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Holiday Party Protocol

The season of celebration is upon us. No matter what holiday(s) you will be observing this month, you are, no doubt, being asked to join friends, family and co-workers in a variety of gatherings, quite possibly ranging from casual to black-tie and beyond. As your calendar fills up, you will be faced with many decisions such as what to wear, how much to spend on a hostess gift, which events to attend and which to politely decline, to name a few. Those questions will be addressed at a later time but for now, I would like to provide you with a quick reminder of important holiday party protocol:


  1. The Grand Entrance:
    1. If you must arrive late, certainly be no later than 30 minutes past the time listed on the invitation.
    2. Greeting the host at once upon arriving (with a gift!) is of the utmost priority.
    3. As a party guest, this is not the time to bring surprises, whether it be an extra guest, an extreme outfit or a grandiose announcement or gift.
  2. The Main Event:
    1. Turn your phone off. There are instances where it would be appropriate to leave the volume on your phone on during a social gathering but these are few and far between. As a general rule, leave your phone on vibrate and only engage on your mobile device when in private.
    2. Choose your libations responsibly. This should need no further explanation. Excessive drinking is not only unflattering, it is downright rude. Not to mention the inappropriate behavior that may follow such indulgences.
    3. Carry plates or beverages in your left hand keeping your right hand free for a smooth and polite greetings.
  3. Departure
    1. Depending on the size of the party, it will be up to your judgment whether or not to alert the host of your departure. If at all possible, it is advisable to say a short farewell and thank-you.
    2. Your departure should come no sooner than a half hour after your arrival. Treating a planned gathering as an errand is rude and disrespectful of the host and your fellow guests.
    3. Send a prompt, handwritten thank-you note following the event. Your host, no doubt, contributed time and resources planning this soiree and they should be thanked sincerely for doing so.


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