Workplace Holiday Parties: You’ll Need These Independent Living Skills as an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Successful employment and sound independent living skills unquestionably go hand in hand—if we’re dressed noticeably sharp for work, if we have reliable transportation to and from the office, and if we are consistently on time and prepared for work meetings, we are setting ourselves up for maintaining and advancing in our career. These are the more obvious independent living skills that are work-applicable; what about the independent living skills on display during the holiday season? Wouldn’t it be wise to identify and fine-tune them ahead of time, ensuring they are ready to be confidently utilized during a workplace holiday party, get-together, or potluck?

I created a list of independent living skills routinely needed for holiday work parties, and I hope you’ll note additional skills to consider in the comments section.

Personal Care

  • If you’re heading to a work-related dinner or party, it’ll call for investigating and respecting the perhaps-unspoken dress code. If the party is at an upscale restaurant, elegant attire is obviously a must; if it’s an "ugly sweater" event, shop for or borrow a tacky holiday sweater; otherwise, ask coworkers what they plan to wear and choose an outfit at least as formal as what you hear. Most importantly, plan an outfit ahead of time to ensure it is not only appropriate to the formality of the event, but also well fitted, comfortable, clean, wrinkle-free, and passes a visual inspection from a friend or family member. Keep in mind many holiday party-goers modestly wear traditional holiday colors; some ladies choose to incorporate velvet or even add a bit of sparkle to their outfits. To help you choose an outfit, read about dressing fashionably as an individual who is blind or visually impaired.
  • Even ladies who don’t routinely wear makeup may opt to wear it for a formal or festive event. Read about applying makeup as a visually impaired person.

Kitchen Skills

Gift Giving

The torso of a man wearing a suit, holding gift wrapped box with a big red ribbon
  • Well in advance of the get-together, find out if the workplace community gives gifts to each other and/or if there is a gift exchange game or traditional "white elephant" game. If playing a traditional white elephant game, wrap a silly or infrequently used household item you already own. Otherwise, if you’re participating in a formal gift exchange, you’ll want to utilize the skills needed to shop as a visually impaired person.
  • When it comes to wrapping and labeling gifts, take some hints from the article, Gift Wrapping Organization.
  • If you’re presenting holiday cards to your coworkers, you can order personalized cards and deliver them as-is or simply sign a traditional holiday card with a bold marker or with your name in braille. If you’re feeling particularly crafty or want to create a conversation starter, you may also want to consider incorporating a braille design for a memorable touch. Paths of Literacy describes using braille to create holiday designs such as a tree or candy cane.

Party Tips

  • If you’ve received an invitation to a holiday gathering and you’re sweating, it’s important to accept the invitation and prepare for the party! Read the article to gather specific advice for preparing for a workplace party.
  • Try to socialize with a number of individuals and groups at the affair; ask a coworker or friend who is present, introduce yourself to new folks, ask questions, and look for common ground.
  • If your regular transportation is unavailable, plan your transportation to and from the event ahead of time. You may want to use Uber.

Take the time to prepare for the party—it’ll be a fantastic opportunity to connect with the employment team and bond with your coworkers.

Additional Resources

Roll the Final Credits: Recap of CareerConnect’s Employment Advice Adapted from Holiday Films

That’s a Wrap: Recap of the AFB’s Top 10 Holiday Hits for Career Minded Job Seekers who are Blind or Visually Impaired

That’s a Wrap: Recap of the AFB’s Top 10 Holiday Hits for Career Minded Job Seekers who are Blind or Visually Impaired