The floors are messy from all of your favorite people gathering in one room. The dishes are dirty from yummy appetizers and good wine. The trash bins, stomachs and hearts are all so, so full. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
The holidays are without a doubt the busiest time of the year.
Between company holiday parties, cocktail hours with your girlfriends, white elephant gift exchanges and dinner parties— the calendar gets all jumbled like last year’s Christmas lights.
While mingling at these festivities is fun, hosting them can be a whirlwind. I think people often overlook the time and planning that goes in to parties (big and small). Especially around this time of year, remembering party etiquette is major. I’d like to think that after 14-odd-years of partying, I’ve become a bit of a master, and now that I’m getting older I pride myself on being more knowledgeable in “sophisticated” soiree-ing.
So, without further ado, here is a quick holiday partying 101.
1) Always offer to bring something. Since the party planner has already spent a lot of time, energy and pennies on this shindig, offering to contribute money or bring a dish or cocktail is the right thing to do. The host will likely respectfully decline— because, ya know, hostess with the mostest— but you should always, always offer.
2) Never show up empty handed. If said host declines your offer to contribute to the party, bring something anyway. You should absolutely, under no circumstances, show up empty handed. If it’s a special party, I would recommend bringing a hostess gift— something small that says thank you for opening up your home. But at the very least you should bring a bottle of wine to share with the host and his or her guests.
3) Once you’re there and settled, offer to help. Some people are good about this, others are not. Generally, a seasoned host will have everything done and ready by the time the guests arrive, but you should offer to help regardless. Whether it’s to help set the table, refill drinks, or something as small as lighting any forgotten candles, I can guarantee it will not go unnoticed by your stressed-out friend.
4) If there’s a theme, go with it. If there’s a theme, there’s a reason, and the host is probably pretty excited about it. Dress up, show up and participate.
5) Be respectful. This almost goes without saying, but do not get sloshed at a small, intimate gathering. Know your audience and respect the host(s) and the guests. Don’t be that girl (or boy) that the host is cleaning up after the next morning.
6) Never take home what you brought to the party. This one bugs me, big time. If you bring a bottle of wine to a party, and it’s unopened by the time you leave, that is not an invitation to take it home with you. Leave it. That bottle of wine, or spinach dip, that you brought to share has just become a hostess gift, and it’s not yours to take back.