NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — After working your tail off all year long, your office holiday party may seem like the perfect opportunity to let loose finally. But as you enjoy free booze on the company's tab and chat up that hottie in the accounting department, just remember that any questionable behavior could affect your professional reputation and future career prospects. Of course, it's still possible to have fun and mingle without ending up the topic of water cooler gossip the next day. Here are 10 tips from professional etiquette gurus on how to conduct yourself well as you party the night away.

Do: Arrive and Leave on Time

Office holiday parties are still work events, so always arrive on time to make a good impression. "Strolling in when the party is half over shows disrespect for the party as well as for those attending it," says Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and director of The Etiquette School of New York in Manhattan.

Likewise, don't make a run for the door the first second you get the chance. "Whether the office party is a giant gala or just a get-together at a bar, you have to show respect and not constantly look at your watch to leave," says Richie Frieman, a manners and etiquette author known as " Modern Manners Guy " who recently penned the book REPLY ALL ... And Other Ways to Tank Your Career (St. Martin's Press).

Don't: Only Talk to Your Work Friends

While we're not suggesting that you to ditch your best officemates at the party, it's a good idea to branch out and mingle with co-workers you don't see on a regular basis.

"The office holiday party is the time of year where everyone is friendlier and much easier to approach, so take full advantage of the office cheer," says Frieman. "This is not the time to stick to the three people you know the most and talk about the same things you do every day. Yes, have fun with them, but make an effort to meet and talk to new people, because you never know how this discussion can help you in the long run."

Do: Dress Appropriately

When you attend an office holiday celebration, avoid wearing anything too sexy or flashy, and instead choose conservative clothing.

"No plunging necklines, short skirts or clingy fabrics," says Napier-Fitzpatrick.

That being said, it's still a good idea to put thought into your outfit. "Your appearance is key, and you should take the event seriously," says Frieman. "If anything, use this to dress up even more so than normal."

Don't: Drink Too Much

We know, the open bar can be mighty tempting, but it's best to keep your intake of alcoholic beverages in check. After all, you don't want to be that guy who embarrasses himself in front of the whole staff after throwing back one too many.