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Martha Stewart shares the ultimate holiday party do's and don'ts: 'You always get caught'

Turn to the lifestyle maven for advice this holiday season.
/ Source: TODAY

With the holidays rapidly approaching, leave it to Martha Stewart to offer up some tips this season. Whether you’re hosting or attending as a guest, the lifestyle maven has you covered.

During an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live” on Thursday, Dec. 2, the 80-year-old businesswoman graciously offered her advice for the holidays in a segment called “Martha May I?” with host Andy Cohen and guest Christian Siriano. Cohen went rapid fire through some commonly asked holiday party etiquette questions surrounding the holidays, allowing Stewart to impart her wisdom on viewers.

Here is some of the advice she gave ahead of this holiday season so you can put your best foot forward at your next party.

Here are Martha Stewart's ultimate holiday party etiquette do's and don'ts:

1. Her unique 'failsafe' host gift

If you’re bringing a gift for the host, Stewart gave a slightly specific answer for viewers, telling Cohen her "failsafe" gift is one dozen eggs gathered from her own chicken coop. How relatable!

Martha Stewart during an interview on Monday, November 8, 2021.
Martha Stewart during an interview on Nov. 8, 2021.Sean Gallagher / NBC

2. To regift or not to regift?

For those tempted to regift, Cohen had you covered by asking if it is ever OK to regift a present during the holiday season. Unfortunately, you may not like Stewart’s answer.

“No," she said.


"You always get caught.”

3. What does 'no gifts' actually mean?

Sometimes, hosts may say not to bring a hosting gift for them. Even so, Stewart suggests not following that advice. After Cohen asked if it was acceptable to forgo the gift, she told viewers, “Absolutely not, you must take a gift.”

4. How to say goodbye to lingering guests

You may run into guests who overstay their welcome at your home, but feel guilty kicking them out at the end of the night. Stewart suggests that when the time comes to say, “‘I’m going to bed now, so I’ll see you at the next party.’”

So, at the next holiday party you attend, if the host uses this line on you, just know that it’s time for you to go.

5. The perfect arrival time

Not sure when to arrive to a party? When asked by Cohen when the appropriate time slot to arrive at a party is, Stewart replied, “A little past call time is always nice for the hostess or host because they’re never quite ready.”

However, if guests are extremely tardy, Stewart said that you don’t have to wait “too long” for them to arrive before you serve dinner.

“Actually, push their plates to the end of the table,” she joked.

6. Don’t change the seating chart

Even if you don’t like the person who is set to sit next to you at a dinner party, Stewart said to refrain from making any unauthorized changes to the place cards.

“No, you’re not allowed to,” she told Cohen when he asked about making the switch, before telling a cautionary tale about her daughter. “On Thanksgiving, my daughter moved all of the place cards without my knowledge…and that didn’t go over so well.”

Over the years, Stewart has passed along her fair share of tips around the holiday season, including guides on etiquette, advice for the kitchen, and plenty of recipes to make for the occasion.

Last year for Thanksgiving, she shared some insights on the holiday with TODAY while celebrating some personal milestones with NBC’s Harry Smith. Beyond the meal, for hosting tips, Stewart suggested to decorate a festive table with your family that’s “very appropriate for the season.”

In 2018, the entrepreneur discussed her top cookie-swap tips with TODAY for anyone attending a swap this season. In addition to making sure that the cookies are all packaged in a decorative, convenient box and checking in on any potential allergens, you’ll want make to make some strategic decisions with the cookies themselves. Stewart recommended avoiding any fragile cookies that could break while transporting them, as well as any icing that has potential to smudge to retain the integrity of the cookie and its design.

Or, you could just make some of Stewart’s recipes, including her Meyer-Lemon Shortbread Wreath Cookies or Chai Snowballs.