Here’s our simple guest etiquette guide for good behaviour at seasonal festivities
You’ll likely be making the holiday rounds over the next two months to office parties, open houses, Christmas at your in-laws’ house. There are so many events and things to remember that it can even get a little stressful sometimes. It can help to know the basics of what you should bring, when you should arrive, what makes a good hostess gift, and more. We hope our tips will help take some of the pressure off.
Find out in advance the suggested attire, whether kids are welcome, and what time the open house begins and ends.
- Skip the flowers and instead, pick up a pretty, low-maintenance potted plant instead.
- Bring a tin of fresh-baked cookies or a box of sweet mandarins.
If there’s ever a time to make sure you know brush up on good guest etiquette, it’s for your company’s office party. Find out which of your company’s head honchos will be there, how large the event is, and what the venue and dress code will be.
- If you plan on giving holiday presents to some of your co-workers, the office party isn’t the time to bring them. Do that separately in a smaller group.
- It’s a good idea to say hello and introduce yourself to company bigwigs. Just say a few nice words and keep it brief.
- Avoid any talk of politics or religion with coworkers, for obvious reasons.
- Remember to watch your alcohol intake. Getting wasted at the office holiday party is never a good look.
- Don’t be more than 10 minutes late.
- This is the time you get to dress up a little—exactly how dressy will depend on the overall company culture and formality.
Weekend at the In-Laws’
This is a great time to show off your good guest etiquette. You may want to check with your spouse’s parents to see whether there will be family dinners out, whether gifts will be exchanged, and what other events are planned during your stay.
- You can never go wrong with bringing a floral bouquet for your in-laws.
- Impress your in-laws by bringing along a tin of home-baked treats.
- Bring gifts to exchange if that’s planned.
- Be curious and ask your in-laws about their traditions and fun things they do over the holidays. You can share a favourite recipe or tradition of your own.
- Make sure your spouse gets a bit of time alone with his or her family. (Bonus is that you get some solo time for yourself).
- Send a thank you note or email after the weekend ends.
New Year’s Party
- Best party guest gift ever? Bring a “day-after” basket packed with gourmet coffee, mixed teas, fresh-baked muffins, some aspirin and electrolyte drinks.
- Another nice hostess gift? A new desk calendar for the new year.
- Don’t arrive early. If it’s a cocktail party, arrive no later than an hour after the start time. If you’re unsure when to leave, look for signs like music turned down, lights turned up, and food being put away.
- Always send a thank you note or email. If you took photos, email a few, but remember that sending a handwritten note is always the best way to go.