Just be Yourself - Sort Of
'Tis the season, isn't it? Time to pull out the good china, put on your best party clothes, and begin to invite people you would not normally talk to into your home. Sometimes you can avoid the china and invitations if you have already been invited to someone else's suaree'.
As the time rapidly approaches, however, it is good to know how others may 'see' you. Don't think that holidays are a time to be so merry that you fall over drunken in the hallway or wrap yourself tightly around the closest porcelain depository.
Tips to making your holiday pleasant and free from embarrassment are everywhere. Mixed company events are the hardest to follow. Try these ideas and you may find that you will be invited again next year, too.
Race should be for running
In the diverse and multi-cultural world that we live in, the first (and last) thing you should not do is bring up someone's race. Mixed company means just that--mixed and company. The color of a person's skin, the way they hold their glass, the accent they use are all interesting, but should not be talked about. It is insensitive at best to point out differences in people. If you do not know them personally keep the small-talk small. Talk about your host, their home, where each of you work, or families, but do not say something like "I have a lot of black friends." That is just plain unnecessary and very rude.
Everyone invited was invited
If you do not know someone, that does not mean your host/hostess does not know them. Do not give anyone at the party the third-degree. You are there to have fun and enjoy the party and maybe make some new friends. You are not there to be a thorn in the side of another guest, nor the security guard for the event. More small-talk or avoid someone you feel uncomfortable around. You will give your host the idea that you are not enjoying the party which will spoil it for him or her, too.
Alcohol is for everyone
Don't be a pig when it comes to the refreshments. You should always bring something to a party, but you do not have to finish off what you brought. No one wants to be around a boorish drunken person, especially during the holidays. If you are prone to drinking too much let your host know beforehand so they can help you to control your intake. Be sure that you listen to them when they talk. After all, they do have your best interest at heart.
Conversational topics to avoid
As it is in everyone's thoughts to have a pleasant time at a party there are some important topics that should be left off the table. Politics are a bad idea. There are many people who are passionate about their own ideals and to try to change their mind at a party is just not good form. Religion is another such 'in poor taste' topic. Everyone has the right to their own views on these two things and those views should be respected.
Children are also taboo. Unless you are going to say how well-behaved Suzy is, or how nice Jimmy cleans up in his nice suit, your conversations about other peoples' children should not exist. If a parent thinks their four year old child needs a pacifier, how is that your concern, after all?
Don't talk about work, unless it is to tell a stranger what you do. Talking about co-workers is boring and does not add entertainment to the party. Plus, it is also bad form to gossip so it should not be done.
Eating for pleasure not for sustenance
You are at a party to have fun, not stuff your face. If you think that you may eat more than your share of the goodies I would recommend you eat a healthy meal before going to the party. This way you will be able to hold yourself to a few chips and dip, or a tiny weenie or two.
Children should be seen and not heard?
Children are a joy and many holiday get-togethers include children. They should not be thrown into a corner, however. Before the party, get with your host and talk about the possibility of a mini-party that is child friendly. Maybe some snacks, and games that are geared for the kiddies in a safe room in the house. A party that is mixed with children and adults should be kid-friendly so that they are not treated poorly by the adults. Also, if children are around, it is best to keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum. After all, young minds are impressionable and we want to teach them well.
Whether the party is at your place or theirs, it is important to maintain civil conversation and behavior. After all, holidays are supposed to be pleasant, yes?