Holiday party questions

We’ve decided to have a New Year party and are wondering if it is ok to send evites or if we should mail invitations. Is mailing them better?

It’s fine to send evites, making sure you include all the information you want to convey. You usually get a fairly quick response, and generally the evite sites automatically send out reminders for you to those who haven’t responded, and then a second reminder right before the party. The names on your guest list, and each guest’s response, generally is visible to everyone. Even though the evite site takes care of most situations, you still may want to call all those who haven’t responded, several days before your party, in case they never saw the invitation in the first place.

We’re invited to a holiday open house. Should we take a gift for our hosts and if so, what should it be?

While it is not essential, it has been a trend for several years that guests do take a small gift for their hosts, even to a large party. Do add a tag or card to your gift that offers wishes of the season and is signed with your names, since your hosts likely won’t be able to open each gift as it is given. Ideas for a gift could be a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates, or cocktail napkins, a great olive oil, a jar of jam, or even scones or croissants or something for their breakfast the next morning. If your hosts celebrate Christmas, your gift could be a small Christmas decoration or an ornament.

Is it necessary to clink glasses when a toast is made? It always seems awkward to me, especially at a large table when I can’t even reach a person on the other side.

No, it is not necessary, and in fact is not done at formal events. However, it can be fun and if everyone else is clinking you certainly would want to join in. If clinking isn’t happening, don’t initiate it – instead, simply raise your glass slightly and sip.

It has been traditional to have a holiday dinner with friends, but they are separated at the moment and it is our turn to host. How do we handle this?

Under the circumstances, it is time to change your tradition and either invite them separately, or forgo the dinner entirely. Just because you’ve always done something doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it in perpetuity, and they will appreciate your understanding at what has to be a troubling time for them. It’s fine to say to each of them that you’re skipping your holiday dinner this year since they are separated, but look forward to getting together at another time with each of them individually. And then be sure to set a date to do just that, to show them that their friendship continues to matter to you.

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