Thursday, December 8, 2011

Be the Best Party Guest!

After publishing my post on Hosting the Perfect Holiday Party! it only seemed fitting that I write about the etiquette of attending a party.  Now, I know this topic is less about design and more about manners, but with all of the Christmas shopping I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been in gift mode.  And since part of this discussion is related to hostess gifts, I figured I’d post away!    


Please click on the link below for the full story!

But before we dive into the fun stuff (gifts) I want to cover a few simple but important rules that’ll ensure you’re an appropriate and fun guest at any party.   

First of all, don’t be a schmuck, RSVP in a timely fashion!  Whether you’ve received a formal invite which requires you to respond via snail mail or an informal invitation which simply requires you hit reply in your e-mail to say yay or nay, do not wait until the day before the party to reply.  The hostess has a million other things to worry about (menu planning, food prep, cleaning, etc.) and certainly doesn’t have time to track down all of her invited guests to get an accurate head count.  Also, before you think about bringing an uninvited guest, phone the hostess to be sure it’s okay!  

The second rule to being the best guest you can is to show up on time!  This is especially important if you are attending a dinner party or an event which might have a schedule of events (think White Elephant gift exchange, birthday party or shower).  If something unexpected comes up and you’re running late, get in touch with someone at the party to let them know you’re running behind so as not to disrupt the flow of the evening.   

Onto the third rule - bring a gift!  With all of the preparations the hostess will be consumed with in an effort to orchestrate the best party, the least you can do is bring a little something to show your appreciation and thanks.  To some of us, this is a no brainer.  We were taught not to show up empty handed as a guest.  But this gesture isn’t always taught.  Some of us operate on a  ‘taking turns’ level.  For example, you host this party, I’ll host the next.  While I think this is a great idea, we’re talking about being the best party guest, and the best party guest always come bearing gifts!  I have put together a little idea board for hostess gifts, but we’ll get to that in a minute.  There’s a great little article over at which digs a little deeper into the topic of gift giving.   

The fourth rule…one of which I’ve broken many times (but let’s not talk about that!) pertains to hogging!  Whether you’re pigging out on all of the food at the buffet or slamming drink after drink at the bar, it’s a no no; be considerate of others.  Before you take seconds (or thirds) wait until everyone has had a chance to nibble.  Also, be mindful of how much alcohol you’re consuming.  Not only do you not want to be the drunkest person in attendance, but you also don’t want to come off as though you’re taking advantage of the ‘free’ drinks.  It’s impolite.   

Last but not least, the fifth and final rule is so easy but can often fall off our radar.  Thank you notes!  If you had a great time, let the hostess know!  And if you didn’t, lie.  Thank them anyways.  It is my own belief that a hand written note is more thoughtful than an e-mail or call, but sending a text is better than nothing.   

The overall concept is simple.  Remember the Golden Rule - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?  Well, if you keep this in mind as you prepare for a party, you’ll be fine.   

Now, for the fun stuff!  When shopping for a hostess gift, keep in mind the tone of the party.  It may be appropriate to simply bring a bottle of wine or fresh cut flowers, but take into consideration the overall objective for the party when gauging what to bring.  And of course, if you’re an out-of-town guest who’ll be spending the night, choose your gift based on the length of your stay and how elaborately you’ll be entertained.  Below are some gift ideas which can all be purchased for $50 or less.  And if you have any suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments!   

1. Georgia State Cutting Board by AHeirloom  2. Small Aalto Savoy Vase by Iittala  3. Signature 9.4oz Lemongrass Candle by Henri Bendel  4. Tear-off Luncheon Napkins - Linen-Blend by Anthropology  5. Honey Pot Gift Set by Le Creuset   6. Antique Bamboo 4-Piece Cheese Knife Set by Williams Sonoma  7. Elephants Salt and Pepper Shakers by Jonathan Adler  8. Hand Engraved Pop Fizz Clink Foldover Holiday Cards by Kate Spade

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