A Happy-Merry-Shiny-Bright-December For Us All

December brings an onslaught of things to do:  people to see, places to go, holidays to observe and calories to consume. How to pace yourself, and enjoy is always a challenge, but in today’s ever-widening multi-cultural world, how to be embrace it all as a gracious host, or be a welcome guest in all these different situations?

 Good etiquette is about making others feel comfortable. Long before ‘politically correct’ was Emily Post, an esteemed expert on proper behavior.  She wrote: Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feeling of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.” 

SO-if you are hosting an event: Offer a range of foods, include things like raw veggies, fruit kabobs or hummus on the buffet table. Similarly, keep a lot of non-alcoholic drinks on hand. Sparkling cider, flavored seltzer and juices, with pretty glasses and creative garnishes make every beverage festive.

 For décor:  Bowls of pine cones, fresh cut evergreens and spiced cider simmering on the stove create great ambiance. Start some paperwhite bulbs now: all you need are some shallow bowls, pebbles, and bulbs (8 for $5.99 at Home Depot)-you’ll have a beautiful and fragrant centerpiece in no time.

 Good lighting encourages mingling. Have lots of it, but consider swapping regular bulbs for pink ones (softer, everyone looks better) or lowering the wattage. Or-group pillar candles of different heights together, tie with a simple bow, place on mirrored mats throughout the space.

 Unless it’s an intimate group of good friends, gift exchanges are best kept for another time. 

Guests-first and foremost, RSVP in a timely manner. If ‘bring a guest/date’ is not specified, clear it with the host before inviting anyone else.

 If you-or your guest has specific dietary issues, let the host know in advance, and offer to bring something that would fit everyone’s plans.

 For all sorts of reasons, do not bring anything that must be eaten or drank immediately, unless requested, or cleared by the host. If you must bring something, a nice bottle of wine, tastefully wrapped is pretty much always a good bet. 

Keeping the focus on what is universal and shared: making new friends, reconnecting with old, along with best wishes for all in the coming New Year will ensure a good time will be had by all.