Xmas Gifts - Parties at Work and Working at Christmas

Gifts are flooding the office, your boss invites you to the company's Xmas celebration, colleagues are issuing about who can go on vacation, when. ‘Tis the topic every year at year's end. What first seems to be something "easy" or "normal" can easily come a faux. Can it be a sin to receive a gift from a good customer wishing to express his thanks for faithful service? Having a drink too many on the Xmas party will surely leave a bad impression. Obeying a few simple and easy rules, can enhance your career and foster a good relationship among colleagues.


Receiving Gifts

A bottle of wine, a calendar: Lots of such gifts arrive at German offices around this time of the year. May you really accept a gift from a customer? The best is do not accept any personal gifts from any customers. Even the notorious bottle of wine can lead to a problem. But accepting a pen or a key fob will not constitute a problem because they have virtually no value. Whoever receives an expensive bouquet of candy acts wisely when these are shared among other colleagues. Goods with a value significantly below € 20 are typically no problem. A good workaround this problem could be to have your company organize a drawing "tombola" (also called "yulklapp") where all such gifts are collected and randomly redistributed. Never receive gifts at your home address! The relation to your job can be easily established and the suspicion automatically arises that you are being rewarded for some kind of "crooked" promise. Once that suspicion starts, you will have a tough time to show your innocence. If you personally received a very expensive gift which you consider as absolutely unreasonable. Then better return it with a polite letter. Bigger companies will have "codes of conduct", when in doubt check them out and when you are not sure then ask your next superior.

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However, problematic a presented gift may be, when you do make a present then make it personal! The more personal the gift the more esteem you will show. Of course, this is only possible in a few cases but then it will be even more effective. Christmas cards, whatever tradition may say are weak instruments for taking care of contacts because there are already so many and most persons only use standard phrases. When you really want to have an effective card then let be handmade and write something really personal. When you really want to make an impression with a card then send it on a more unusual date: Nikolaus (December 6), New Year's Eve, or when religious then for Easter. Such card will receive greater and longer attention.

Career Trap Xmas Party at Work

Many companies, big and small, have the tradition of an "official get together" for Christmas. It will be officially declared as "employees assembly" and this will make your presence mandatory. Missing the "assembly" is not only just like taking an extra day off without permission but can affect career chances. Cohesion inside the company is one of the main intentions of such party. Whoever demonstrates his or her interest in the company with absence snubs colleagues and superiors.

Be merry, be happy - and don't loose your wits in drink. When you seriously misbehave at the party, you can reckon to have an admonishment on your desk first thing next morning. Do "make friends" but avoid "plump offers for Du". When a colleague does get drunk, better not gossip it around the company the next day.

The dress code is simple: quiet and groomed but not flirty and striking. Don't nag anybody but do try to raise the spirits of all at the event.

Networking Made Easy

It might be a good idea not cling to your department all the time. Use this assembly also to contact and network with colleagues working in different areas. Use this time to introduce yourself and address issues how to enhance joint performance.


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