Not all holiday guests are created equal. There are inconsiderate guests, helpful guests, and guests that just can't seem to stay out of the way. The good guests get invited back year after year. The bad ones, however, may find themselves on the uninvited list next year. If you've never hosted a holiday dinner or event before, you may not even realize that you are doing things that may frustrate your host.
Be on time - The most important thing you can do to be a good holiday guest is this: Be on time. If your host has asked everyone to show up by 5:00 p.m., be there at least 15 minutes early. There's no such thing as being fashionably late to a holiday dinner; you will only frustrate everyone that is forced to wait on your arrival.
Keep your promises - If you've promised to bring potato salad, don't decide to change your mind at the last minute and bring a pie. Your host is very likely counting on your dish to pull the meal together.
Don't invite others - If your family has been invited to a holiday party, please do not bring one of your child's friends to tag along to the event. You may not think one more person will make a difference, but it will. Your host has planned out his or her event carefully. Don't blow it by inviting others.
Control your kids - For heavens sake, please, please, please, control your children. Don't let them run around the dinner table, ask for food that's not on the menu, or ride on the back of the family dog. You may find your child's behavior adorable, and it probably is, but this is not the time for little Timmy to show off his newfound acrobatic skills.
Leave pets at home - It doesn't matter how well-behaved your pets are, they have no place at a holiday function. Be a good guest and leave Fido or Fifi at home. Some people are terrified of animals. Others are allergic to their fur. You simply don't know how others will react to the presence of your animal.
Clean up after yourself - Use a little common sense and treat your host the way you would want to be treated. Don't leave your trash balled up on the table, use a coaster for your beverage, and pick up after yourself after you eat. There's nothing worse than a guest who expects to be waited on.
Don't spark a debate - Conversation is great, and is certainly a key element at any get-together. However, controversial subjects that may spark a heated argument or debate should be avoided. Difficult guests that can't get along with others, or want to mock others for not sharing their opinions, will not be invited back for a future event by most people.
Don't hover - As a host, there is nothing more frustrating than having people in the way while you're trying to cook, serve, or clean up. Don't hover. If you're in the room, offer to be of assistance. If there's nothing for you to do, step out of the way and be seated.
Know when to leave - Chances are, your host has had a long day preparing food, decorating, and setting up for the event. When it's over, it's over. Leave! Don't wait till your host is yawning or changing into pajamas before you take the hint.
Send a thank you note - It's an extremely nice gesture to send a thank you note after the holiday event to let your host know how much you appreciated being invited. After all, putting together a holiday dinner or party is a lot of work, and it's always nice to feel appreciated.
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