How To Be A Gracious Guest

How To Be A Gracious Guest
Photo by holiday partner Lindsay Brown

Holiday season means spending time in the homes of friends and family.  Whether you're staying a whole week or just a dinner guest, here are some tips to get make sure you get invited back time and time again. 


RSVP-ing isn't out of style

Communicating if and when you plan on arriving is the first step in being a good house guest.  Even if you're a regular,  the holidays can be hectic for any seasoned host.  Make sure to reach out at least a day or two prior to make sure your arrival is agreeable with their schedule and that they are ready to receive you.


Order your flowers Online

While flowers are always a nice gesture, bringing them day-of means your host needs to stop in the middle of greeting guests to tend to them.  Instead, order them so they arrive the day before or early in the day of the event with a note thanking them ahead of time for inviting you into their home.  This way, your host has time to arrange them ahead of time.  Considering getting an herb wreath, a festive and unique alternative to flowers.


Embrace their traditions

If you're not acquainted with the host's traditions, ask someone who's familiar to give you a rundown.  Maybe you're attending and opening Christmas gifts at your in-laws' this year - is it a free-for-all come Christmas morning or does everyone sit around the fireplace and watch others open gifts one at a time? Asking questions like these might help you avoid awkward moments. Embrace their holiday traditions and make sure to thank them for allowing you to be a part of them, even if it differs from your norm.  


Be present

Keep electronics out of sight and out of mind. Make the effort to catch up with everyone around you, join in on the games and nibble on all the treats.  If you really want to come prepared, bring one of your all-time favorite games for everyone to enjoy.   If you don't have a game in mind, consider Taboo for all-around family fun, Cards Against Humanity for non-PG friends or Charades for Kids for the littlest guests at the party.


Come prepared

That is, bring everything you need, especially if you're staying overnight so you don't need to hassle the host for an extra toothbrush or another cell phone charger.


No Self-Guided Tours

Make sure to keep your belongings tidy and don't wander off exploring their home without an invitation.  That said, if the host is busy, don't interrupt what they're doing to ask for a private tour. 


Don't show up empty handed

Bring something that the group can enjoy together - like wine, dessert, an entree for dinner or breakfast for the following morning. This Christmas Tree Cake from Williams-Sonoma makes for a great centerpiece come dessert time and will sure to be a hit at every party this holiday season! It can even be shipped directly to the host.  We also love Blue Bottle Coffee so this Blend Box makes a nice contribution or housewarming gift.


Give a helping hand

Offer to help with the dishes, or setting the dinner table.  If you're staying overnight, make your own bed and pick up after yourself. Upon leaving, ask the host what they might need help with before you part.  Many hands make little work.


Thank Your Host - twice

Thank them before you leave their home and then send a thank you note, email or text message the following day to they know they're appreciated.