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Holiday Party Dos and Don'ts

Dec 21, 2012 12:44AM ● Published by August Schwartz

The holiday season is upon us, and that means parties galore. As your party planning advisors, we’ve come up with a few party dos and don’ts. You didn't really think we'd let you party through these next few weeks without a few of our words of wisdom, did you? Note: These apply to both office and personal functions.

Do dress accordingly.If you haven’t been to this particular party before, ask someone who has for tips. (If it’s a Towne Social party—ask us!) Our philosophy is when in doubt, slightly overdressed is almost always better than underdressed. And if you totally blow it, pretend you came from another party with a very specific dress code. Just don't call us out when we run into you and we use the same excuse. 

Don’t wear a full-on Santa suit. We’ve seen it happen. And it’s awkward. Themed parties are great. Ugly sweaters, Santa hats, festive jewelry, things that light up—all good. Leave the complete getup at home. Do also keep in mind that parties get hot and your perfectly crafted tacky sweater might ultimately bring you down. Never dress like an elf. Unless it's the Elf. From the movie. He's hilarious. And in that case, do take photos and send them to us.

Do bring a hostess gift—your (or their) favorite bottle of wine is usually perfect.

Don’t drink your hostess gift.

Do consider a monogrammed hostess gift. It says you really put some thought into it.

Don’t re-gift a monogrammed gift. It says you’re rude and maybe you can't read.

Do take photos.

Don’t take photos on the copier. Yeah, you know what we mean.

Do try to say hello to everyone in the room.

Don’t take a shot with everyone in the room. (Or with anyone, actually. Which reminds us…)

Do pace yourself. A two-drink maximum is a good rule of thumb, but if you’re feeling especially eager to party, try limiting yourself to one drink per hour. And then consult our handy dandy guide on how to avoid hangovers.

Don’t engage in any kind of race. This isn’t the basement of a frat house.

Don’t attend a party in the basement of a frat house. Unless you’re in college. And even then, consider friend-ing a frat that hosts its Christmas parties at an appropriate venue.

Do eat. Hosts go through a lot of trouble (and in many cases, expense) to provide delicious treats. Don’t stuff yourself. Never announce your plan to drive by Taco Bell on your way home.

If you take food, do take classic favorites. Don’t confuse your favorites with traditional classics. Not everyone likes reindeer pate, even if it is festive. In that same vein, if you have super particular dietary restrictions and are invited to bring a dish, do bring something you can eat, rather than putting those restrictions on the plate of the already busy host.  

If you are attending a multi-course wine paired meal, do sip each drink, after literally sizing it up. Don’t forget that multi-course portions are usually small. (To make up for the fact that there may be upwards of nine of them.) Drinking six glasses of wine with six courses is not like drinking a glass with each meal. We learned that lesson the hard way a few years ago. People in this town sure know how to throw a good party.

Here, read the hangover story again.

If you play the white elephant/yankee gift exchange, do have fun with it. Don’t trump your boss (more than once, that is, depending on his or her sense of humor.) Certainly don't rub it in their face. Definitely don't say "boo-yah," or use any other taunt--outdated or otherwise. Don’t be that guy. We've met him, and he almost never gets invited back.

If you’re throwing the party, do consider décor—having a tree and playing It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story in the background is a nice touch. Don’t hang mistletoe everywhere. One piece is charming. One piece in every room is awkward, and it almost never actually works as a matchmaking device like it does in Lifetime movies. (But do call us if it does. We want to hear about that.)

Do show off your dance moves, if there's dancing. Don't do the worm. Unless you're really, really good at it. And you're not holding a drink. And there's plenty of space on the dance floor. This is neither the appropriate time nor place to learn it.

Don’t discuss your job. At work parties, that goes into the same category as politics, religion, and money. Do carry on like you have a job. (You will see these people again on Monday.)

And finally, don’t avoid the party because here are too many don’ts to adhere to, but do feel free to print this list out in case you think you’ll need a reminder. And as always, do let us know if we forgot to add anything. We'd love to add it to the list.

Happy Holidays!

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