'Tis the season for Christmas parties - and the potential for all kinds of social mis-steps.
"The season can bring a lot of stress between shopping, hosting family, cooking meals, decorating, and travel," explains etiquette expert Diane Gottsman. "People are overwhelmed and their mind tends to wander, often resulting in rude behavior they might not normally engage in."
Check out this list of party faux pas, and avoid being that person who everyone remembers - for all the wrong reasons.
1. Ignoring the invitation
This shows not only disregard for your host, it means they have to chase you up for a response. The host needs to know how many people are coming, so they can properly plan and cater for the party.
2. Bringing extra people
If the invitation doesn’t specifically mention partners, don’t turn up with an extra guest. Your host has carefully planned their party, and will have considered their guests, catering and space.
3. Bringing kids when they’re not invited
Some parties might be adult-only affairs for various reasons. The location might be unsuitable or your host may not have a child-friendly home. Don’t put the host on the spot. Hire a babysitter and enjoy a kid-free night.
4. Arriving early
Turn up early and you could be cooling your heels on your own until other guest arrive. Worse still, you might catch your host unawares – or straight out of the shower. Arriving up to 10 minutes late is perfectly acceptable.
5. Turning up sick
Stay home in bed. Nothing kills a party faster than a germ fest – or a gloomy guest. "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 Gottsman.
6. Showing up empty handed
Bring something for the host – even if they specify otherwise. Luxury Christmas sweet treats are always welcome.
7. Being on your mobile all night
Avoid constantly checking your phone or texting. Instead, use the party as an opportunity to switch off and engage properly with other people. Staring at a phone all night is rude.
8. Using social media inappropriately
Don’t presume that you can post photos to social media, especially if they are pictures of other guests or your host’s home. If you’re not sure, politely ask your host if they’re happy for you to share on social media – publicly or privately. Also, avoid posting pictures of other people that might be unflattering or could cause them embarrassment. You don’t know who might see the photos.
9. Wandering through the home
Don’t use a visit to the bathroom as an opportunity to peek into bedrooms or other areas of the home. It’s an invasion of your host’s privacy.
10. Not using a coaster
If your host has provided coasters, make sure you use them. Avoid leaving your drink on a wooden surface as it can stain.
11. Overstaying your welcome
Take your cues from your hosts. If they start tidying up, putting on lights or turning the music off, it’s time to say your goodbyes - and thank yous.