‘Tis the season to grab the ugliest Christmas sweater that you can possibly find off the nearest clearance rack, the gaudier and fuzzier the better. Or, in contrast, maybe it’s time to dust off your tux or favorite formalwear. We all know that making a grand appearance at your company Christmas party is an important factor to be considered this holiday season. Decorations will be hung, gifts will be unwrapped, and bonus checks will potentially be unveiled, so you won’t want to miss this festive event. For those of you that are young professionals or new to your specific job or office environment, there are a few things to be noted about the infamous office Christmas party.

#1 – Don’t skip out. Although you may have plenty of other ways to spend your free time or rare evening off, this is an event that you need to really try and make. Employers and coworkers will be taking mental notes of who is there to partake in the activities and who chooses to miss out.

#2 – Participate. Despite your potential distaste for certain crowds or types of entertainment, you will find it in your best interest to be an active participant in the Christmas party festivities rather than just a wallflower. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the company of colleagues in a more relaxed atmosphere than you are usually afforded on a normal, hectic basis.

#3 – Mingle. As you know, maintaining a solid professional network is a key ingredient in gaining career growth and potential job leads in the future. With looming deadlines and a continuous pile of work on your desk, there is rarely the chance to take a longer look around the office and determine individuals that you have yet to meet or get to know. Working your way around the party and introducing yourself to fellow professionals will benefit you when future opportunities unfold.

#4 – Show gratitude. Regardless of who planned the party, the special events committee or the CEO himself, it is important to show your appreciation for the time and effort put into the occasion. A company that prepares a seasonal celebration for its employees reveals itself to be an organization that values others and their earned contribution.

#5 – Relax and enjoy. Even though parties or Christmas itself might not be your thing, try to soak in the enjoyment that is intended. Turn off your ever-crazy brain and commitment to task management and just be present in the relaxed atmosphere provided for you. Many professionals do not slow down often enough to utilize vacation days or partake in weekend excursions, and their work and focus suffers accordingly. So, do yourself a favor as this year of hard work comes to an end, and take that much needed break!