What is it with this time of year?
Why do we always feel the need to catch up with people that we have spent the last 11 months trying to avoid?
Why would you want to go and party with people from your work? I mean you are only really all in one room drinking cheap, warm wine because you all happened to be successful at the interview process… Unless you work for a fancy bank, and then the wine is more likely to be cold and drinkable. But the company is likely to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Whether it is a fancy bash, or a more casual affair, there are plenty of events leading up to Christmas. Some are eagerly anticipated, while others bring fear and dread (think partner’s office Christmas party at a function centre).
But one thing in common is that you need to know your responsibilities if you want to be the model guest…
It is just always, ALWAYS essential. You must do this. It is the height of rudeness to ignore an invitation. I always RSVP as soon as I receive the invitation. Emily Post would have agreed with me 100%.
When you RSVP, it is a nice idea to let them know of any special dietary requirements.
…Like, you only eat lobster.
It is nice to offer to bring something, especially if the festivities are to be conducted in a private home.
We have moved, I hope, from beyond the keg party, but I always bring a bottle or two. It is just manners. Even a fancy carafe of mineral water will be appreciated.
If you are going to a casual get-together, the offer of bringing a salad or fancy ‘artisan’ bread is de rigeur.
Or, if it is a more formal affair, I like to offer a “top or tail” option. Shall I bring some cheese? Perhaps something sweet?
Some say it is not necessary, but a hostess gift is always nice. It does not have to be flashy or over the top, but for the love of all things from the re-gifting cupboard, do not re-gift. TACK-ER-AMA! Ditto, service station flowers. That is just embarrassing for everyone involved. At least go into the service station and thoughtfully purchase replacement car mats.
Do not arrive early and do not arrive late. I like to make my entrance about ten minutes after the required time, to allow the host and hostess to finish up their fight about not putting the bins out of sight and why, oh why, one of them chose that exact time to let their spouse know that they will be going away on business the following morning.
While at the soiree, avail your services to the hostess. Ask once or twice whether there is something you can do to help, but keep in the back of your mind that some hosts are complete control freaks and do not want you anywhere near the kitchen.
If this is the case, you have hit the jackpot! Go forth and be merry. Which leads me to a few Dos and Don’ts…
- Make sure that you introduce yourself around. You might meet the love of your life, a new best friend or at the very least, a medical practitioner who you can show the funny shaped mole on your chest to for a free consult.
- Alternate your wine with vodka and soda. You must keep hydrated.
- Eat something that actually ends up in your mouth. Steer towards canapés that are served on those little spoons, as most of the hard work is done for you. AVOID BEETROOT DIPS LIKE THE PLAGUE. Devil’s work.
- Partake in dancing if it is available. Trust me, you are a fabulous dancer.
- While dancing, do avoid the man on the dance floor who is a serial dipper.
- Make use of the toilet facilities and all they have to offer, such as air deodorizers.
- Be a bore. Don’t talk about yourself too much. Ask questions. But not too many. Maybe just nod along with a conversation…
- Create an alcohol shortage. Listen to your inner party-angel telling you that indeed, you do not need a sticky after dinner is served. It will not mix well with what is already sloshing around in there.
- Don’t be too opinionated. There is a fine line between having a lively and enjoyable debate and having an all-put slanging match. Know where that line is. Avoid it.
- Do not ignore the obvious signs from the hosts that you might be on the path to outstaying your welcome. If they are standing in front of you in their jammies, brushing their teeth, call a cab and take your leave.
I hope you have many opportunities to put my tips and tricks into action over the upcoming party season, and I will leave you with two personal manifestos that you should try to remember, but might be a little overdue if you find yourself walking through your front door in the style of a crab.
One from Emily:
“The good guest is almost invisible, enjoying him or herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the hosts.”
And one from me:
Leave while you are having a good time, never change venues and avoid any sort of dips, whether it be served in a bowl or spun out on a dance floor.
How is YOUR party season shaping up?
What’s your best tip for Christmas party-goers this month?
MORE STORIES BY MRS WOOG
*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.” You can follow me on Twitter @Woogsworld.