Holiday Party Survival Guide: The Do’s and Don’ts

Hostessing + Entertaining Tips Life's a Party Love the Holidays

It’s party time! The holidays are among us and the invitations to come celebrate are out. With so much to do many of us actually forget, that – yes, this is a time to play! So no matter how crazy busy you are take some time out to get out, dress up, and get into the fun of twinkle lights, cold nights and P-A-R-T-Y. But before you do, you’ll want to brush up on this holiday party survival guide first – because If you’re taking precious time out to have fun, you want to make sure you’ve got your game on.

Being a smooth talking, easy going, charm-oozing and confident guest takes a little practice or at least some reminders of what to do and what NOT to do. So whatever you do don’t go to a party without being prepared to be the best of you. Did you know 20% of holiday party goers have done or said something they regret – even worse 14% of office party goers have lost their job because of bad party behavior. Ouch!


Here’s your Holiday Party Survival Guide to make sure you stay clear of some of the Holiday party pitfalls. After all, keeping yourself energized, interesting and interested without offending somebody is a true art. So print up/share/write down these tips and be the ‘Life of the Party!

Here are some of the TOP TIPS to help you not just survive, but thrive this Holiday Party Season!


1. Bring a Hosting gift –  this is a must. Something creative, fun and festive like a holiday poppers, sparklers or even some apple pie moonshine.

2. Find and greet your host enthusiastically as soon as you arrive –  Let them know you’ve arrived so they don’t have to look for you.

3. Head to the bar and order up a drink –  only one drink.  Then alternate with sparkling water and lemon and something to eat.  I eat a light meal before a holiday party just in case I have too much fun and forget to eat.  Keep your drinks to one an hour alternating with the water – this will keep you sharp, hydrated, as well as help keep you safe to drive home.

4. Stand near the middle of the room –  Studies show that’s where the most fun & interesting people instinctively gravitate – that’s where you belong!

5. Hold your drink in your left hand –  Nobody wants to shake a wet cold one – at least no one you want to know.

6. Be a gracious guest – a holiday party is not a time to vent, complain or go on a negative tangent. Be mindful of your conversation – keep it positive and uplifting and you will be too.

7. Introduce yourself –  If you don’t know anyone – make sure they know you. Walk up introduce yourself and start engaging with confidence.

8. Ask questions –  If you find yourself struggling to make conversation – be an interviewer. Ask questions until you come across a topic that peaks your interest and theirs. People love to talk about themselves, almost as much as they like an interested listener.

9. Stay energized – Keep your meet and greets flowing. Getting locked into one conversation for too long isolates you from the fun party vibe and can wear you out. Introduce and invite new guests to join the conversation – think the more the merrier.

10. Leave while you’re still having fun – sustain your enthusiasm by saying your goodbyes before you bonk. Get to bed early, hydrated and safe. This way in the morning you’ll be ready to do it all over again!


1. Never show up earlyjust don’t.

2. Don’t bring a hosting gift that needs to be put in water, fed or bathed.

3. Don’t sit and plant yourself somewhere unless you really want to fall asleep on the couch.

4. Don’t talk about your personal problems, illnesses, issues – this is a holiday party not group therapy.

5. Don’t make a meal of the appetizers –  Holiday parties are not meant to feed you a full meal. Have dinner before or after to keep yourself from the pigs-in-a-blanket heartburn later.

6. Don’t try to help with everything or hang out in the kitchen – holiday parties are typically more formal. Ask your host if there’s something you can help with, then let it go and get out of the way.

7. Don’t focus on one person in the conversation – make eye contact and speak to all guests involved.

8. Don’t eat crab cakes, tuna tartar, sashimi or anything fishy – no matter how much you love your sea food. Fish breath stinks – you will drive fun and interesting people away in a flash.

9. Don’t forget your manners – Chew with your mouth closed, don’t talk while you’re eating, don’t hog the buffet, don’t drink more than one drink an hour, keep your criticisms to yourself – holiday parties are a time to bring out the best in yourself as well as others.

10. Don’t be the last to leave –  When the guests start heading out, the hosts are yawning and the booze is long gone – take your cue and bid your hosts a short and sweet farewell.

 Use these tips to keep you on your toes, help get that promotion, make your holidays memorable and good friends around you.  

Most of all make you the  ‘Life Of The Party’!  

XO – L

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