Holiday Party Etiquette

It’s time to review some basic etiquette skills for the sake of your reputation and professional future.  Trust me when I say I have experience with this (not providing any further details).  As we go over party etiquette, please think of how you can apply these skills to both your company holiday parties as well as family “get-to-gathers.”  Obviously, there would be some adjustment and some irrelevant information for one or the other, but generally, the same principles apply.  Here we go:

  • Everything in moderation--Remember, a lady and a gentleman, never draw attention to themselves.  This would include overindulging in our dress, eating, drinking, dancing, flirting or any other behavior that we can become the “center of attention.”  Think “CLASS,” think “HONOR,” think “DO I WANT TO BE THE STORY TOMORROW?”  With these things in mind, I think you’ll be fine.
  • Dress appropriate for the occasion.  The way we dress sends a message to those in attendance; how we feel about the occasion and how we value our time there.  Consider what message you want to send to your family, co-workers or even your boss.
  • Never ask if you can bring someone to the party unless the host included “...and guest,” on the invitation or personally told you to please feel free to bring along a friend with you.  This is a big NO, NO!!!!
  • Make sure we honor the host by being on time and leaving on time.  First rule of etiquette...BE ON TIME!
  • Be sure to thank the host who coordinated the party.  For family gatherings, it is very polite to take a gift to the host:  a plant, a book, a candle, a cookbook, etc.  Just something small, but something that shows the host you were thinking of them and appreciate their generosity in hosting the event.
  • If you’re the host, a few things to remember to make your guest feel comfortable are:
  1. Send invitations at least 3 weeks ahead of time (6 weeks if going to “out of town” guest)
  2. Include directions in the invitation
  3. Include the “dress” if a company gathering
  4. Inform guest if it is OK to bring a guest
  5. Be aware of community events that might affect attendance (LIKE THE TENNESSEE/FLORIDA GAME---HELLO!!!)
  6. It is the host’s responsibility to make sure that all your guest makes it home safely.  Meaning, if a guest has had too much alcohol to drink, make arrangements to get them home
  • Remember CONVERSATION ETIQUETTE.  OK People, now listen.  I’m not sure why this is an issue that we must discuss on a regular basis, but...I feel obligated for the sake of all our sensitive ears.  A few things to remember when speaking to others, especially at holiday functions (remember, The Happy Times), are:
  1. Keep the conversation positive
  2. No, they don’t want to hear about your latest Hernia
  3. Don’t speak unkindly of others, ESPECIALLY YOUR FAMILY (ETIQUETTE RULE BREAKER NUMBER 336)
  4. Don’t tell a story that last longer than 5 minutes---Period!
  5. Yes, it’s OK to tell a few things about your children’s accomplishments this year, however, this should only take a couple of minutes.  You’re family is not writing an essay on the life and success of your little 2 year old Brewster.
  6. Ask questions.  Great conversation happens when both parties make inquiries about the other person.  This shows your care and concern for those you speak with.  It sends the message, “I am interested in you and your life.”
  • Be gracious.  Please no foul language, no vulgar or racist jokes (it’s not funny), no human noises (I’m talking to you DAD), no teasing others.  Teasing is actually a big deal.  You know that uncle who always wanted to know how many boys you kissed this past year.  UGH!!!  This is not cool, and more importantly, not polite.
  • Never say or do anything that would embarrass another person at the party.
  • Compliment others
  • And finally, Remember...what’s happening today, is what’s happening tomorrow on FACEBOOK.  Beware!!

Have a great Thanksgiving.  I love this country.  I love my family.  I love being an American.  I love our American history.  Learn about it and you will  better enjoy this sacred holiday for our country.

Monica Irvine
a.k.a. Mary Manners