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- Invite Clearly—be clear about what type of event your guests are being invited to. Include the date, time, location (and directions if they’ve never been there), host information, how and when to RSVP and any special information, such as pot-luck information. HINT: assign specific dishes to people, that way you don’t end up with five salads and zero desserts.
- Send Invitations Early—Thanksgiving, Hanukah and Christmas fall close together, so if you’re thinking of hosting a party, send your invitation out 4-6 weeks in advance. HINT: anything sent out prior to 6 weeks is likely to be forgotten, so if you jumped the gun, call your guests as a reminder and for the love of etiquette, do not use Facebook Event as your invitation.
- Be Welcoming—suppose someone you’ve invited has a friend coming in from out of town, welcome them with open arms and anyone else who is dragged along, invited or not. HINT: if you cannot greet everyone as they arrive, designate someone who knows everyone to be the official welcomer.
- Plan Well—know who is responsible for what and be accountable for what you’re responsible for yourself. Don’t be the reason the wine isn’t cold or everyone is waiting an extra two hours for the turkey to be finished. HINT: download a Thanksgiving timeline and actually use it.
- Plan For Outdoor Entertaining—you’re bound to have a smoker or two in attendance, so make sure you have your patio clearly lit so nobody falls off your deck or smokes where you don't want them to.
- Be On Time—if you’ve been invited to a holiday dinner, show up at the appropriate time or let your hosts know you’ll be arriving late. Some hosts won’t be too happy if you arrive early. HINT: if you happen to be running early, how about calling the host and ask if they need any support in the kitchen or in setting up.
- Be Gracious—as the host, if someone has given you a gift, be sure and thank them; as a guest, be sure to thank the host for the invitation. If your child is having a rough day, let your host know you won't be attending. Bringing an unruly child to a party is a quite way to ruin the party. HINT: call or send an old-fashion thank you card in the mail and if someone is unable to attend due to a misbehaving child, package up to go plates!