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Ah, the holiday party. Unless you’re a hermit, these gatherings are unavoidable. It might be a party hosted by friends, your family or your office, but you're going to get invited to at least one holiday party this season. And it’s either going to be the social highlight of your year or the humiliating disaster you spend the next twelve months living down.
Steer clear of these egregious holiday party fouls and you'll not only survive — but you'll also be the most put-together person in the room. And for more rules on how to comport yourself, check out the 23 old-fashioned etiquette rules that still apply today.
1. Forgetting to RSVP
Letting a host know whether you actually plan on attending is a fairly big deal — unless you don’t intend on eating, drinking or taking up any space.
2. Failing to accurately prepare your plus-one
Whether you’re bringing a romantic partner or just a pal, make sure they know what to expect before they walk in the door. Do the hosts have any peculiar quirks? Who should they avoid at all costs? Is the fruitcake safe to eat? What about the “mystery punch?” Trust me: Holiday parties are often dangerous, so every couple needs a game plan. And for more dating advice, check out these heart-warming relationship sayings that will inspire your relationship.
3. Being the first to arrive
If a party starts at 5 p.m. and you knock on the door at 5 p.m., your host absolutely wasn’t expecting you. “Fashionably late” is another way of saying “on time.” To master the art of punctuality, be sure you know the 15 easy hacks that will make you show up at the right time — every time.
4. Showing up with a cold
Nobody wants to miss out on the fun, but if you’re sick and even mildly contagious, showing up anyway is the dictionary definition of selfish. Remember: This isn’t about you feeling better. It’s about not getting everybody else sick. Feeling a cold coming on? Here's how to stop it before it starts.
5. Launching into politics
If the conversation naturally flows in the direction of current events, it's OK to wade into those waters. But don't you dare start there.
6. Over-serving yourself
This one goes without saying. And if you're bartender? Well, be sure you know the 20 cocktails everyone should know how to make.
7. Being the last one to leave
If it’s just you and the host, trust me: It's time to grab your coat and call an Uber.
Unless you’ve done extensive research on all the invited guests, it’s a terrible idea to be the holiday party gossip. Bringing up a topic like “You won’t believe who cheated on his wife,” stops being fun the moment you realize you’re talking to that guy’s wife.
9. Staring at your phone
You're better than this.
10. Ignoring the dress code
You shouldn't wear your "ugly sweater" to a black-tie event, and vice versa.
11. Skipping the buffet
Nobody wants to look like a pig, but declining even a nibble from the party platter could lead to trouble down the line if you’re drinking. Three glasses of wine on an empty stomach? Don't do it!
12. Bringing a first date
There’s nothing wrong about coming to a holiday party alone, especially if the party is at a friend’s house. It gets weird, however, when you bring a date that your host (and you) barely knows. Your guest is your responsibility. If he or she doesn't something really embarrassing, it's on you.
13. Sticking to your zone
You show up at a crowded party and immediately gravitate to the people you recognize, and end up staying in the same corner all night, having the same conversations you always do. Be brave: Find a stranger and introduce yourself.
14. Not thanking the host
Acknowledging their effort is just good manners.
15. Making really inappropriate jokes
Know your audience!
16. Showing up with Tupperware
Unless you live there, you ain’t getting any leftovers.
17. Messing with the music
Can’t stand all that Burl Ives? Host your own party then. Unless you’re explicitly asked, it’s not your job to DJ.