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Sunday, November 20, 2011

#32: Pre-Christmas Part 2: Oh, behave!

Guest Code

1. Be on time or up to half an hour late, but never early. The hostess might be unprepared and you will just be in the way.

2. Don't drink beyond your limit. You'll embarrass both yourself and the hostess.

3. If food is provided, bring a gift. A bottle of wine would do nicely.

4. Thank the hostess personally before leaving the party.

5. At a dinner party, you should stay for at least an hour after the last dish has been served. If it's a cocktail party, stay long enough to mingle with the guests.

6. Unless it's specifically a pet-party, leave the pets at home. No-one wants a soiled carpet.

7. Don't take a bite off your stalk of celery then dip it back into the guacamole again!

8. With guests you're not familiar with, stay away from topics like sex and (potentially explosive ones like) religion and politics.

Hostess with the mostess

1. When serving food on a tray, place dry food (crackers, sandwiches, cakes) on a paper doily. When serving oilier foods (brie or camembert cheese, chicken wings), skip the doily – your presentation won't look pretty if the paper is stained with oil.

2. With guests who overstay their welcome, say something like “Oh no, I have to get up really early tomorrow morning to do X”. Most people will get the hint and start moving!

3. Unless it's against your personal beliefs, it's polite to offer your guests alcohol, even if you don;t actually drink it yourself.

4. Don't be tense – your guests can sense it. So what if the sausages weren't served on your favorite square plate? No-one probably noticed.

5. It's a house party, not a neighborhood street party. So keep the music at a reasonable volume, especially if it's past midnight.

3 no-fuss party pointers

1. Get to the point on your invite. Be direct, like “Come to my place for tea at 4pm”. This way, your guests will know what to expect and not stay till midnight.

2. Serve simple drinks. Forget having a fully stocked bar and bury those Coyote Ugly fantasies. It's best to stick with just a few simple cocktails, like bourbon coke (bourbon + coke) and gin tonic (gin + tonic water + slice of lime). Throw in some orange juice, wine and soda, and you're set.

3. Chuck the chairs. Not enough sitting space? Don't worry about finding more seats. Standing allows guests to mingle much more. Try and place different appetisers in different spots around the room so that people have to move around to nibble.

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