7 Holiday Party Etiquette Tips to Use This Season

By: Lynne Marks | 23 Nov 2016

When winter arrives, we all know what that means – holiday parties are in full swing. Whether it’s the corporate office party, the get together with family, or the fancy dinner party annually hosted by your friends, your schedule is booked for the season.

However, bad holiday party etiquette can quickly dwindle down the amount of invitations you receive. Instead of being a party pooper, use these 7 quick tips to be the perfect guest or host!


1. Engage in Positive, Polite Conversation

It’s the holidays! No one wants to hear how dreadful tax season was or about all of the world’s problems. This time of year is for holiday cheer. Refrain from negative conversations and stick to positive topics. Not much of a conversation starter? Try these topics out at your next holiday party:

  • Ask about holiday vacation plans
  • Ask guests about their holiday traditions
  • Discuss your favorite holiday movie
  • Talk about your favorite holiday memory

If other guests respond with negative or dreary comments, simply excuse yourself from the conversation (politely). This allows you to find someone interested in having a positive conversation.

Remember, part of your image is how you communicate. Sticking to positive comments and conversation will bear well on your image.

2. Ditch the Smartphone

There’s nothing worse than hosting a party, only for your guests to be scrolling through their newsfeeds the entire time. Once you’re at the party, ditch your phone! Put it in your purse or clutch and hang it up with your coat. Give your undivided attention to the host and their party.

3. Keep Your Social Media Posts in Check

Speaking of smartphones – if you’d like to post a picture of the party to Facebook, Instagram, or other social networks, ask the host first. He or she may prefer to keep their party offline, or have personal preferences with regards to social media.

Always ask before posting. Not only is it polite, but posting before asking can create quite an awkward situation.

4. Wear Appropriate Attire

Have you ever shown up to a party wearing the completely wrong attire? When you thought it was a cocktail party, but it turned out to be a full-out dinner party? Before choosing your attire, confirm the dress code with the host.

More often than not, your party host will be lenient about attire. While this is gracious of them, it is still proper to dress accordingly. Also keep in mind that it is the holiday season – no short dresses or great amounts of skin.

Your image includes your overall appearance! Show up to the party properly groomed, wearing the appropriate attire, and ready for a night of fun.

5. Never Bring an Extra Guest Without Asking

We’ve all been to a party where one guest brings half of their friend group without asking. This presents a burden for the host. If it is a seated dinner party, they now have to scramble to find extra places and cook more food. This certainly does not shine a positive light on your image.

If you would like to bring an additional guest, ask the host well in advance if this would be allowed. They reserve every right to deny your request. If it is a significant other or family member, hosts tend to agree with your request. Respect your host’s decision, no matter the outcome.

6. Bring Gifts

It is courteous to bring a gift for the host. Whether it is a bottle of fine wine to be used at dinner or a thoughtful, personalized gift solely for the host, your kindness and generosity will be appreciated.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you are hosting the party, give parting gifts to your guests. These gifts do not need to be extravagant, but rather thoughtful. Gifts can be homemade coasters, baked goods, or a personalized, hand-made gift!

7. Always Send Handwritten Thank You Cards

No matter if you are the guest or the host, handwritten thank you cards are greatly appreciated from the receiving party. This extra touch shows the host and/or guests that you had a great time and appreciated their company.

Plus, it shows that you went out of your way to thank them for their time. In today’s fast paced society, classic and thoughtful thank you cards have been replaced by emails, texts, and Facebook posts. Take the time to write thorough and meaningful cards to your host or guests and watch your holiday season brighten up!


Use Our Holiday Party Etiquette Tips

When you use these 7 easy holiday etiquette tips, it is sure to reflect positively on your personal and professional image. To learn more about one’s image and the profession of image consulting, sign up for one of our upcoming programs at a location nearest you.

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