The Party It Up Holiday Guide
Hearty partier or shrinking violet? No matter your seasonal party M.O., we’ve got the goods to help you on your merry way without suffering massive holiday party burn out.
The holiday season is rife with social gatherings. From office parties to family do’s, it’s impossible to avoid social calendar overload this time of year. But don’t go crackers just yet! It is possible to glide effortlessly from engagement to engagement bearing the perfect hostess gift, wearing the right outfit, and looking refreshed and fabulous.
Accept or Decline?
Your first order of business is to decide which gatherings you will attend and which you will not. You may be the type of person who refuses to miss a single thing. If this is the case, go nuts if you must, but keep careful track of your engagements with a calendar to avoid double booking. Try this handy on-line shareable holiday organizer by Google. It takes all the work out of time management, especially during the busy holiday season. And don’t forget to schedule at least one night for yourself, to relax, rejuvenate—and redo your manicure!
Or perhaps the life of the social butterfly just isn’t for you. If you find you’d rather avoid too much social interaction, festive season or no festive season, try to come out of your shell a little this year. Remember, this busy time won’t last forever. Release yourself from that hermit’s shell, but be selective about the events you attend. Gatherings hosted by family and close friends are must-do’s. It’s also generally a good idea to attend your holiday office party, even if you only make an appearance.
Once you’ve picked the holiday events you plan to attend, make a commitment to yourself to stay organized. In the midst of all the hustle, it can be easy to forget all about other tasks, such as holiday shopping or entertaining.
Always leave yourself time to prepare properly for a gathering, even if the prep time must take place in your office washroom. If you’re travelling from work to an event, bring a change of clothes—including fresh socks and shoes—and perform the switcheroo at day’s end. Also pack a spritz bottle of water to refresh your hair and makeup, a comb or brush, hair products, makeup, deodorant, perfume or cologne, a tooth brush and mouth wash. You don’t have to tote all this stuff to the party. Simply leave it in your desk and bring it home the next day.
If you’re leaving for a party from home, try to budget enough time to get ready at a leisurely pace, rather than rushing around the house in a mad panic. This might be an impossibility if you have kids, so enlist the help of your partner. Then indulge in a hot bath or shower and take the time to blow-dry your hair. Try to choose your outfit a few days beforehand rather than donning and discarding a dozen outfits. Chances are you’ll run out of time, panic, and choose a ridiculous outfit. Plus, who needs to come home to clothes strewn everywhere? A few holiday party attire tips: you may want to look festive, but too much flash should be avoided. Stick with sophisticated minimalism, which is found in little black dresses paired with cardigans, slacks and sleek blouses and, of course, fabulous shoes. Men will be most comfortable in slacks or dress pants and dress shirts sans tie, especially if that tie features a blinking-nosed Rudolph. V-necked sweaters or vests over crisp dress shirts also look nice on men this time of year.
Between gatherings, it’s key to give yourself a little beauty boost from time to time. Book a lunchtime massage or facial or treat yourself to an at-home spa night. The key is never to look drawn or overtired—that’s not festive at all! If bags under the eyes are a problem, invest in a good concealer that works with the natural tones of your skin to take on bags and shadows. You may also want to treat yourself to some new makeup, since many cosmetics companies tend to release dazzling and tantalizing holiday shades and collections. Just be cautious of too much glitz or sparkle. Glittery makeup can actually serve to accentuate fine lines and wrinkles. Go for a bit of shimmer on the lips, cheekbones, and under the brow bones, but stick to matte for the rest of your face.
What to Bring
Dinner parties and cocktail parties require a host or hostess gift, while more casual open houses do not. It’s your call for family gatherings: if you want to impress the in-laws, bring something thoughtful along. If your own family is more casual, just bring yourself. When bringing a host/hostess gift, a bottle of wine always works for those who drink, but don’t expect your bottle to be served with dinner. The same goes for sweet treats and baked goods: always imply that these are meant for your host’s enjoyment and need not be offered to guests. Other great host/hostess gift ideas: handmade ornaments, a live poinsettia, holiday-themed coffee table books, festive napkins with napkin rings, homemade cookies in decorative jars, or tins and fancy soaps or spa-style bathroom goodies.
To Eat or Not to Eat
This is indeed a holiday conundrum. You’re invited to a cocktail party and apparently there will be finger foods. Should you eat first? Absolutely! Especially when alcohol is involved, an empty stomach is never a good thing. Plus, you don’t want to show up at a party absolutely famished and end up stalking the appetizer tray all night—that’s just not classy. Definitely have a substantial snack or small meal before you leave the house. However, if you’ve been invited to a dinner party, you don’t necessarily need to take this precaution but you might still want to nosh on a few crackers before heading out, given that holiday party dinners can often be served notoriously late, but the wine can start flowing notoriously early.
One Cocktail, One Water
There are many reasons not to over do it on the booze at holiday gatherings. The first one is obvious: you have to get home somehow and unless you’re planning to take public transit or a cab, you absolutely must not get behind the wheel after a few too many. But even if you’re not driving, it’s best to keep your alcohol intake well in hand rather than waking up the next day with a bad hangover and some hazy and embarrassing memories. Try controlling your booze intake by drinking a glass of water for every cocktail you imbibe. If you suspect you’ve overindulged, there is absolutely no shame in leaving your car behind and taking a cab home.