Holiday season is officially here—and that means party time! But before you start dipping into the eggnog, we’ve got to have a chat. Holiday events are notorious for awkward conversations, party fouls, and bad etiquette…and no one wants to be “that guy” who people whisper about for years to come.
Luckily, your friends here at Elegant Event Entertainment have years of experience making sure holiday events are a success, and we’ve got your back. Follow our advice below to ensure you have fun and keep it classy.
1. Know your crowd
Feel the need to talk about religion, politics, or other hot-button topics? Make sure you have sympathetic ears, or your get together could take a dramatic turn. There’s no harm in a lively, good-natured debate, but we have to be honest with ourselves: these debates rarely remain good-natured. And a vocal difference of opinion can cast a pall on the festivities.
Holiday game plan: be the bigger person. There will be plenty of time after the holidays to push against antiquated views, so table it for now and instead focus on chatting about the latest football game or unseasonably warm weather.
2. Know your limits
We’re all about a little extra decadence and indulgence over the holidays, but make sure you’re not hitting the hot toddies too hard, particularly at business events. Too much alcohol not only guarantees a rough morning the following day, the lack of inhibition could also mean mouthing off to your boss, getting too friendly with a coworker, or even taking a nosedive onto the appetizer bar. Stay sober and you can laugh at others mishaps instead!
Holiday game plan: be responsible (and just drink at home). Stick to a drink maximum that will leave you cheerful but still in control. Here are a couple great tricks if you prefer to be a covert teetotaler: take a trip to the restroom, dump out the contents of your Budweiser and refill it with water—or request a virgin cocktail that looks like the real thing at the bar, such as an Arizona Sunset, sans rum.
3. Never arrive empty handed
Whether you’re invited to a formal dinner party or are just crashing your mom’s traditional feast, bringing a small gift is a great way to say “thank you.” We know the rules of etiquette have evolved over time, but arriving empty handed is still a faux pas—and your host or hostess will love a little token of your appreciation.
Holiday game plan: be a gracious guest. Flowers or wine are traditional favorites, though you can shake things up with a funny gift or handmade thank you card.
4. Leave Fido at home
Even if your furry BFF goes everywhere with you or you’re hitting up the party of a dear friend who loves your pooch, holiday events simply are not the best place for pets. Not only may other guests have allergies or animal fears, it can also be a very stressful situation for your pup to be out of their regular environment and among loud strangers.
Holiday game plan: fly solo. If your dog can’t be left alone for long periods or you feel bad for how much time you’ve spent away from the house over the holidays, book a pet sitter or plan a doggy slumber party with a friend or family member.
5. Respect those making magic happen
From caterers and servers to the party planner and DJ, these are the folks who are working hard to make sure you and other guests have an amazing time. So if you encounter a sullen staff member at an event, consider getting in the holiday spirit and offering a kind word instead of reporting them to the event planners. And while you may really want to hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”, if you’re at an event with a professional DJ, don’t attempt to take charge of the playlist (especially if you didn’t follow tip #2!).
Holiday game plan: have fun & relax. The best part of attending someone else’s event or dinner party is that you don’t have to do any work! Sit back and enjoy—and remember that your opinion about event specifics is likely unnecessary.
Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, have fun, be safe, and remember the rules!