The infamous office party is often viewed with impending doom. It's reputation often precedes itself and has resulted in the end of many a career. How can the trappings of the evil office party be avoided? Here are some party planning and etiquette tips that hopefully will help you survive. 


* Set a date and time for the office party that is convenient for all involved. Try not to make it on a date when there is other important business commitments. 

* Select an alternative location for the party if it is decided not to have the party at the office. 

* Determine how the office party will be financed and/or sponsored. 

* Choose a party theme. This can be helpful in deciding food choices and atmosphere. 

* Send out a memo at least three weeks in advance. If the party is being held away from the office, send out invitations at least three weeks in advance. Make sure a RSVP date is included on the invitation. 

* Plan some activities for the party (e.g. games, entertainment, gift giving, etc.). 

* Have breakfast or lunch instead of an evening office party. This can allow employees to include their families in the festivities. 

* Have a brunch in a restaurant instead of an on-premise office party. Allow for dancing following the meal. 

* Have the employees to donate gifts to a charitable organization and collect these at the party instead of exchanging gifts. 

* Try an indoor carnival with proceeds going to a charity. 

* Plan a volunteer activity with a local charity. 

* Have employees display their talent through funny skits and/or musical selections. 

* Have the employees decide whether or not they want to have a party or donate the money that would be used for the party to a charitable organization instead. 

* If there is an evening party planned and alcohol is served, make sure that arrangements are made for taxis to take people home or arrange a designated driver system. 

* Make sure there is enough help for the party. If catered, determine what assistance will be needed. 

* Make sure there are plenty of alternative, non-alcoholic beverages available. 

* Because remembering guests and spouses names is difficult, festive nametags should be provided to help reduce the faux pas of forgetting names. 

* If the party is being held in a non-smoking building, make sure to make accommodations for smokers. 

* Consider making two punch bowls, one with alcohol and one without alcohol. Keep the non-alcohol bowl constantly full. 

* Have a potluck party making a sign-up list of what is needed to prevent duplications. 

Above all else, HAVE FUN!