Editor’s note: The Sidney Daily News is publishing a series of articles on etiquette as the holiday season approaches.
SIDNEY — The holidays are upon us, which means it’s time to brush up on our etiquette and rules for best behavior during this season of events and gatherings. There’s nothing more fulfilling than knowing you presented yourself well as a host or guest, which will help you have an enjoyable holiday season!
Here are some important Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind during this holiday season:
• Do respect all RSVP deadlines and host requests. When someone is generous enough to invite you to dinner, a party, or any other holiday event, don’t ignore the request for the RSVP. In case you don’t recall what that means—it’s simply a response to let the host know whether or not you’ll be able to attend. It’s essential for planning purposes. Be sure to respond Yes or No.
• Don’t show up unfashionable late. Also, Don’t overstay your welcome. Arrival etiquette can depend on the type of event, whether it’s a drop-by buffet, a seated dinner, a white elephant gift exchange, a volunteer activity, or drink reservations. If it’s unclear whether there’s a hard start or end time, simply ask.
• Do familiarize yourself with holiday traditions and cultural observances. Be aware how different cultures celebrate the holidays and observances.
• Don’t leave guests to awkwardly mingle at a party you’re hosting. If it’s a crowd that doesn’t know each other, it’s important to give people something to go on. When making introductions, try to jump-start the conversation — explain where you know each guest from, or bring up something they have in common.
• Don’t overdrink if you’re the hostess. Hosting is a responsibility. Know your own limits. Use caution when you’re the guest at a party, too, and slow down once you feel yourself rapidly approaching that point where you know best. It might be time to put down the drink, and grab a glass of water. The same holds true for the person invited to the function—don’t overdrink!
• Don’t bring an uninvited plus-one to a party unless you’ve cleared it with the hostess. This includes boyfriends, children, out-of-town guests, as well as pets.
• Do bring a dish or a bottle of wine. Unless requested for a carry-in meal function, you usually do not take a dish as it might clash with the hostess’ pre-planned menu. Do not show up empty-handed. Something sweet and simple will do: homemade treats, a scented candle, a bottle of wine, holiday decor, flowers, or something holiday themed. Sometimes a helping hand is the most appreciated—and most affordable—gift for a party planner!
• Don’t skip the office party. Plan to make an appearance and have a good time.
• Don’t forget to ask about your guests’ food preferences and dietary restrictions—and try to make at least one dish they can eat.
• Don’t cry over spilled wine. Stop fretting over whether or not your napkins match the tablecloth—just enjoy the company and the festivities, and be glad that holiday stress comes only once a year! If guests arrive early, ask for their assistance in getting last-minute things ready.
As the holidays approach, there are so many things that can fill a to-do list that it’s easy to forget to enjoy the moment. Before you shop for cards, gifts, and ingredients for the huge dinner party, take some time to focus on what’s really important and refresh your spirit. Then focus on maintaining the good manners that are important during the holiday season.