Seven Rules for Holiday Parties on the Hill

Now that the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping, it’s everyone’s favorite time on the Hill: the Holiday season! Lots of time off, closed offices, and most importantly, free happy hours & receptions. Here are Hill Betch’s Seven Rules for Holiday Parties on the Hill:

1. RSVP to everything. Everything!

Even if you can’t make it, you’ll be happy you RSVP’d to Djbouti’s holiday party when you find out U2 is randomly making an appearance. (No, this isn’t happening. But you never know.) Pro-tip: If you weren’t invited, that’s okay, it’s DC. But do introduce yourself to the host/staffer, give them your card, thank them for allowing you to join, and make a good impression. And check this Heard on The Hill flow chart if you need a visual aide.

2. Free alcohol is abundant…

…and you should enjoy it, responsibly, and like an adult. Repeat after me, “I will not do shots at Holiday parties.”

3. For the love of the Republic, party hop!

Do not, under any circumstances, spend more than one hour at any single event. See more people, do that whole “networking” thing. And you never know which party will have better food, entertainment, or party favors until you get there. You may even meet the person who wants to give you your dream job! Tis’ the season after all.

4. Situation awareness people!

This is key! Sure, there’s tons of free food, libations, people to schmooze with, crushes to turn into future blocked numbers, but be aware of your surroundings! Bi-partisan Congressional staff, Administration officials, Members of Congress, lobbyists, and [gasp] media folks all around.  You don’t want to run into the Secretary of Defense while you’re totally sauced and cause a national incident, or your boss to read you were in Politico Influence “spotted” being asked to leave the US Chamber party. #LockItUp 

5. Eat!

Food is your friend – eat early and often, and it’s free. Don’t be a rookie. You’ll never make it from the Chamber party to the NAM party if you don’t maintain. 

6. Tonight is not that night.

You think you’re putting out the vibe at that Senate scheduler you met last week? She thinks you smell like crab cakes and you should have called it a night after the Hay Adams party. Tonight’s not the night to tell your crush you’re into them, or to finally make a move on that tall rugged attorney who’s been nice to you at work lately. Plus, you could do without that awkward 6:30am text, and the more awkward 9:30am staff meeting. Walk away. 

7. Show up the next day. 

No matter how much fun you have, do not take the day off. Your Instagram selfies from the White House, and the fact that your boss saw you at the first two events of the evening, have already blown your cover. Don’t add fuel to the fire by making people wonder. Clean yourself up, look extra fly in fact, and drag your ass to the office. Seeing you put together and not struggling the next day will put a rest to any office chatter. And yes, can take a long lunch. 

Good luck out there, and stay classy this holiday season! 

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