For the holidays


As the holiday season is coming upon us again, you will probably find yourself headed off to many parties in the coming weeks and months.  If you find yourself at a party held at someones home, be it a friend, a family member or even a co-workers home, there is a guest etiquette that is so often ignored by the invites.  It is something that can leave a host feeling frustrated and awkward.  It is doing the clean up at the party.

When you receive an invitation to a party, remember that you are receiving a type of gift.  A gift that comes with a vision the host has put much thought and planning into.  Your host has brought you into their home to entertain you and give you a place to relax and converse with others, not to you work for them.

If your host had bought you a gift of some physical item such as a bottle of wine, I can’t imagine that you would demand that they take it back and exchange it for a different bottle. If you ask if you can help clean up, and they decline your offer, then you clean up anyway, then you have just demanded that your bottle be exchanged.  You are changing the vision of what their gift to you is.

If you feel so inclined, it is fine to ask if you can help with anything, but respect your hosts wishes if they decline your offer.  Ask once, and only once, then accept the answer given.  Your host will greatly appreciate not having their gift changed.

The only exception I would give to this rule would be if you are in a family situation where you as a guest are also doing the cooking.  If your host is providing use of their kitchen then don’t even ask about cleaning up.  Just do it and say nothing of it.  Don’t mention that you have cleaned their kitchen, leave it clean and say nothing. 

One last, very important, rule to follow.  If your guest accepts your offer, do only the work asked, do not do more and don’t mention it again.  If you go into detail cleaning of there home, it could be taken as an insult as to how they keep their home.  Particularly if you point it out to them.

Have fun at all the parties this year and remember,

Don’t do the dishes.

Norman Cochrane