fancy holiday parties

Renata’s Guide to Fancy Holiday Parties

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! For most people, that means spending lots of time with other humans, even if you don’t want to. If you’re like me and would usually be hiding from the world on your couch, but somehow find yourself agreeing to go to a holiday party, have no fear! Here is my Guide to fancy holiday parties.

So you’ve been invited to a holiday party, what now? *nondescript guy shrugs to the camera*

First thing’s first, you have to respond to the invitation. As everyone knows, the best way to respond to a party reservation is when you are just about to go into an important meeting or are doing it quickly on your phone when you have somewhere to be. Will you fill in the online RSVP form correctly? The only right answer is to assume that you did and find out in your confirmation email that you definitely did not.

Now that you’re going (at least probably, that confirmation email did NOT sound promising), you need a new outfit! This is one of the only times during the year that you can justify buying some clothes that you don’t really need. DO NOT BLOW IT. Go ahead and get that party dress that’s basically just like another dress that you have besides one small detail. Splurge on that nice suit. You deserve it because you’re going to subject yourself to “mingling” for several hours.

Try it on, hate it, return it, wear something that was already in your closet, and promise yourself that you won’t do the same thing again next year. You’re lying to yourself, but it’s okay, by next year you’ll lose that weight you’ve been meaning to lose.

Even though you never have kept that promise to yourself in the past. Oh well, you know what they say, 26th time’s the charm!

When you get there, if there are favors, walk up to them assuming that they are food. Be visibly disappointed when they are not. Begrudgingly take a favor anyway. Wouldn’t want to be rude.

Speaking of food, always put yourself in a position where you can justify more than one portion. Always grab two of whatever you like “for a friend” and eat both in a corner, hissing at anyone who comes to disturb you with a “hey, I haven’t seen you in forever!” or a “wow, I’ve never seen anyone eat that many crab puffs in 30 seconds.” Conversely, make sure that you actually have a friend with you so that they can grab two of what you like and will eat them with you while sequestered in a corner.

Make sure you bring a friend with you who has the same feelings about food and crowds as you do. For example, the only reason I was able to eat an obscene amount cheesesteak spring rolls at our fancy holiday party was that Julia kept asking for two so that I could have one of hers.

Julia, the patron saint of enablers. AKA one of the loves of my life (and one of my college roommates).

Julia, who is still salty a week after the party about the fact that they did not serve us desserts, who went out of her way to ask a server if they were bringing out desserts for us. The tipsy hero that none of us deserved. Bring a Julia™ to your party.

You know the saying, “every group of friends has one crazy person, if you don’t have a crazy friend, you are the crazy friend?” Similarly, at a fancy party, if no one seems to be making a speech, that probably means that you should. So definitely stand up and allow your drunk friends to convince you to make a speech to the rest of the party. No way this could backfire.

Always search for the perfect opportunity to naturally slip a nice innuendo or double entendre into conversation. Classy people love that. Bonus points if it is food related (because everyone loves food) or if someone laughs so hard that wine comes out of their nose. Okay, so that last one has yet to happen to me, but it is definitely a life goal of mine.

Now, I don’t mean some everyday, Michael Scott “That’s what she said” beginner-level nonsense. Something that really makes the person think, and then remember that joke and shudder uncomfortably every time they think of you. This way your classy holiday party self doesn’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight, but lives on forever in the memories of those people who probably worry about you occasionally.

Before you leave, remember that anything you can see is actually a party favor. The classiest party hosts typically adhere to the Chopped rule: “never put something on the plate that you don’t want eaten.” Or in this case, “don’t put in front of your guests anything you don’t want them leaving with.” So take a chair, some cheese out of their fridge, a centerpiece. It’s all up for grabs.

Oh, and if there are tons of favors left, they want those gone too, so be sure to take a handful. The most polite way for any guest to leave a party is with their pockets full to the brim. Be it extra favors or deviled eggs, make sure you take as many as you can and make it super obvious.

And that’s how to be the classiest guest at a fancy party this holiday season. I hope this advice helps you to have some safe fun and become the life of any and every party!

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