.It’s December now, which means you are probably looking at a calendar full of parties, travel, family dinners, and other festive events. They may be a lot of fun — or a minefield of potential faux pas. To help you be the guest who brings more cheer (and fewer cringes), we asked our friend Daniel Post Senning, host of Awesome Etiquette, to talk to us about some top tips for navigating the season with grace.
Do the Host-Guest Dance
The holiday season is a social time and you might be bouncing party-to-party with friends or family in tow. The more may be the merrier for you, but when you have been invited to someone else’s home, it’s not appropriate to show up with an unannounced posse. If the invite was to you alone and you know you’ll have company, the proper etiquette is to decline with a subtle “I shouldn’t attend because I have family in town with whom I’m spending time,” or whatever the case may be. Most hosts will happy to extend the invitation, but it’s important to let them make that choice.
Avoid the Tantrum
Preparing children for the holidays in advance makes life easier on parents — and anyone else in earshot. There can be a lot of stimuli and challenges for young children during the season: tasting new food at the Thanksgiving table, travel, interruptions to normal schedules, strange smells at Grandma’s house, or unwrapping knit socks instead of that Playstation game they craved. Coaching kids to handle these situations before they arise will keep the whole family playing well together.
Don’t Make the Office Party NSFW
Office holiday parties can be a manners minefield. Personal and professional lives are colliding, but that’s no time to act like you’re at your best friend’s shindig. Limit yourself to one drink (if you hit the booze at all) and keep the conversations appropriate. Also, as great as you look in that sparkly little holiday outfit, it might be better reserved for New Year’s Eve.