It’s the middle of December and we all know that means that cities are ablaze with festive celebrations and socialising from well-earned work Christmas parties, to fancy cocktail parties, casual celebrations with mates and obligatory family get-togethers. It’s a great time of the year, but with so many social soirees, that means all the more reason to mind your manners.

Invitations are no longer as formal as they used to be but whether your presence has been requested over email, phone, mail or Facebook, let the host know if you plan to attend or not! Not only is it essential in aiding party planning (food, drinks etc) but quite simply, it’s the right thing to do, even if no RSVP has been requested.

Dress appropriately
Take the time to decode the dress code. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the occasion. Black tie events call for tuxedos, cocktail functions – suits and then there are more casual occasions where pretty much anything goes. If you’re unsure of what to wear, ask. It’s fine to ask the host for direction on the appropriate attire.

Don’t bring uninvited guests
It’s inappropriate to bring an uninvited guest along to a formal party. If the invitation requested you and a plus one, don’t forget to RSVP for your guest as well. It may be OK to bring a friend or even a few friends along to an informal event but make sure you clear it with the host first.

Be punctual
For certain casual functions such as BBQs where guests are free to come and go, being on time is not mandatory. However, for more formal events like dinner parties, make sure you arrive within 15 minutes of the specified time. Having said that, don’t be too early either as this may be of an inconvenience to the host who’s making last minute preparations.

Greet your host
Don’t go straight to the food, beverages or your clique upon arrival. Go and say hello to your host!

Offer to help
If you’re attending a dinner party, BBQ or Christmas lunch, offer to take the ice or drinks out. Even if your offer is refused, it will be appreciated. When the celebrations come to an end, offer to help clean up and at the very least, carry your own dishes into the kitchen.

Bring gifts
This isn’t so common anymore but it’s always nice to bring something for the host as a token of appreciation for being invited. Bringing food or drinks to share at a casual event will suffice but for a more elaborate party, bring a bottle of wine, scotch or gourmet chocolates. Presentation is everything, don’t just leave it on the counter, make sure you personally hand it over to the host.

Don’t overindulge on food or alcohol
Be mindful of scoffing down finger foods as if you haven’t eaten for months. Not only is this not a good look, but it also leaves less food for other guests. Even if alcohol is plentiful, avoid drinking too much. There’s nothing more uncomfortable and disrespectiful at a party than a drunk, obnoxious guest.

Keep conversation light
Avoid heavier subjects such as marriage, religion or serious politics. Keep it light and casual to prevent awkward confrontations.

Thank the host
Most importantly, be sure to thank the host or hostess before you leave. Make an even better impression by following up with a thank you note.

This seems like a hefty list of do’s and don’ts but practicing good party etiquette is a sign of good manners and respect for your host, and that’s the kind of guest that will be invited to parties again and again. So be on your most charming behaviour and those invitations are bound to keep rolling in.

Happy celebrations and remember to keep safe!

If you have any additional tips on party etiquette that we may have left out, please let us know by commenting below.

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