12 Ways to be the Perfect Holiday Party Guest

Posted by Todd Smith

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Family All Together At Christmas DinnerSince most of us will be attending holiday parties in the coming weeks, I want to give you a few timely reminders on what I call party etiquette.  When my family makes sure to do these things, our efforts are noticed and appreciated.

Consider these 12 little things when you’re invited to someone’s party this holiday season.

1. RSVP—When you receive an invitation to an event, make it a priority to respond to the invitation ASAP, even if you cannot attend. When people send invitations they expect a response in a timely manner. Don’t let your name appear on the unconfirmed list and have your host continue to wonder whether or not you are coming.

2. Offer to come early—If you have ever hosted an event at your home, you know the amount of planning and preparation that goes into making it special for everyone. If the people hosting the event are close friends or family, offer to come early to help with the set up. Even if they don’t accept your offer, they will appreciate you asking.

3. Call to see if they need anything—When attending a party with family or close friends, text or call the host before you leave your home and ask if there is anything you can pick up on the way. (A bag of ice or coffee creamer is often needed.) It’s a nice way to show you care and are willing to help.

4. Arrive on time—Always strive to show up on time for personal gatherings. If it’s a dinner engagement, you certainly don’t want to be the person everyone’s waiting for while the food grows cold. Being on time shows your respect for their schedule. At the same time, don’t come early or you may catch your host unprepared for early arrivals.

5. Take a hostess gift—When you are invited to attend a party or dinner engagement at someone’s home, it’s a nice practice to take a little gift for the host/hostess. It could be wine, candy or a fruitcake, an inspirational book, an inexpensive floral arrangement, or something as simple as a card. A little gift shows your appreciation for the effort put into the event and for being included.

6. Lend a helping hand—When you arrive, ask if there is anything you can do to help. Often there are last minute things that need to be done and your offer will be appreciated. If there’s nothing to do, you can bet your offer will make an impression.

7. Be friendly—Make it a point to meet and greet each guest. A warm smile, a firm handshake if appropriate, and a comment of personal interest as you repeat his or her name will help everyone feel welcome.

8. Be a good listener—Be a respectful listener and observer. When others are speaking, focus your attention on the person talking and avoid interrupting or having side conversations.

If negative or critical comments are made, try to redirect the discussion. Be the voice of reason and encourage others to focus on the positives and not the negatives. These parties should be a time to celebrate and have fun.

9. Control your alcoholic drinking—While this seems like common sense, I have seen countless people make fools of themselves by over-drinking at parties. Make the decision in advance as to how many drinks you are going to have and then use your self-control to keep from having even one more.

10. Pitch in unasked—When you attend events with family and “close” friends, look for the things you can do without being asked. It could be picking up glasses laying around or taking out the trash that is overflowing. My wife and I have always appreciated those who pitched in to help without having to be asked. Just don’t overdo it or your host may feel uncomfortable.

11. Help clean up when the party is over—If you attend a party at someone’s home, offer to help with the clean up. If they decline your offer, simply say, “I would enjoy helping you clean up. Would you please allow me to help you?” When they accept your offer, help them clean up until the job is finished or until your host wants to take a break. If they decline your help because they would rather continue the conversation in another room, ask them again when the party is over.

12. Express appreciation—When leaving, tell your host and hostess how much you enjoyed the party. If there was something that impressed you or stood out, tell them. Thank them for their friendship and for including you in the gathering. When you return home consider sending a thank-you note.

Do you have any tips?  If so, share them in the comments section below this post.

Hope you have a special time with your family and friends at this year’s parties and holiday dinners. Happy Holidays!

The smallest gestures are some of the biggest ways you can show your love for the people around you this holiday season.

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.


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