best of it.
I think about all the good things about lawyer holiday parties. At mine tonight, we get free wine and cocktails, we will get to eat a 6 course dinner overlooking a golf course, we get a free Christmas ornament and I have nothing to complain about. Although I’d probably much rather be in my sweatpants, having a glass of wine at home on my couch and watching a Christmas Hallmark movie, complaining about going to the party or dreading attending doesn’t make the party go away. I still have to go.
If you’re worried about healthy eating at the holiday party, check out this post on Healthy Eating: Holiday Party Survival Guide.
Actionable tip: Think of all the positive things that we’re so privileged and fortunate to have. As my dad says to me sometimes, “don’t be that girl”.
2. Figure out & try on what you're going to wear to the holiday party early on.
I made this mistake 2 years ago when I thought I had picked out exactly what dress I was going to wear to one of the Christmas parties. I had picked out the dress but didn’t try it on. Much to my disappointment, when I put that dress out a couple minutes before we had to leave the house, it didn’t fit properly.
It fit but I had gained some weight in my hips/thigh area (which is usually where I hold much of my extra weight) and the dress was visibly pulling on each side. I felt super uncomfortable, but I wasn’t prepared to change because we were already running late and I couldn’t think of any other dress that I could wear fast enough. So, as expected, I was very uncomfortable for the whole night thinking that all anyone could see was the pulling in my dress and that my hips don’t lie. 🤦♀️
This year, I’m doing something I’ve never done before, I’m wearing the same dress I wore last year. At first, I thought I would have to buy a new dress and couldn’t possibly wear the same dress I wore last year, BUT I don’t care. I love the dress, it’s classic, I get lots of compliments on it and best of all comfortable for a 6 course meal (there’s room haha) and makes ME FEEL good. Plus, there will be new people at this year’s party who have not seen this dress and others won’t remember what I wore last year so, that’s my plan tonight.
My advice: plan your outfit, shoes, purse and jewelry and how you’re going to get to the lawyer holiday party in advance. Also, don’t forgot to try everything on to make sure it fits and most of all makes YOU feel comfortable. 💕
3. Know the details of the holiday party venue and start time early on.
I don’t know why, but there is nothing more that stresses me out than having events in my calendar that don’t have the exact address of where I’m going, the time of the event and the invitation in the body of the invite.
If you’re like me, I suggest putting the event details in your calendar so you know:
- where you’re going, and map out how far the venue is from where you live, so you can make sure you leave yourself enough time. You don’t want to be the first person at the event, but you also don’t want to be the last one who comes in when everyone is already sitting down for dinner. Also, check if the event is in a specific room or hall in the venue.
- know what time cocktail hour is at and what time dinner will be served.
I find that knowing this information eases some of my discomfort when I know I’m going to a lawyer holiday party.
4. Prepare your elevator pitch for the lawyer holiday party.
5. Get a rundown of who will be attending the holiday party.
6. Have a cheat sheet of questions you can ask people at the holiday party.
One thing that’s great about lawyer holiday parties or events during the Christmas season, is the number of easy discussion topics that are available to you.
Because of the time of year, you can ask almost anyone you meet:
- what their plans are for Christmas,
- whether they are going away for Christmas or staying in town,
- whether their family is in town or lives elsewhere, and
- whether they have started or completed their Christmas shopping.
Actionable tip: Ask open-ended questions to keep people talking, and if you’re actively listening, you can ask follow-up questions from a place of curiosity.
7. Take a conservative approach to your outfit and drinking at the holiday party.
If you’ve read my other post on 8 Ways to Make Yourself Invaluable at Work, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of being conservative in the workplace. If you want to know what I mean, you can read that post here.
You also then shouldn’t be surprised that I think you should take a conservative approach to the outfit you wear to the lawyer holiday party and how much free alcohol you drink at the lawyer holiday party.
Actionable tip: Usually lawyer holiday parties have open bars, which means you actually have to exercise willpower when it comes to those holiday cocktails. I personally have a 2 drink maximum when I attend these events. Consider if you need one too.
- Don’t overthink the lawyer holiday party.
- Figure out & try on what you’re going to wear to the holiday party early on.
- Know the details of the holiday party venue and start time early on.
- Prepare your elevator pitch for the lawyer holiday party.
- Get a rundown of who will be attending the holiday party.
- Have a cheat sheet of questions you can ask people at the holiday party.
- Take a conservative approach to your outfit and drinking at the holiday party.