Christmas Office Etiquette as Told by our Favourite TV Shows

Christmas Office Etiquette
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by Jessica Tabinor on

To ensure a happy and productive work environment, it’s essential to follow the unwritten rules of Christmas office etiquette. Doing the opposite can be bad for business (and Christmas spirit). Here are a few reminders of what to do and not do in the office this festive season from some of our favourite shows:

1. Don’t eat someone else’s food.

That festive sandwich was the only good thing going on in my life’ – Ross Geller, Friends



It’s not big, it’s not clever. Colleagues eating other people’s food is the UK’s no.1 office bugbear, guaranteed to foster sour grapes and tense atmospheres. Ross’s reaction is perfectly understandable, especially when we find out that it’s his boss who ate his sandwich. No matter your seniority, if it’s labelled don’t eat it. To add insult to injury, he threw half of it in the bin, moist maker and all! Argh! The injustice!

2. Do keep secret Santa … a secret

‘So Phyliss is basically saying, hey Michael, I only care about you a homemade oven mitt’s worth … I gave Ryan an iPod’ – Michael Scott, The US Office



Ranking high on the list of terrible workplace ideas if office secret Santa. It’s the time of the year where colleagues awkwardly give and receive gifts they don’t like from people they barely know.
As shown by Michael Scott, secret Santa gifts are well-intentioned but the odds of a recipient actually liking, needing or not being mildly offended by the gift are slim. Your workplace secret Santa won’t be a dramatic as a sit-com but hey, avoid the awkwardness and keep it quiet.

3. Don’t force Christmas on your co-workers

‘Every year I give Leslie the same Christmas gift I give everyone, a crisp $20 bill. And every year she gives me something thoughtful and personal. It makes me furious’ – Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation




Like Ron Swanson, not everyone is a Christmas fan. By forcing festivities on those who don’t want to get involved you can inadvertently alienate people. Keep in mind that not everyone celebrates the same holidays and even those who do might not celebrate them in the same ways. Don’t push people to celebrate in ways they’re not comfortable with.

4. Do remember those who work over Christmas

‘Statistically Christmas Eve is one of the worst nights to be on call’ – JD, Scrubs


​All over the world, people work over the festive period. In the UK alone 900,000 people work on Christmas Day, a jump of 5 per cent over the past three years. From emergency response workers to chefs and vicars to railway engineers, take time to appreciate and reflect on those who keep the country running over the festive period.


Bosses, co-workers and HR representatives, what’s your experience with Christmas office etiquette offenders? Let us know on Twitter @Morsongroup with the hashtag #XmasOfficeEtiquette.


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