Ah, the holiday season. This is the time that you’re expected to spend reflecting on your year and celebrating with your loved ones. Unfortunately, you have a week and a half till then working on that final presentation and report. To create a false sense of community and spread the “holiday cheer,” it’s now time for three dreaded words: company holiday party.

This might not be everyone’s experience. Maybe your holiday parties are enjoyable and you have a great time with your coworkers. But for those whose experience is less than positive, here are some guidelines that can help you get through it smoothly:

  1. Alcohol is not your friend. Now hear me out: if there are libations at your party, I would never suggest that you don’t partake in the merriment. I would suggest that you consider how too much alcohol can make any party awkward. If you’re the consumer, you can end up doing something you may regret. If you’re around a consumer, you may be trapped in a terrible conversation. Nothing kills the holiday spirit more than Abigail explaining that Trump “means well” in her drunken stupor. Let’s all drink in moderation.

  2. Keep small talk REALLY small. I wrote a piece about keeping talk to a minimum with your white coworkers, at least in a relaxed setting. This still holds true for me. Holiday parties open up doors to ice-breakers and idle chit-chat; which can open up doors to conversations you do not want to have. Moonwalk out of these situations with finesse.

  3. Stay silent about Santa. This may sound like an odd rule but you’d be surprised how many parent stories I’ve sat through about how they reveal to their kids that Santa isn’t real. First off, your kid is 12 years old. The magic has been dead and now you’re just lying to your child. Secondly, my silence is due to personal experience. I’ve always known that Santa didn’t exist. Primarily because my parents didn’t want a large, white man getting credit for gifts that they bought. Whether or not this is your experience as a minority, please take my advice and stay low on this one.

  4. What you celebrate is A-OK: This step is critical. Some coworkers don’t realize that Christmas isn’t the only holiday that you can celebrate. You can celebrate Hanukkah. Yes, Kwanzaa is a “real holiday.” You may not even celebrate anything during this time. No matter what you celebrate (or don’t), be confident in your celebration. Bring your holiday’s food amongst the Santa cookies. Mix your holiday’s songs amongst the Christmas classics. This is your time too — if you have to be there, you might as well celebrate in your way.

If you are a part of the “say no to co-workers” clique like I am, this whole event is very daunting. And while you don’t want to do the most, this is still an opportunity to get free food and drink. “Holiday cheer” might seem less than authentic when it’s encouraged by your job, but it does exist inside of everyone. With that, you can get through anything!

…except when you come back and everyone asks about your New Year’s Resolutions. Then you’re screwed.