25 Secrets to Becoming the Best Holiday Party Guest Ever Gallery

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Sometimes it feels like the final two months of the year is one endless holiday party. From office holiday events to family Hanukkah or Christmas gatherings to friend's New Year's Eve bashes, it seems like it's just one celebration after another.

In the midst of all this holiday partying with loved ones, it can be easy to forget how to be a standout guest. Yes, everyone knows the basics of how not to be total Grinch around the holidays, but it's easy to accidentally be a terrible guest without even knowing it. Luckily, we have all of the tips, tricks and guidelines of basic etiquette for being the best holiday guest ever.

From sending a timely RSVP and - yes! - sending a thank you note, to offering to help cook or bartend, being kind is not only the way to go around the holidays (and every day of the year, if we're being honest). So leave those holiday stresses at the door and learn how you can be an awesome party guest.



Did you know you technically have just 24 hours to RSVP? It's true! Everything at parties, from the amount of space provided to the amount of food and alcohol, depends on numbers. Sending your RSVP in early is particularly important during the holidays, when both guests and hosts have packed schedules.


Don't Bring Extra Guests

Remember how everything at parties comes down to numbers? That's why you don't just bring a random friend along as a plus-one. If you really want to bring someone along, ask your host when you RSVP, but whether you can bring a guest or not is entirely at the host's discretion.


Inform Your Host of Any Dietary Restrictions

Holiday foods are full of allergens such as dairy, wheat and nuts. So it's important to let your host know if you happen to have a gluten intolerance, are a vegetarian or need some other special meal. It's a party! There's going to be food and alcohol. And no one wants to go hungry during the holidays.


Offer to Help Cook or Bring a Dish

Though the host likely already has a menu in mind, offer to help them cook before the party or offer to bring an appetizer, salad, side dish or dessert to help out. Just be sure to clear the dish with them beforehand. You can always make some delicious and easy Christmas cookies.


Dress for the Occasion

It's the holidays, so don't be afraid to dress festively! Even if the fete you're going to is more of a cocktail party or semi-formal dinner party, Christmas vests, Santa Claus hats, and ties with little snowmen on them are perfectly appropriate for the holidays. When else can you acceptably wear reindeer antlers in public?!


Arriving on time actually means get to the party 15 to 30 minutes late. Though that may seem counterintuitive to being the most polite guest, this actually gives your host a little extra time to finish up those last minute details and gives them wiggle room in their schedule. Arriving as they set up the buffet or finish setting the table is awkward for everyone.


Bring a Host Gift

A small token to give to your host is the perfect way to show your gratitude for being invited out. A bottle of wine is the classic host gift, but the best holiday guests will bring something more personalized. If you're coming from out of town for the season, bring a specialty item from your area. Tree ornaments, holiday décor and homemade baked goods are also always welcome.


Avoid Drama

Listen, you're not going to love everyone you meet or be thrilled to see everyone during the holiday season. That's just a reality of life. But avoid starting fights, saying passive-aggressive things at dinner or wearing your anger on your face. Avoid problematic people, spend the holiday party with those you truly enjoy being around and save your rants for the car ride home.


Check Your Holiday Stress at the Door

The holidays are stressful. There's really no way around the fact. There are expensive gifts to buy, snowy roads filled with traffic and difficult family members that need to be dealt with. But when you're attending a party, leave those worries behind. Be in the moment, relax, and enjoy yourself. Your positive attitude will spill over to your fellow guests and make you instantly approachable and likable.


Be Liberal With Compliments

OK, don't go totally overboard by complimenting everyone and everything (thus making the sentiments feel fake), but be kind. Compliment your fellow attendees' appearance, your host's cooking and the décor. Need some tips on how to be kind? Here are 15 nice things you need to say more often.


Keep an Eye on Your Kids

If your children are with you at your holiday party, don't leave them to the responsibility of another parent or family member. They are your kids, after all. Even if there is a separate party space for the young ones, pop in every now and then to make sure they're safe, fed and enjoying themselves.


Keep Your Phone in Your Pocket

You may want to Snapchat your friend's killer "Feliz Navidad" dance moves or upload your plate of cookies to Instagram ASAP, but keep the technology away for the duration of your holiday party. Whipping your phone out at inopportune times is one of the ways you're being rude without even realizing it.


Participate in the Reindeer Games

This is the holiday way of saying: Be the outgoing life of the party with a fun attitude! If there's a game of Christmas Pictionary going on, join in! If Santa is meeting with the party guests, grab a photo with the jolly ol' fellow! The holidays come but once a year, so don't be a Grinch.


Play Bartender

To really help your host out and get to mingle with everyone at the party, why not take a turn tending bar? Mixing festive drinks, passing out beers, and refilling waters may sound like a menial task, but it can actually be a really fun experience.


Rock Around the Christmas Tree

Don't be a cotton-headed ninny-muggins! If there's holiday music playing at the party, get on the dance floor and bust out your best dance moves. Feel free to offer to be the DJ, too. Not only will you get to play the music that you really want to hear, but you can help with the flow of the party.


Know How to Make Small Talk

Making small talk could help you to avoid some really awkward conversations and pauses. Not sure how to make small talk? Here are a few tips. Have topics in mind, ask plenty of questions and listen to your conversation partner. It doesn't have to be so hard!


Meet New People

Of course, any party that you're attending is certain to be filled with familiar faces and old friends. While you should, of course, visit with them, it's also important to introduce yourself to people you don't know yet. Parties are a great time to connect with new people, make friends and network. Be especially sure to socialize with people who seem a bit shy; try to loop them into the party to give a sense of merriment for everyone.


Engage With the Host

Don't forget to make sure the host is enjoying their own party! If the person who invited you into their home seems frantic or stressed, check in with them. Ask them if they need help with anything - or a drink. Of course, don't forget to have genuine conversation and fun with them, as well. It is their party, after all.


Don't Drink Too Much

Nobody likes that guy (or gal), so keep your alcohol intake in check at this year's holiday party. Whether you're among coworkers, family or casual friends, nobody wants to take care of you or hear your nonsensical drunken chatter. Stay hydrated with plenty of water, pace yourself and know your own limits.


But Do Eat Everything

Holiday food is the best food, and 'tis the season for a bit of indulgence. Go ahead, take an extra scoop of that green bean casserole and stack your plate with 101 of the best cookies. As long as you're not clearing the buffet, eating and complimenting the food is all a part of being a great guest.


Exchange Gifts

If there's a gift exchange at the holiday party you're going to, don't be a Scrooge. If there's a price range, aim for the top of the scale (or go just a couple dollars over). To buy a gift for someone you're not that close with, but something anyone would enjoy, such as a mug with Starbucks gift card or a holiday decoration. And if you're playing White Elephant or another gift exchange game, follow the rules and have fun!


Clean Up

As the party comes to a close, help your host tidy up. Gather dishes, help put leftover food into Tupperware and make sure there aren't any big spills or piles of trash. It's a small gesture, but one that can help your host immensely.


Know When It's Time to Leave

You don't want to be the first to arrive, and you don't want to be the least to leave either. Read the room. If the coffee has been served and most of the party has already left, it's probably time for you to go too.


Send a Thank You Note

When you say bye, be sure to give your host a big hug (if you're close) and say thank you for a lovely evening. You wouldn't believe how many people leave without saying bye or without saying thank you. It's a small gesture that can mean so much to a host.


Return the Favor

Don't turn around and throw another holiday party the following weekend, but be sure to invite your hosts to any future gatherings that you have in order to build a close relationship. For instance, if you go to a Christmas party, consider throwing an amazing themed New Year's bash.

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