Manners & Misdemeanors

14 Rude Things You Didn't Realize You Were Doing At Holiday Parties

You might already be doing number 14.

You know that moment, after the guests leave, where you turn to your spouse and discuss who made the party—and who drove you crazy? Don't be in that second group. Check out this list of festive faux pas to avoid, so you can make the invite list again next year.

1. Ignoring the invitation

If there's an RSVP date, respond on time. And if you're invited without a guest, respect that, says Elena Brouwer, director of the International Etiquette Centre. That also applies if you have kids–don't assume it's okay to bring them to an adults-only affair.

2. Showing up with a cold

"When you start exchanging hugs and kisses or touching food trays, you're putting your friends and family at risk of getting sick during the holidays as well," says says Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert and owner of the Protocol School of Texas. If you're visibly sick, it might be best to graciously bow out.

3. Arriving early

It's hard to estimate traffic and travel times, but do your best to arrive at the start of the party or soon after—never before, says Brett Galley, director of special events at Hollywood Pop, a party planning company. If you get there early, sit in your warm car or idle in the lobby and have a scroll through Instagram.

4. Bringing something that requires prep

We can't advocate showing up empty-handed, but avoid bringing something that will create more work for your host, says Galley. Choose a dish or dessert that's ready to serve, or go with a hostess gift. Flowers that need a vase are also a no-no.

5. Roaming through the house

It's impolite to start wandering the premises on your own. "If you need a restroom, inquire before traipsing through their home on a mission," says Sharon Schweitzer, international etiquette expert and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. And if the host doesn't indicate that the entire home is open, then consider upstairs or downstairs off limits.


6. Hogging the host

Even if the host is the only person you know, resist the urge to cling, says Gottsman. "Don't monopolize the host's time. If there are a large number of guests, allow him or her to engage with everyone.

7. Double-dipping and other food faux pas

Be mindful about table manners, especially for formal affairs. Don't nibble off someone else's plate or graze on the buffet line, says Gottsman. "Be cognizant of the type of party you're attending," she says.

8. Packing a doggie bag

If your host encourages you to take leftovers home at the end of the evening, by all means, pack up a small sampling. But don't help yourself to a big stack of cookies on your way out—and definitely don't back what's left of the wine you brought.

9. Staring at your phone all night

Holiday parties are for mingling and speaking with those you know and new people, says Brouwer. "Texting or answering your cell phone in front of others is rude."

10. Being a critic

Making negative comments about the food, décor, music selection, or other guests is hardly in keeping with the holiday spirit. If you don't have something nice to say, well, you know the rest…

11. Sitting down the whole night

If you see your host is getting overwhelmed or isn't spending enough time with guests, offer to lend a helping hand, says Gottsman, especially if it's a more intimate gathering.

12. Using poor social media judgment

Be conscious about the photos and comments you post on social media about the gathering, warns Brouwer. You don't want to inadvertently offend the host, or post a photo that is unflattering to another guest.

13. Stirring up controversial conversations

Especially in our current climate, conversations can quickly escalate and get heated, making for an awkward situation for all. Try to keep holiday party conversations lighthearted and positive.


14. Not saying goodbye

Always greet the host/hostess at the beginning of the event, and say thank you at the end, says Schweitzer. "It's easy to find them, say hello, and express your gratitude for the invitation. When you leave, spend 2 to 3 minutes to share a sincere thought about how much you enjoyed the cuisine, music, company, or décor," she says.

From: Woman's Day

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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