If there’s one thing we know for sure about the holiday season, it’s that there will be parties. Even the most seasoned host/party goer may not be fully prepared for everything an evening might throw at them. Here are some of the best holiday party etiquette rules to abide by when it comes to hosting or attending a party.


  1. Don’t assume everyone drinks alcohol. While beer, wine and cocktails are still king for most partygoers, there will always be someone in attendance who doesn’t drink.  Make sure you at least have sparkling water or a booze-free punch available.
  2. Use assigned seating for dinner parties. Large groups cause chaos when there isn’t order.  Predetermine your seating arrangement before the guests arrive to keep things running smoothly and control the dynamic.
  3. Be prepared for spills. Accidents happen, and you’ll want to freak out when someone tips over a wine glass.  Don’t.  Have a contingency plan ready to clean up spills and messes without disrupting the party.


  1. Don’t come empty handed. Unless you’ve been specifically instructed to come with empty hands, bring something.  Whether it’s a bottle of wine or a dessert, a small gift is a way for you to express gratitude for the party invite.
  2. Answer the invite. If your host has asked for an RSVP, it’s important.  This is a way for the host to plan food and drink portions.  Don’t leave them high and dry by ignoring the invite instructions.
  3. There’s no such thing as fashionably early. People always show up late.  It’s human nature, and if you live in a metropolitan area, it’s expected.  However, don’t show up early.  Those last few chaotic moments are the host’s last chance to perfect the details.  Curb your excitement and wait until start time.

At the end of the day, etiquette boils down to respecting yourself and showing respect to the people around you. Abiding by these etiquette rules will help you, as a host, and your guests have a successful and joyous holiday party.

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