It’s that special time of year when the office hosts annual holiday gatherings. If your job isn’t going all out for a holiday party, they are more than likely offering an office potluck. While coming together may boost morale in the workplace, some people are more particular about what they eat. Some people have diet restrictions or preferences. If you find yourself needing to find the best way to decline the Christmas office potluck invitation, here’s a guide on how to gracefully get out of it without ruining the holiday spirit.

Express Gratitude

Begin your response with a sincere expression of gratitude for the invitation. Acknowledge the effort and thoughtfulness that goes into organizing such events, making it clear that you genuinely appreciate the initiative.

Example: “Thank you so much for the kind invitation to the Christmas office potluck. I truly appreciate the effort that goes into organizing these festive gatherings.”

Provide a Genuine Reason

Although it’s not mandatory to provide a detailed explanation, offering a brief, genuine reason for declining can help soften the decline. Whether it’s personal commitments, dietary restrictions, or even a hectic schedule, people generally understand when there’s a legitimate reason.

Example: “Unfortunately, due to some prior commitments, I won’t be able to join this year’s potluck. I hope everyone has a fantastic time, and I’ll be there in spirit!”

Offer an Alternative Contribution

If you still want to contribute to the event in some way, consider offering an alternative. Suggest bringing in store-bought treats or snacks as a way to participate without committing to a homemade dish.

Example: “While I won’t be able to prepare a dish, I’d be more than happy to bring in some delicious desserts or snacks to share with the team. Let me know if that would be helpful!”

Express Regret and Enthusiasm

Conclude your response by expressing regret for missing out on the event and genuine enthusiasm for the festivities. Make it clear that your decision is not a reflection of your feelings towards the team or the celebration itself.

Example: “I’m really sorry to miss out on the potluck this year, but I’m sure it will be an amazing event. Wishing everyone a fantastic time filled with good food, laughter, and holiday cheer!”

Follow Up Personally

Consider following up with the event organizer or a colleague who is spearheading the potluck. A personal touch, such as a quick chat or a brief email, can further emphasize your appreciation for the invitation and ensure that there are no misunderstandings.

Example: “I wanted to touch base personally and express my gratitude for the potluck invitation. Although I won’t be able to attend, I’m looking forward to hearing all about the wonderful time everyone had. Thank you for including me!”