December is one of the busiest months of the year, when many of us can feel overwhelmed with social and familial commitments. But no matter how packed your calendar is, making time for celebrations with loved ones, work associates and your wider community can be a genuinely rewarding experience.
As you send back those RSVP notes — or more likely, click the “Interested” button on the Facebook event page — here are some modern etiquette tips to keep in mind for the holidays, especially if you want to get invited back next year!
Whether it’s for a big bash or intimate dinner, your host needs to know accurate numbers in advance for planning purposes. Replying to the invite in a timely manner, even if it’s just to say that you’re not sure yet if you can make it, helps the planner of the party.
No last minute texts
For smaller soirées, especially anything held at a private residence, or for a seated event, it’s crucial to tell your host as soon as possible if your plans change so that they can try to fill your spot accordingly; no one wants to sit next to an empty seat at dinner. But for sure take the time to call or email your last-minute regrets. Cancellations via text are not recommended.
Check the dress code
Unlike printed or emailed invitations, invites via social media rarely include information about the dress code. When in doubt, it’s always better to check with the organizer. You don’t want to buy a new cocktail dress and find out later that it’s a casual jeans-and-sweater type of get-together.
If it’s a party at someone’s home, you still should always bring the hostess a small gift such as flowers or a bottle of alcohol, even if they say it’s not necessary. Just because a gesture is not necessary, doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated.
Ask for permission before posting images or videos from someone’s house, or of other partygoers (particularly children). Everyone has different attitudes and habits with regards to social media, and it’s important to respect these differences, even if you’re someone who is comfortable sharing more of your life online.
There’s nothing duller than sitting in a room full of people staring at their phones. Unless it’s an urgent matter — in which case, feel free to step into a hallway and quickly deal with the work email or phone call from your babysitter. Try to keep your devices stashed away in your purse or pockets.
Oh — and don’t forget to thank the host before you leave!