How To Be The Perfect Guest During The Holidays (Or Whenever)

December 18, 2015

Whether you are meeting your significant other’s family for the first time, visiting distant relatives, or just a family friend away from your loved ones this holiday season, you’ll want to be on your best behavior.

With a little help from the cats of Instagram, here are a few tips that’ll have your hosts begging to adopt you before dessert.

1. Get A List Of Everyone’s Names Beforehand

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“Hey there Bob, I mean, Betty—oh crap.” Photo: @12catslady / Instagram

At the very least, get your escort to the festivities to give you a brief run down, possibly with a one-line descriptions of each person attending.

Ideally, however, pictures would also be included (Facebook is great for this). As the outsider, everyone will remember your name and all the pertinent information about you. By learning their names in advance, you can make interactions smoother while earning some major brownie points.

2. Bring A Gift

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“Hey I got you a gift, it’s me!” is not an option. Photo: @ocrbass / Instagram

No, not a bottle of wine. Save that for a dinner with friends. Statistically, a significant portion of the group will be underage or abstain from drinking (for a wide variety of reasons). Instead, bring a beautiful box filled with durable seasonal fruits, like oranges and pomegranates, that everyone can enjoy as a healthy snack.

3. Be Respectful Of Family Traditions

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“So, this is like a family ritual or something?” Photo: @cats_of_instagram / Instagram

Whether it’s a different religion or a Christmas carol belching competition, go with the flow and try something new. If you start feeling particularly uneasy, quietly let whoever invited you, or the host know. Even the snarkiest family wants everyone to have a happy holiday.

4. Wear Layers

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Doesn’t he look relieved that he layered? Photo: @pecanthenut / Instagram

This point is the apparel version of never knowing what situation you are going to walk in on. Best to be prepared.

The host might be stingy with the heater or light multiple fireplaces while pumping you full of wine and hot cocoa. Either way, wear a nice shirt underneath your ugly Christmas sweater and save yourself from chills or pit stains.

5. Go Easy On The Perfume Or Cologne

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That time Uncle Jeffrey walked over. Photo: @animaldisplay / Instagram

The biggest mistake anyone makes year round is dousing themselves in a particular scent in the hopes of making others like being near them. Typically it has the opposite effect.

If you’ve ever walked past a candle store, you know that people are into more fragrances than you could imagine. What you think smells like paradise could remind someone’s aunt of a bordello.

You should also avoid asking how said aunt, knows the smell of bordellos.

6. Offer To Help With Chores

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“This is how you laundry, yes?” Photo: @pookieperks / Instagram

Be wary of your skill level here; don’t offer to set the table when you don’t know the difference between a salad and dessert fork. Stick to simple tasks like clearing the table, washing and drying the dishes, taking out the trash, etc. Don’t go too overboard, unless you want to overshadow the host by playing Mother Theresa.

7. Send A Thank You Note.

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Self-portraits are optional. Photo: @suzarte_creations / Instagram

Not an email, text, or phone call, but an honest-to-goodness handwritten note. Make note of the house number and the street sign or simply drop a pin on your smartphone. The dying art form of hand-written note will make its arrival all the more surprising and welcome.

Who knows, they may even invite you back next year.