holiday cocktail party etiquette

our savviest tips from the guide to living colorfully
December 08, 2011  |   column: WHAT'S NEW

holiday soiree season is in full swing. whether you’re planning to play hostess with the mostess or simply be a well-heeled guest this year,

we’ve pulled a few of our top tips from the guide to living colorfully to help you glide gracefully through the festivities.

we love to create a signature drink when planning a party. for the holidays,

we’ll serve a poinsettia, using champagne, cointreau and cranberry juice.

as a rule of thumb, plan on two drinks per guest in the first hour and one drink per guest each hour thereafter.

err on the side of generosity when planning hors d’oeuvres. dress up cocktails with spirited swizzle sticks.

we’re big believers in sending flowers to arrive a few hours before the party starts.

alternately, you can express your appreciation by showing up with some of our time-tested favorites…

a bottle of pink champagne, such as veuve clicquot rose.

a classic board game. scrabble, jenga and a gilded deck of cards (such as our special-edition gold playing cards) are a few wonderful options.

a vintage copy of elsa schiaparelli’s shocking life.

a whimsical cake stand, like our just desserts cake plate, with local treats,

such as a scrumptious mille crepe cake from lady m or a batch of frosted sugar cookies by meli & angi.

rsvp tout de suite: always respond to an invitation within three days.

if you are suddenly unable to attend, be sure to give your hostess ample notice.

never show up early or arrive more than 15 minutes late.

don’t arrive at a loss for words—read the paper or a news website (you can’t go wrong with the new york times)

and think of five conversation starters…

…but don’t feel compelled to channel oscar wilde.

the girl who listens thoughtfully and asks questions can be completely enchanting in her own way—and invaluable to the mix.

lastly, we love a girl who is the first to make a toast and the last to say goodnight.

that said, if you notice that the place has cleared out, the music has stopped or the hostess is cleaning up, that’s your cue to call it a night.

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