Saturday, December 18, 2010

MY SAY – Holiday Parties.

So I came across another advice column/editorial titled:

10 Things Party Guests Won't Tell You -By Shine on Yahoo!

I know you want to know how I feel about this article so let’s get to it!

THEY SAY: The holidays are here, and chances are you have your fair share of parties to attend. You know the rules: Bring a bottle of wine and follow up with a thank-you note.

I SAY: I have been invited to one holiday party. ONE. The hubby had two (the one, and his work party) We didn’t bring wine to either of them and no follow-up Thank you note…. SO FAR.
If you have to bring a gift or a dish to share, I do not see the need to bring a gift for the host on top of that –unless you would have gotten them a gift anyway. Let me preface this by saying I am coming from middle-America, average income level. The higher incomes have a whole different set of rules I am sure. But we are talking reality here.

THEY SAY: But what if you're the one throwing the bash? We talked to partygoers from around the country and found out what they have to say about hosting dos and don'ts. If you're planning to open up your home this season, read on to learn everything your guests are too polite to tell you.

I SAY: How about you have a party and people enjoy themselves no matter what. RIGHT. I suppose there is always one Elephant wearing Diapers in the group –aka Party Pooper.

THEY SAY: Put some thought into the food you serve—and how you serve it.

Any holiday party guest will appreciate being served a full meal, but if there's nowhere to sit and eat, it can be more trouble than it's worth. Either have plenty of seating and wineglass surfaces, or commit wholeheartedly to finger foods."

I SAY: How about TV trays?? I’m having 17 people over on Christmas Eve. The handy card table is coming out of the basement and I am trying to avoid making the kids eat in the basement. Which means there will be NO counter space without another table coming out of the garage. This is always tough, no matter where you go – who has seating for 20 that isn’t in scattered disarray? That makes it more fun. This year I am having the girls make name cards and randomly place them. Mix the adults with the kids because who doesn’t want to sit next to a kid jacked up on excitement at Christmas??

THEY SAY: Be upfront about the guest list.

"I find it annoying when people hide the guest list on Evites," says Agnes* from New York City. "I want to find out if I'm going to know people there or if I should bring a friend." She also wishes hosts understood that it's helpful for guests to know the size of the party, which influences whether they plan to drop by, be on time or arrange to travel with friends.

I SAY: I get invited to a party and I just worry about figuring out how to get myself there. Who cares who else is invited. You can count on the following people to be in attendance EVERY SINGLE TIME: A female dressed better, skinnier, prettier and getting most of the attention. A loud guy telling bad jokes and paying a whole lot of attention to the female mentioned previously. A couple standing at opposite ends of the room shooting daggers at each other, taking turns vying for attention from the female and bad joke guy to make each other mad. The person regaling everyone about their medical woes, childbirth or bad dental experience. (I’ll stop now, I do have normal friends…….)

THEY SAY: Make sure there's enough room for everyone to mingle.

You don't have to have a huge house to create a welcoming atmosphere—you just have to be smart about how you set up the party. "An overcrowded [food] display is a real turnoff," says Brynn from New York City. She wishes hosts would avoid a stampede at the appetizer table by creating separate areas for the drink and food stations as well as remembering to leave trash receptacles in clear view.

I SAY: Please do not come to my house for a party EVER if you agree. We just pack em in like sardines, and everyone stands around like penguins. I do have breath mints on hand.

THEY SAY: Make an effort!

"If you don’t care to make things festive, then don’t bother throwing a party," says Brynn. "The holidays are special, and should be treated that way." She wishes every host would encourage guests to dress up, throw on seasonal tunes and decorate the house. According to Maghan, a hostess should remember that lighting is crucial for setting the mood and creating a party atmosphere: "Bad overhead lighting is such a mood-killer! If it's at night, well-placed lighting is invaluable."

I SAY: FIRST - These people have never met my husband. We have been arguing about what game to play on Christmas Eve. I try to insert some kind of Christmas theme and he looks at me like I am crazy and my son flat out refuses to play any games at all. SECOND –good lighting – I can guarantee you that when I ask the hubby to replace the lightbulbs with good lighting for the party he will take the bag that is secretly packed under the bed and really leave this time.

THEY SAY: Don't forget about the bathroom.

Partygoers have serious gripes about the state of the restrooms at holiday bashes. Marie* from New York City says, "Cleaning your bathroom is just as important as making the perfect cheese plate or holiday punch. Nothing will tarnish my impression faster than a bathroom straight out of a gas station with empty toilet paper rolls to boot." Leslie* from Chicago also stresses the importance of keeping the bathroom stocked with toilet paper: "Don't make your guests have to come out and awkwardly ask for more."

I SAY: Yeah, I learned my lesson the last time. The prettier female at the party had to come out with her stockings around her feet asking for toilet paper… it was just, well a bad situation…..Apparently Marie and Leslie don’t have nice ASSES.

THEY SAY: Don't try too hard.

Organized party games and icebreakers are fine in theory, but unless your gang is gung-ho about playing, they just end up making people feel uncomfortable. "Forced party games are a clear sign of desperation. If guests can't simply enjoy each other's company, you should maybe reconsider your friends," says Allie from Seattle.

I SAY: Does this count for husbands and sons?? Do you mean this is grounds for termination??

THEY SAY: Make it clear whether kids are welcome or not.

Agnes remembers one party she attended where a couple arrived with a newborn baby and the woman proceeded to breastfeed in the middle of the room. "That might be fine if everyone else has babies or kids in tow, but in a room full of 23-year–olds, it was very odd," she says. To play it safe, specify "adults only" or "kids welcome" on the invitation.

I SAY: My invitations say:
PARTY at My House – Non-breast feeders only.
(Is that why only women ever show up??) OR:
PARTY at My House – Bring your smelly, messy, un-housebroken kids, PLEASE, because they put me in the Spirit!!

THEY SAY: Keep Fido and Fluffy out of sight.

For an allergic guest, a surprise four-legged partygoer can ruin the night. Consider keeping pets in another room or having someone watch them for the night. Even if none of your friends is allergic, there's no guarantee they'll love your furry friends as much as you do. Maghan puts it this way: "Your dog is not that adorable. The slobber and scrapes [guests will be subject to] aren't cute at all."

I SAY: Maghan (people who spell their name in this way WOULD say something like that) GET A LIFE. With that said, I do have two cats, the hubby, my brother and I are all allergic to them, somehow the hubby and I have gotten used to it…..

THEY SAY: Don't be a neat freak.

Parties get messy. No matter how hard hosts may try to prevent it, people will spill their drinks or leave a ring on the coffee table. "I hate being told that red wine won't be served because the hostess doesn't want stains anywhere," says Brooke from Los Angeles. "If you're that uptight, don't have a party!" Brynn dislikes having to take off her shoes before entering a party. "Nobody likes walking around in someone else’s house barefoot or in just stockings. If the tenants downstairs will throw a fit over too much clicking and clacking, then perhaps you shouldn’t be having a party. If it’s your white rugs you’re worried about, maybe you can splurge on a few area rugs for the occasion."

I SAY: Ok, this is where my OCD kicks in. I am a neat freak, and I do secretly walk around wiping and picking things up. I REALLY don’t want shoes worn in the house, but on party occasions I leave it up to my company. I assume people wear cleaner shoes to a party anyway. If not, I will leave a mound of CLEAN snow by the door so they have to walk through it to clean their shoes off. PERFECT!

THEY SAY: If you can't afford a party, don't have one.

Chances are your guests will bring a hostess gift to your shindig—and you really shouldn't ask for anything beyond that. Luba from Atlanta hates when hosts ask her to bring specific items to their party or request donations to cover the party costs. Isabel from San Francisco recalls a particularly uncomfortable situation in which a host asked for financial contributions the day after her party. "It's tacky to invite people over for a party and send a follow-up email the next day asking each guest to contribute cash commensurate with how much they ate or drank. Just ask us to bring over some wine instead."

I SAY: I don’t think Isabel was invited to that party and if she was, she drank all the alcohol and ate all the food. I can’t afford to have a party, but then what would the hubby and I fight about for two weeks and what on earth would I have to complain about. GEEZ – party poopers – the best parties are thrown by the one who can’t afford them!


WhisperingWriter said...

This was awesome!! Hahaha!!

Cheeseboy said...

Ha ha! You are so stinking funny and your blog is totally underrated. Every time I come here I laugh, which is clearly not enough.

The TV dinner tray Christmas totally rung true. As did the wine thing. I mean, how many bottles of wine does one party need? Forget I asked...

Kate said...

Articles like that are written by people who spend so much time figuring out the rules that they don't know how to have fun with people. I would come to a party at YOUR house anyday (I'd even take off my shoes at the front door), but I think I'd just skip theirs. I'd be too worried about bringing the right bottle of wine, finding a babysitter for my unwelcome kids, remembering if it was/wasn't OK to play party games, and wiping my hands on their fancy guest towels. I'm getting stressed just thinking about it. I may need to crack open a bottle of wine (ummm...oops...that was going to be your hostess bad)

BeckEye said...

As to the first point, I'm always reminded of George Costanza's sarcastic suggestion when being forced to buy things to take to a party, "Why don't we buy them a couch?"

As for keeping cats and dogs out of sight, USUALLY you know if people coming to your party are allergic. If someone reacts badly, then go ahead and put your pet in a bedroom. But most of the time, party guests love to hang with the dogs and cats.

Marla said...

OMG....who are THEY because I seriously want to throat punch THEM....right after I have another one of my parties where I do everything the exact same way you do.