Gosh, The holidays are such a blur. So many people, so many faces, so many shoes, so many orderves. Holiday parties, are a great way to expand your tangible social network. They provide a setting which allows one to interact with new faces; in a relatively controlled environment. The social niceties of "holiday" parties, and of course the reminder that your boss may be at the party help minimize seasonal drama. When I attend social functions, I make sure that I pack plenty of business cards.
Office Parties, and seasonal galleries are a great way to meet, and be reintroduced to familiar and new minds. I often find it challenging to keep all of the people I meet in categories. I may recognize some one; but may doubt the memoir of their acquaintance. I have two crucial memory enhancing party tricks.
The first: Play Cards, collect business/contact cards from the people you meet. Make little notes on the cards that can help enhance your memory. For example say you are talking to Jim from accounting, and you learn that he has a pet Labrador. Write that done on his "card." The next time you plan on seeing Jim review your card notes and be sure to impress with your fabulous memory.
The second: Repeat your name, loud and often. There is a mini grace period that seems to be shrinking for which it is acceptable to ask an acquaintance's name. You blanked, and chances are they have forgotten your name. The trick is to work your name into the conversation. This will prevent embarrassment on their end, and will likely lead to reciprocal name drop.
No one wants to be remembered as the jerk who never recognizes anyone. These party tricks help prevent that "ignorant jerk," being you.