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Holiday Party Survival Guide


The holidays are time of festive fun, when people are getting together to celebratel. To help ensure we make it through without making any blunders, psychotherapist Hina Khan's shared her Holiday Party Survival Guide. Whether you're a partygoer or party thrower, Hina's got great tips for you this holiday season!

Holiday Party Survival Guide

Tips for the Partygoer

Take a Gift: A hostess gift seems to be no brainer. But what if you attend a last minute party and show up without a gift?

You should be honest and address it right away, so it doesn't bother you or affect your evening. People realize it's a busy time of year and are forgiving. Follow up your visit by sending flowers the next day.

It's also a great idea to have some extra wine or chocolate on hand to avoid any awkward gift giving situations.

The Art of Smalltalk: If you're a nervous nellie, Hina's three smalltalk tips will keep the conversation flowing!

  1. Ask Open Ended Questions: If you're at a party, one thing you have in common with other guests is you both are somehow connected to the hosts. So, if you're stuck for conversation ask "How do you know Steven and Chris...?" or "What are your plans for the holidays?" These types of questions don't allow for a one word answer.
  2. Frame of Reference: Keep the conversation in line with the atmosphere. If you are at a holiday party, keep the conversation light and positive - this is not time for a heavy conversation or over-sharing.
  3. Be Curious but not an Interrogator: Ask follow up questions, and be curious, but don't fire off questions - people may feel like they're under a microscope!

But what should you do if you're stuck in a boring or uncomfortable conversation? How do you make a graceful exit?

The best way to leave a conversation is to wrap it up with a statement like "It was so great to hear about your vacation," and then give some warning. Let them know you're going to get another drink, use the powder room, etc.

Helpful Hand: Nobody likes a freeloader. And most hosts appreciate a helping hand. Try to be helpful, but not overbearing - you're still a guest!

Scenario: You're at a hopping holiday party and the host is coming apart at the seams. You offer to help, but the host keeps saying no thanks. What should you do?

Be proactive and step in. Offer to take people's coats as guests arrive, help put food or more glassware out, etc.Basically, wherever you see a hole, fill it.

Tips for the Party Thrower

Plan Ahead: The more you can do in advance, the less stressed you'll be and the more fun you'll have!

Traditions: Holiday traditions are important to everyone, regardless of which holiday you celebrate! They're emotionally important because they give us a sense of comfort, predictability and security during the busyness of the festive season. And whether you celebrate Christmas or not, many people still have a ritual around that time of year.

So, what do you do if you've invited a bunch of people to your home for a Christmas party, but a few people on the guest list don't celebrate Christmas? Should you adjust your plans so they feel welcome?

Absolutely not! Especially because this is in your home and generally many people who don't celebrate Christmas love to attend Christmas parties because it's where they can experience it.

Develop a Thick Skin

Here are Hina's three tips on how to weather criticism during a holiday party.

  1. Choose to be happy instead of being right. Don't engage or feed someone else's negativity
  2. Let go of attachment. You've done your best to create a great party, of course you want people to have a great time. But if they're not, that's not your responsibility
  3. Remember you don't have to invite that guest next year.


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