5 Tips On How To Be On The “Best Guest” List At A Holiday Party


Soon the holiday party invitations will be pouring in. You don’t want to be the talk of the party in a negative way, so here are a few tips to help guide you through this hectic holiday season.

You receive an invitation to a holiday party, now what? Let’s play the “if” game.
– If you know for sure that you will be attending the party, respond within one or two days after receiving the invite.
– If you are unsure about going, say no. It is better to give the host an answer right away instead of no response at all. If you change your mind, or your plans change, check in with the host at least a week prior to the party to make sure there is still room for you to attend.
– If you only have enough time to make an appearance, make sure that you stay for at least 30 minutes. If you can only stay for 5 to 10 minutes, it would be more polite to not go.
– If you replied yes, but now you can’t go. Let your host know immediately. A phone call is the best solution, but if that is not possible, send a text. As a last resort to make contact, send the host an email. Keep the explanation short. Let them know that you are unable to make it now, and that you are very sorry to miss it.

When should I arrive, and what do I bring to the holiday party?

Make sure you never arrive early for a party unless you ask the host if they need any help before the party begins. Otherwise, it makes it very difficult for a host to entertain you while adding the finishing touches. A good time to arrive is around 15 minutes after the start time indicated on the invitation. If you are going to be over an hour late, let the host know in advance.

Bring along a small gift for your host. Carla McDonald from the blog The Salonniere suggests that you should bring something a little different. For example, Instead of flowers, bring your host a potted herb plant with a note that says, “Always a great Thyme”. Another unique idea suggested by Michelle Bachman and Seri Kertzner from Little Miss Party, is to put together a morning-after kit. In a neatly wrapped newspaper, combine the following items: pancake mix, two mugs, ground coffee, and Advil. Last, but certainly not least, give the host a cleaning gift certificate from Neatly Clean along with a note saying, “We always enjoy your holiday parties! You worked so hard preparing for such a fun night. We want you to take a break, and let someone else handle the dirty work.”

What if I don’t know anyone? How do I start a good conversation?

Sometimes you get invited to a holiday party and you don’t know anyone. Always walk in with a smile, your arms relaxed (not crossed), and an open mind. Keeping your arms uncrossed will make you appear more approachable. Try finding a group of three or more to join. If you don’t know how to start a conversation, begin by making a statement about the party. “Isn’t the food amazing? Don’t you think they did a great job on the decorations?” If you need more topics to discuss, ask the person questions like: “What are your holiday plans? What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?” Most people love talking about themselves, and like to recommend interests that they are passionate about. They will leave the conversation feeling good about themselves, which in turn, will make them feel good about you.

How do I exit the holiday party properly?

Don’t let your goodbye drag out too long. Let your host know you had a great time, and that you are sorry you have to leave so soon. Let them know that you can’t wait until you get together again.
If you need to leave earlier than everyone else, make sure that you let the host know earlier in the evening that you only have up to a certain time before you have to go. This will help later on when you need to leave at that time. You also don’t want to be the last person to leave the party. Do not apologize for staying too long. You don’t want the host to feel like they have to say “No, please stay!” Just thank the host and leave.

Everyone has that friend or family member that sneaks off without saying goodbye. This is called “Ghosting.” According to the Lizzie Post from Awesome Etiquette, Ghosting is never OK. The only time that you can possibly do this is at a large gathering where you won’t be missed, or where the host will ask you to stay for another drink.

Follow these guidelines to make each holiday party a huge success! Your host will definitely add you to Santa’s “Nice List.”

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