Be the Perfect Holiday Guest With the holiday season in full swing, there’s no doubt you’ll be attending parties and get-togethers at the homes of loved ones. Whether you’re there for a luncheon or staying over for the weekend, play the role of a gracious guest with these tips. Come Bearing Gifts Things are sure to get off on the right foot when you have the forethought to remember your host and/or hostess before you arrive on their doorstep. Whether you’re there for a long weekend or only a cocktail, be sure to bring a small token of your appreciation. If you need an idea, we love tea towels that are personalized to the hostess’s taste or sense of humor (find a huge selection here), fresh flowers, and candles (find several options here). Offer to Help Remember it’s the thought that counts. Whether your host and hostess need help or not, it’s always polite to offer. If they are stocking the bar, offer to get ice. If they are cooking, offer to help with the dishes. These gestures can go a long toward creating a relaxing, stress-free holiday for both you and them. Don’t Overstay Your Welcome But Also Plan Times of Togetherness It’s a fine line to know when you should stay and when you should go. If you’re spending the night with guests, have a clear plan of how long you plan to stay before you arrive. This will help both of you to plan for the visit. If you’re at a home for a party or gathering, be mindful of the end time on the invitation or the “feel of the crowd” (did everyone leave 30 minutes ago? did the hostess close the bar and turn off the music?) to know when it’s time to make a gracious exit. On the flip side, remember your friends and family are thrilled to see you and will cherish this time together (especially if you live far away and don’t get to make it home for every holiday), so plan for plenty of times of togetherness as well. Be Sure to Say “Thanks” Even if you were staying with your best friend from childhood or a sibling you talk to every day, it’s important to let them know how much you appreciated his or her hospitality. Within a week of returning home, send a thank you note or email to let them know you’re grateful for the place to stay and the time together. If you were attending a party, a note is still a thoughtful gesture to let the hosts know you enjoyed the event.