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The day after a party a gracious guest will follow up with a thank you note or phone call. Do this within 1-2 days so your appreciation does not seem stale. The formula for a thank you looks like this:

Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Lisa Lou

December Leftover New Year’s Eve Party Ideas

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

Decor Ideas:

1. I could give ideas for a traditional New Year’s Eve party but let me tell you what we did in my family for many years. When my husband and I were young parents, the conversation of what we would do for New Year’s Eve was always a source of difficulty. Restaurants seemed to have set menus that were expensive and not what we enjoyed. Even more daunting was trying to find a babysitter that did not have plans. Never one to let an obstacle get in our way of fun, we created an annual Leftover New Year’s Eve party. By the time NYE rolled around, I was exhausted from entertaining, but I did not mind opening our home one last time for the year if my guests could help carry the load. Since many of our friends were in the same stage of life as we were, the party was a smashing success.

2. Friends and their children (any age) were invited. Guests were encouraged to arrive in their pajamas. This was fun for the children and the adults. It was also practical, because most of the parents put their children to bed in one of our spare rooms. So, part of the décor was the attire!

3. Every guest brought a dish. To ensure I had everything covered, on the invitation I asked for a specific item. “Please Bring: A Meat.” “Please Bring: A Dessert.” I let them choose what they wanted to provide, but by giving them a category I knew I had everything I needed. I also encouraged them to bring leftovers from Christmas. On our buffet table we had half eaten Tupperware meals scattered everywhere. We supplied the drinks.

4. My centerpiece was provided each year by my mom. Her birthday is NYE, so this was always a fun party for her. She would save the turkey carcass from our Christmas dinner. As you can imagine, it looked awful! She would embellish it with olives and sprigs of herbs. This party was about getting rid of everything that was leftover from Christmas, along with the rest of the year. To say it was a tacky event would be an understatement. This is also what made it so fun!

5. With a young son in the house, I had odd numbers of paper plates and napkins from every child’s party throughout the year: Valentine’s Day paper plates from school parties; birthday party napkins, etc. I pulled out everything I had leftover from the past year. All my plates, napkins, and utensils were paper or plastic. No nice plates and utensils at this event! Setting all of this around the table also helped form the decorations for the evening.

6. Party Favors: I had noise makers that we handed out to ring in the New Year, and these served as the party favors. Our Leftover New Year’s Eve parties may have been a little trashy, but it was always the best event of the year!

Spotify Playlist for Leftover New Year's Eve Party.

Menu Ideas:

All recipes come courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

Taste Tests for the menu ideas come out every Friday, so if you do not see the one you're looking for now, be sure to keep checking back here or on our Instagram.

December Leftover New Year’s Eve Menu:

December Leftover New Years
Download PDF • 1.77MB

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