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‘Merry Christmas’, Festive Party Hosting Etiquette

By Janet Adetu

Merry Christmas to all our esteemed Readers!

It is the season for partying, having fun, making merry and sharing memorable times with family, friends and colleagues.

The year has been challenging, exhausting, occasionally stressful, but at the same time lively, bubbly and fun inspite of it all. I guess we have strategized how best to relieve our individual boiling points and make the most of life.

Port Harcourt Pleasure Park after the Official Lighting of the Christmas Tree by the Rivers State Governor

The year-end has finally arrived as we usher in the Christmas festive season. Yes times are still hard and many are trying to make ends meet but there is every reason to be grateful at all times. Some of you have birthdays and wedding anniversaries, year-end get togethers added to this festive time of the year.

What better time to get prepared and get your hosting and guest savvy skills intact. Whether you are the host or the guest your ability to take into great consideration the following guidelines will provide you with good leadership skills creating that most needed positive lasting impression.

Hosting a Christmas Event

Send an Invitation

An invitation should always be sent out to potential guests either in written form, by card, letter, email, text or social media, alternatively by word of mouth. Your invitation should be specific stating the purpose of the event, date, time, venue and dress code if need be.

Today it is common place to send WhatsApp invitations or evites that can be sent out to many people at one sitting. Furthermore guests have the opportunity to document their attendance almost immediately saving both money and time confirming attendance.

Expect a Response

Never assume that sending an invite is an automatic assurance that the guest will attend. Try to work with numbers by calling your guests a few days before to confirm their attendance. Leave a little room for contingencies regarding unexpected guests, don’t forget everybody loves the festive season it is an excuse to party without being invited.

Further to this it is a good idea when sending a written invite to provide an opportunity for people to confirm attendance either by RSVP or through social media event calendar requesting whether they will attend or not. Most people cannot be bothered to double check on attendance so end up overshooting the budget wanting to provide for excess. If your venue is specific to the number of guests to be catered for then RSVP is a must.

Dress code / Colour code

When choosing a dress or colour code add a theme to it so people will feel more inclined to follow. Colour coding works best with event decor for uniformity and uniqueness. Not everyone likes to follow this colour dresscode but try to pick a welcoming colour for all to set the tone of the event. If there is a dress uniform remember to go for an affordable range of fabric.

Choosing Food

Depending on the occasion, time of day and date, your choice of food should cut across both vegetarian and non vegetarian meals. If you decide to have a potluck party expecting invitees to bring along a dish, be specific as to what you would like them to bring, all to avoid duplication  and the chances that you may not have enough main dishes. Remember in the evenings not many people like to eat something heavy, with this in mind a variety of light food like barbecue and salad choices is recommendable.

Guest Arrival

As the host, guests like to see you first on arrival, try to be present at the entrance to receive your guests. It is also the best opportunity to acknowledge which guests have arrived as well as receive any host gift. Have a plan for early guests possibly a cocktail drink, water or snack, you may add light music, photo reel or any other means of entertainment to occupy them.

Setting the Tone

Guests will always feel welcomed when the ambience of the venue is conducive, comfortable, lively and happy. Your decor should be simple, elegant, and impressive. Music good or bad can make or break a party it should flow systematically cutting across the guest categories and age group. Likewise make sure that drinks are sufficient with lots of water to support.

Once you have decided to host an event you are deliberately taking people out of their comfort zone to attend your special occasion, it is your duty to play the perfect host ensuring the smooth running of this event. You will be glad you did and guests will always remember how they were looked after in the event of a future invitation.

Link Up Friends, Acquaintances & Family

Depending on how large your event is, there will be times your guests may not know each other. It is best for you as the host to be the first to initiate introductions. By this you give your guests the opportunity to network better and more comfortably. If you decide to do a table seating plan always put like minds together who may already know themselves.

Maintain Rapport and be Happy

Without a doubt it is very important you wear a smile and keep a cheerful face at all times. Keep the party alive by including side attractions or entertainment if possible. It is easier to keep like minded guests together to enhance rapport and social networking. The success of a party is determined by how engaging your guests are, it is all about the ambience, flow of communication and level of hospitality.


With good Party Etiquette you make the event more memorable and prepare yourself to have that Panache advantage. Be knowledgeable, expectant and open to learn new things always.  Wishing you the best of the festive season.

Wishing you the best of the Christmas Season.

Happy New Year in advance!

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