You’ve spent years hosting parties. You’re used to doing most (if not all) of the work and making sure everyone is happy and everything runs smoothly. You love it—and you’re really very good at it!
But this year, for once, you suddenly find the roles reversed where you’re going to be attending a holiday party as a guest instead of hosting one. Between us, we know this may take you out of your comfort zone a bit…or a lot. Yes, it does take some work to be a good guest at a party. But to help you get through this holiday season with ease and grace, we’ve assembled a few tips for you. We hope they help. And we hope you have a fabulous time. It’s a party, after all. Have fun and enjoy!
- RSVP – RSVP, which stands for Répondez S’il Vous Plaît (French for “please respond”), means exactly that: respond. And be sure to respond before the deadline on your invitation, not after. It’s ok to send a text or Facebook reply, but it’s absolutely not ok to pull a “no-show.”
- Contribute – Making a courtesy call to the hostess ahead of time is just that: courteous. Offer to bring an appetizer, salad, or dessert. If the hostess is firm about having the meal under control, then offer to bring wine, Champagne, or a centerpiece. If rebuffed again, be sure to just quietly bring a nice hostess gift, such as a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, or a jar or artisanal preserves.
- Arrive on Time – Even if you’re tempted to arrive early, don’t. The hostess may still need time for last-minute preprarations. Instead, plan to arrive within 15 minutes of the invited time. If you’re right on time but no one else has arrived yet, offer to help. However, if you’re running late, get lost, or have an emergency, be sure to call immediately and explain.
- Converse & Enjoy – Get into the party spirit by smiling, mingling, and conversing with the other guests. It’s also important to be a good listener. However, don’t dominate the conversations, especially with your problems, and avoid all bad language, off-color jokes, and controversial topics. Instead of asking overly personal questions (which is a huge no-no), ask more neutral questions instead, such as “How do you know the host?”
- Eat & Drink Responsibly – Don’t come to the party famished and ready to devour everything in sight. If hors d’oeuvres are being passed, don’t heap your plate with them. Absolutely no double dipping! And of course, do NOT become inebriated.
- Help Clean Up – Before leaving the party, offer to do the dishes. If the hostess refuses, at the very least, stack dirty plates, throw out empty bottles, and clean up any huge messes.
- Don’t Overstay – When you see the party starting to wind down and conversations hitting a lag, it’s time to go. Be sure to genuinely compliment the hostess when saying your goodbyes.
- Send a Thank You Note – Within a few days of the party, always send a note of thanks to the hostess. And despite what your grandmother told you, a Thank You eCard is perfectly fine!