As we enter the holiday season and increasing numbers of associates switch on out of office automatic response emails, there are a few points to bear in mind when composing your own OOO message. Remember, your goal is to create an atmosphere of uncertainty about the appropriateness of contacting you, confusion about your whereabouts and an overall sense that the incoming request should be handled by someone else. As such, (1) vagueness is your friend ("I am out of the office" not "I am travelling for the holidays"), (2) exactitude is your enemy ("I will be unavailable during the week of December 21" not 'I will be out of the office from the afternoon of December 22 through the evening of December 25"), (3) happiness and excitement work against you ("Thank you for your understanding" not "Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year") and (4) others should be thrown directly under the bus whenever possible ("Please don't hesitate to reach out to my colleagues X, Y and Z who are all fully briefed on my matters" not "Please contact another member of our team").