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30 Biggest Holiday Party No-No's

Don’t be the one everybody is whispering about the next day.

Ah, the holiday party. Unless you're a hermit, these gatherings are unavoidable. It might be a party hosted by friends, your family, or your office, but you're going to get invited to at least one holiday party this season. And it's either going to be the social highlight of your year or the humiliating disaster you spend the next twelve months living down.

Steer clear of these egregious holiday party fouls and you'll not only survive—you'll also be the most put-together person in the room. And for more rules on how to comport yourself, check out the 23 Old-Fashioned Etiquette Rules That Still Apply Today.

Forgetting to RSVP.

holiday party faux pas

Letting a host know whether you actually plan on attending is a fairly big deal—unless you don't intend on eating, drinking, or taking up any space.

Failing to accurately prepare your plus-one.

holiday party faux pas

Whether you're bringing a romantic partner or just a pal, make sure they know what to expect before they walk in the door. Do the hosts have any peculiar quirks? Who should they avoid at all costs? Is the fruitcake safe to eat? What about the "mystery punch?" Trust me: Holiday parties are often dangerous, so every couple needs a game plan. And for more dating advice, check out these heart-warming relationship sayings that will inspire your relationship. 

Being the first to arrive

holiday party faux pas

If a party starts at 5pm and you knock on the door at 5pm, your host absolutely wasn't expecting you. "Fashionably late" is another way of saying "on time." To master the art of punctuality, be sure you know the 15 Easy Hacks That Will Make You Show Up At The Right Time—Every Time.

Showing up with a cold.

holiday party faux pas

Nobody wants to miss out on the fun, but if you're sick and even mildly contagious, showing up anyway is the dictionary definition of selfish. Remember: This isn't about you feeling better. It's about not getting everybody else sick. Feeling a cold coming on? Here's how to stop it before it starts. 

Launching into politics.

holiday party faux pas

If the conversation naturally flows in the direction of current events, it's OK to wade into those waters. But don't you dare start there.

Over-serving yourself

holiday party faux pas

This one goes without saying. And if you're bartender? Well, be sure you know the 20 Cocktails Everyone Should Know How to Make.

Being the last one to leave.

holiday party faux pas

If it's just you and the host, trust me: It's time to grab your coat and call an Uber.


holiday party faux pas

Unless you've done extensive research on all the invited guests, it's a terrible idea to be the holiday party gossip. Bringing up a topic like "You won't believe who cheated on his wife" stops being fun the moment you realize you're talking to that guy's wife.

Staring at your phone.

holiday party faux pas

You're better than this.

Ignoring the dress code.

holiday party faux pas

You shouldn't wear your "ugly sweater" to a black-tie event, and vice versa.

Skipping the buffet.

holiday party faux pas

Nobody wants to look like a pig, but declining even a nibble from the party platter could lead to trouble down the line if you're drinking. Three glasses of wine on an empty stomach? Don't do it!

Bringing a first date.

holiday party faux pas

There's nothing wrong about coming to a holiday party alone, especially if the party is at a friend's house. It gets weird, however, when you bring a date that your host (and you) barely knows. Your guest is your responsibility. If he or she doesn't something really embarrassing, it's on you.

Sticking to your zone.

holiday party faux pas

You show up at a crowded party and immediately gravitate to the people you recognize, and end up staying in the same corner all night, having the same conversations you always do. Be brave: Find a stranger and introduce yourself.

Not thanking the host.

holiday party faux pas

Acknowledging their effort is just good manners.

Making really inappropriate jokes.

holiday party faux pas

Know your audience!

Showing up with Tupperware.

holiday party faux pas

Unless you live there, you ain't leaving with the leftovers.

Messing with the music.

holiday party faux pas

Can't stand all that Burl Ives? Host your own party then. Unless you're explicitly asked, it's not your job to DJ.

Dancing like nobody's watching.

holiday party faux pas

Sorry, but they are, and they can't believe their eyes.

Overdoing it with sugary "themed" cocktails

holiday party faux pas

They sound like fun, but with all of that alcohol and those fruity, sugary mixers, they're also a one-way-ticket to getting embarrassingly drunk.

Sharing wild party photos on social media.

holiday party faux pas

Pretend the holiday party is like Vegas. What happens there should stay there.

Bringing your kid (to an adults-only party)

holiday party faux pas

If children are welcome at a holiday party, your host will likely tell you in advance.

Bringing a pet.

holiday party faux pas

We know you love your pooch, but even the most well-behaved dog doesn't belong at a holiday party. Leave 'em at home.

Leaving with someone else's coat.

holiday party faux pas

Check the pockets. Always check the pockets!


holiday party faux pas

As much as the other guests would love to hear about your surgery or why you just can't get along with your mother-in-law, maybe those are conversational nuggets you save for another occasion.

Taking part in "Secret Santa" and then being a Scrooge.

holiday party faux pas

Rule: If spending cap is $50, spend somewhere in the realm of $50. Don't spend $5.

Thinking that mistletoe is an invitation.

holiday party faux pas

Dangling a plant over somebody's head does not give you permission to kiss them.

Dissing your boss.

holiday party faux pas

Even if it's not an office party, this is a bad idea. Finding out that guy you met over by the dip goes to the same country club as your boss isn't something you want to find out after the fact.

Talking over everyone.

holiday party faux pas

You've probably had too many holiday-themed cocktails.

Bringing a guitar.

holiday party faux pas

Trying to turn a party into an open mic is one of the worst party moves anyone can do.

Driving home drunk.

holiday party faux pas

You know why it's stupid to get behind the wheel with even the slightest buzz.

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