Over the next couple of weeks, many of you may be hosting Christmas and/or Holiday parties or attending a party.  Maybe you have the entire family coming over to your home for Christmas dinner. Proper etiquette may help make the party a little less stressful for you.

5 Etiquette Tips for Being a Good Host and Hostess

Rules and Guidance

  •  Before your event, make sure the guests know the time the event begins and ends.
  • The host and/or should know the age and number of the children attending so that you can have a room or area set up for them.
  • Have a television ready for movies or appropriate  television shows along with some snacks and games.
  • If your party is on Christmas Day, establish a time for gift opening.
  • Make sure the parents of children are aware that there is a time for opening gifts.
  • Make sure the guests know where to park. As a courtesy, inform your neighbors of your party.
  • If applicable, mention that there is no smoking

Be Prepared

  • Take deep breaths throughout the day.
  • If you set a time schedule, start on time.
  • As the host or hostess, make sure all of your personal things are done at least a full hour before the party begins.
  • This includes being ready to receive your guests.
  • Make sure the bathrooms are stocked.
  • Ensure that any room that are not open to guests are closed off.
  • Take an outside look and walk through the front door like you are a guest to get a visual of what your guests will see upon arriving.
  • Make the entrance inviting with some fresh flowers in the hall or foyer.
  • Designate friends and family for particular jobs, like keeping the water cooler filled, keeping the appetizer trays full, and tending to the guests. It’s ok to have
  • Some soft music playing in the background is quite elegant.


  • Either the host, hostess, or a designated person(s) should greet each guest at the door upon arrival.
  • Make sure you and anyone helping you eat prior to the guests arriving.
  • Have a designated area or coat rack set up for coats and hats.
  • The greeter should tell the guests where the hostess is within the home and where the drinks and appetizer areas are located.
  • Upon arrival, the greeters should let the guests know the schedule for the event such as gift opening and dinner time.
  • If the guests bring gifts for the hostess, have a nicely decorated basket or box dedicated for the gifts at the door.
  • The host or hostess should make sure to have flower vases prefilled with water for flowers from guests.


  • The hostess should know where the guests will sit prior to arriving at the table.
  • If you are cooking or having the food catered, make sure the food is ready before the first guest arrives.
  • Decorate the tables with simple, beautiful decorations, but do not the overwhelm tables.
  • Make sure the food is labeled in case there are people with food allergies.
  • Unless it is a catered, black tie event, guests can begin eating once they get their food and sit down.
  • Announce there will be no no cell phones at the table.


  • A good hostess takes good care of her guests.
  • However, some hostesses go overboard and forget to eat or take a break.
  • Some forget to enjoy themselves at their own events.
  • Hostesses should build in time to sit and chat with their guests.
  • They should have another host, hostess, or designed person to help the guests when you are taking a break.
  • Do not spend the entire time running around and not enjoy the party that you organized.
  • Allow the guests to serve themselves.
  • Relax and enjoy all of your planning and preparation.
  • Upon departing, be sure to thank the guests for coming.