Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dos and Donts of Holiday Parties

Holiday parties are like weddings: if you’ve gone to the trouble of dressing up, buying gifts, and suffering whatever indignities the hosts have thrust upon you (singing carols, arbitrary New Years countdowns, and “secret” Santa games included) you deserve to go home with someone, or at least a phone number. To that end, here’s a helpful guide to Dos and Donts of holiday parties:


Do: Put thought into a gift. A bottle of booze is always easy, and fail-safe, but you may be rewarded if you take the time to pick out something unique, funny, or special for your hosts or to give away. Instead of being The Girl Who Loves Scotch, you can be The Girl Who Saved the Party (with her carefully curated playlist of the year’s best dance music). 

Don’t: Bring a dirty gift. Even as a joke. Perviness is awesome, but there is a time and a place, and neither of them is near Santa or his elves. Women can get a way with a little more in this department than men can, and yes, wind-up penises that jump around are both inexpensive and hilarious, as are risqué playing cards, but it is unlikely that being remembered as “the one who did their Secret Santa shopping at a sex shop” will work in your favor.

Wear comfortable shoes. Can’t stress this enough. If it’s a party in someone’s home, wear your boots and bring your nice shoes in a bag. If it's at a restaurant or club, do the same thing and coat check it, or just grin and bear it through the snow and cold until you reach your destination. Dancing is the key holiday mating ritual. You need feet that are both dry and appropriately shod to fully exercise your right to get down.

Don’t: Wear anything too provocative, aka slutty. While holiday parties can, and should get a little wild, this is ultimately a time when people are thinking about family and togetherness and Scrooge McDuck. Maybe keep the sexy under control until grandma goes to bed, or at least until she’s had enough champagne not to notice. The whole fun is wondering what’s underneath that Christmas sweater--a representation of all those wild, impolite yearnings, encased restrictively in a conservative little shell. Like the Twilight movies--that’s sexy stuff.

Do: Carouse. It’s the holidays, don’t forget to make merry.  The holidays don’t have to be all about others--don’t forget about you.

Don’t: Ignore the hosts. Many of the seasonal parties attend are hosted by our friends’ parents. This is really Partying 101, or basic courtesy, but it’s easy to forget to pay attention to these hosts. But they’ve gone to the trouble to throw a party, invite you, provide food and music, etc., actually invest some time talking to them for real, not just the perfunctory “hello” and “thanks for having me.” Making that extra and sincere effort can work wonders.

The above may help, but there really are no secret tips or tricks for success at a holiday jam. They are really just more opportunities to reveal the real version of yourself in perhaps the most amenable of environments. Like I said, these things are a lot like weddings: a little formal, a little fun, and everyone’s looking.

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