It is that time of year again! Holiday parties in homes, civic events and friends gathering. We are all hurried and things are hectic, but it’s important to give some consideration to the time and cost of hosting these events. You can honor your host by being a great guest with my favorite holiday party etiquette tips:
- RSVP, or répondez s’il vous plait, means “reply please”! Always respond with a definitive yes or no, and do this a week ahead of time as the host will be ordering food from a caterer or making their own shopping preparations.
- Read your invitation! It may not include a spouse or a “+1.” This is often the case in business settings.
- Be mindful of the dress code.
- Drink in moderation. You should avoid placing lampshades on your head and loud singing. Lose lips sink ships, need I say more?
- Eat in moderation. You weren’t invited because you’re hungry. It’s always helpful to have a light snack before going to a party, as you may see people you haven’t seen in awhile and get wrapped up in visiting! If you find yourself in the Taco Bell drive-thru on the way home, then so be it.
- Hold your glass in your left hand. When you shake hands, your right hand won’t be cold or wet, and you won’t have to shuffle your drink to another hand when someone extends their hand to you.
- Introduce your spouse or guest, but have a plan if you have forgotten a name. Your spouse will know to jump in and introduce themselves, saving yourself some potential embarrassment. Give them a heads up on who people are and what they might have in common if they are stuck talking to them.
- When invited to a party in a home, take a hostess gift. A bottle of wine or a stack of cute napkins are safe choices.
- Name tags belong on the right side of your chest. This makes it simple to see your name when shaking hands.
- Send a thank you note, and always say hello and goodbye to the host.
When my husband was collecting the Thanksgiving trash after the holiday, he worried about how he could easily stack the pumpkins we were disposing of so that the trash collectors wouldn’t have trouble picking them up. This event reminded me how much I loved the late Tim Russert, former NBC journalist and the host of Meet the Press. I had the pleasure of meeting Tim here in Oklahoma City just a year before he passed away, and received an autographed copy of his book, Big Russ & Me, for my own great dad. The book is about Tim’s lessons from his father, and one such lesson was on the etiquette of trash. Tim’s father worked for the Sanitation Department in Buffalo, New York, and Tim spent every school vacation, summer and winter alike, working with his father.
It wasn’t until working with his father that Tim realized why his dad was so meticulous when it came to throwing away the trash at home. His father always let the kitchen grease harden in a can before he threw it out because he knew what it felt like to pick up a bag and have the bottom drop out after hot kitchen grease had melted the bag. He also knew that some people threw their trash right into the can, without even bagging it, causing the cans to smell and leaving the odor of the trash on his skin and clothes. Other neighborhoods, like the Polish district in Buffalo, New York, wrapped their trash up neatly as if it were a gift. Before Tim started the job, Big Russ taught him how to wrap garbage. He wanted Tim to be considerate, and knew that if he got in the habit of thinking about the “other guy,” including the person who picked up their trash, life could be so much easier.
During this holiday season, filled with wasted food and pounds of crumpled wrapping paper, let’s all do what Tim Russert did: be considerate, and think about the other guy.Best regards,