Sunday, December 20, 2015

Holiday Etiquette: Q & A for ABC10

What to Do & What to Avoid Doing For That Holiday Party

Holiday Party Etiquette

When Dina Kupfer contacted me for a segment she was compiling, I jumped on the opportunity to assist her.  Her questions are perfect for this time of year.  What follows are my answers to her excellent questions. 

What to wear?

Ask the host what his/her dress code/expectation are.  Other than that, dress for the type of party it is.  If it is a cocktail party, wear attire that is more formal.  One main rule is to dress more formally than for a non-holiday party.  The other is for women to dress conservatively, which means, “Minimize the cleavage”.

What to bring?

Other than the typical block party or family gathering, a host shouldn’t expect the guest to bring any part/portion of the party.  A host, hosts.  However, a good guest always asks and provides the aforementioned item.  That said, a good guest always brings a “hostess gift”.  This can be flowers, candy, wine, etc. or something specific that focuses on the host’s particular preferences.

How much should you eat/drink?

This varies.  If it is a dinner, it’s polite for the guest to try everything placed in front of him/her.  If it is a party, sample items.  Don’t consider it an entire meal unless the party is planned during a mealtime.  Even then, consider how many refreshments there are compared to the number of guests—only consume your fair share.  Never drink alcohol to excess! 

Inviting a guest to a holiday party or a friend’s home – is it ok to ask? If so, how?

It’s never polite to invite a guest to another’s party.  A polite manner in which to approach this is to mention that you would have loved to attend, but have a guest.  This may encourage the host to invite your guest to his/her event.

What to bring to a party for those who celebrate a different holiday than you?

Be honest.  If you are unsure of how the type of holiday party is celebrated, inform the host. Then ask what is typical for guests to bring.  Take a hostess gift for the event as well.

How best to deny a holiday invite politely?

Typically, most of us are very busy this time of year.  So, it is perfectly fine to thank the host for the invitation and state that you are unable to attend.  Giving a reason is not necessary.

When children are not allowed and you need a babysitter, how much should you expect to pay on a holiday? (Christmas Eve, New Years’ Eve)

It is most polite to double the typical babysitting fee during the holidays.  However, money is not the only option.  A thoughtful gift included with the typical babysitting fees 


  1. Great advice, Rebecca! Now I just need some more party invites to try out all of these great tips! lol

  2. I always bring a host / hostess gift so it is hard to imagine not doing so. Good tips, Rebecca.