Holidays, friends and family all go together to form the perfect formula for a great time. The holidays are a time for parties and informal gatherings. You will probably receive many party invitations this season and will show up for every one. Have you ever wondered what kind of guest you are? Do you do all the right things? What is expected of a guest at a party? The most important thing is etiquette. How is your behavior affecting everyone else?
Holiday dinners are usually made up of many generations or groups of long time friends. Everyone is gathered together to see each other and often this will be the only time each year everyone can get together. Make sure that you take this opportunity to talk to everyone. Don’t sit with your cell phone glued to your ear, or with your nose stuck to the TV. Spend your time visiting with guests, paying particular attention to the elders at your gathering.
Dress for the occasion. If this is to be a nice sit down dinner, dress appropriately. You don’t have to wear jeans to everything. Your host has put a lot of effort into your meal, put some effort into dressing for the occasion. Unless the host specifies it, a suit is not necessary, but a nice dress or a pair of dress pants and shirt will show that you put some thought into your preparation as well.
If your invitation is specific to you, don’t show up with an extra person. If your invitation recommends a guest, bring only one. Often times seating will be planned in advance and extra seating may not be available at the last moment.
If the invitation says 7 show up at 7:10. It is never a good idea to show up early, even if it is a family gathering. The host is running around using every minute to prepare. No one likes the early arrival during this time. It is equally important not to be late. A great deal of time has gone into preparation and timing is vital. The host expects guests to arrive between 7:00 and 7:15.
Do not take food to a dinner party unless you have discussed with the party giver what you should bring. Your contribution may not fit well with the menu. Take your dish home…not the leftovers.
Do not eat until the host has said grace, or has begun eating his/her self. It is embarrassing to be caught with a mouthful and the host asks you to say grace.
Try some of everything. Each person has put a great deal of work into the meal and you should politely show your appreciation by tasting each dish.
Do not stack the china unless the host/hostess asks you to. Holiday dinners are when the good china comes out and the host may not want chips in her best plates. Ask if you can assist, but wait for instructions. Always ask before the event if there is anything you can do to help, both before and after the meal.
Family members don’t send thank you notes back and forth, however, non family members should always send a note of appreciation for the meal.
Don’t bring up uncomfortable conversation at the table. Stick with lighthearted conversation. This is not the time for the discussion about someone’s bad habits or your ex partner.
If you will be taking a bottle of wine do not expect the host to open it at the dinner. This is a gift for the party giver. They will open it when they wish. Don’t want to take wine? Flowers are a nice gift, as well as gourmet coffees.
Enjoy every minute and stay on your best behavior!