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 in 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…