5 Tips for Attending a Holiday Party

With numerous invitations to parties filling up your calendar, the holidays can be a busy time of year. Now consider what it's like to be the host! The art and etiquette of attending a holiday party can be challenging even for a social butterfly, but with a few simple pointers, you can gracefully navigate through the season.

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Be a great guest with these tips for attending holiday parties: 

  • Ask your host if you can bring anything. There is a high probability that they will decline, but it is always good holiday party etiquette to ask. If they accept, ask your host what they recommend you bring, what they need, and what the other guests have already agreed to contribute to avoid arriving with a duplicate dish.
  • Make sure to wear appropriate attire. While most holiday gatherings with family tend to be very casual, it is good to find out the standard dress code if you are visiting another family, going to a Christmas cocktail party, or a work holiday party. If you can’t find out that information from the host, the standard holiday party advice is that it is always safer to dress on the nicer side. Women can use smart accessories such as jewelry, scarves, and clutches to easily dress up or dress down an outfit. For men, a button-down shirt and khaki or chino pants will always look put together.
  • Be clear on the important details. While the holidays are all about celebrating with friends and family, make sure you know what arrangements your hosts have made for their event so that you do not risk overstepping any boundaries. If invited to a cocktail party, for example, inquire beforehand whether children or other family members are also invited. It is also a good idea to find directions for where you are going ahead of time, especially if it is a new location.
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  • Bring a gift for your host. When attending a holiday party hosted by a friend or family member, you should always bring a gift for the host. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant, just something that shows you are appreciative. Some ideas include a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, or even some homemade bread or cookies. If you’ll be attending a lot of events during the holiday season, buy a few traditional hostess gifts, tie each one with a pretty ribbon, and put them in the trunk of your car. That way you’ll be prepared wherever you go.
  • Consider gifts for the kids. While the party you're attending may not include a gift exchange, if the hosts' children will be in attendance, you'll be their favorite guest if you plan ahead and bring them a gift. There are some great gift guides out there that'll help you pick one suitable for any age!
  • Be on your best behavior. Being around new people, relatives, or co-workers can be stressful at times, but it is important to keep your cool and be a pleasant guest. This is especially crucial if you are attending a work holiday party. Other holiday party tips are to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum, be aware of your surroundings (i.e. don't use inappropriate language around kids, etc), and try to have conversations with new people. If you see someone who looks uncomfortable, make a new friend!
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  • Be helpful! While at the party, offer to help the host put out food, clean up, take out the trash, etc. Many times they will decline, but even if they do it is always good to be mindful to clean up any mess that you might make personally.
Always remember that you want to leave the host of any holiday party thinking that you were a wonderful guest to have! Learning the right holiday party etiquette can ensure that the joy and cheer of the season remains happy for all.
Ready to plan your own holiday party? Get started with one of these beautiful, free Christmas invitations!

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