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Guest Relations: How To Party Properly This Holiday Season

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

I recently attended a party that I presume will kick off the festivities for the season. Sure it was a child’s birthday party, but it was the first of, as I look at my calendar, an extensive array of affairs DH and I are eagerly looking forward to hosting and attending.

And, while I’m always excited about get togethers and holiday parties, people never cease to amaze me when it comes to social graces and etiquette. So, I am writing this with these people in mind.

Being a guest means more than just being put on an invite list and show up at a party. Here are a few pointers to help ensure YOU don’t commit some of the most common pet peeves.

1. b>In a timely fashion: While it’s quite fashionable to be “fashionably” late, late has its limitations. According to experts, a party that centers around a meal/sit-down dinner means showing up on time, within 10 to 15 minutes (unless you’ve volunteered to show up early and help the host). A “cocktail” party gives you a little more leeway, but it’s best to show up within the hour (unless you’ve otherwise cleared it with your host).

2. Not so hot hostess gifts: While every woman loves flowers, chances are your host/hostess is busy and wont’ have time to display your fragrant florals unless they are already in a vase. Bringing your own food, unless you’ve been asked to, is another “no-no”, especially at a sit-down dinner.

3. Go For Gifts That Keep On Giving: Present your hosts with a “holiday” gift that has a “shelf-life” beyond the holidays. Think wine and other enjoyable beverages such as (exotic) coffees, teas, ornaments, collectibles, books, or magazines. But, remember, this season is all about going “green” so you may want to consider wrapping gifts in fabrics made of natural fibers, placing wine bottles in a wool sack, coffees, teas or beauty products in a wicker basket.

4. Mind Your Manners: A good guest does no only show up (with a gift, of course) to eat, mix and mingle. In fact, they are cautious not to eat too much or tell embarrassing stories or jokes. Instead, he or she will offer to help out the host, perhaps even with some of the clean up. And, regardless of if the host accepts your help or prefers to do things in her/his own time, and in her/his own way, you should always call or send a note to say thanks the next day.

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