Parties require fun and decorum, etiquette expert Nora Cline says.

New Year's Eve parties are known as a time of revelry, a chance to embrace the promise of a new day.

Just don't leave your manners behind. Whether your role is as host or guest, it's up to you to be aware of some party dos and don'ts.

For starters, when an invitation is sent to you, it is very rude to ignore it. Hosts depend on people to let them know whether or not they will be attending. Call or mail your RSVP as soon as possible. It is rude to not respond and then show up at the gathering.

If the invitation has "regrets only," be sure to let the host know if you are not able to attend if they do not hear from you it will be assumed that you are coming.

One of the most impolite things an invited guest can do is to make the host track down a potential guest for an answer although it happens all too often.

Don't arrive even a minute before the party starts or arrive 20 minutes before the party ends and expect to hang around with tired hosts.

All hosts love a surprise gift even your mother.

Be willing to pitch in. It is a good idea to ask to do a specific job (load the dishwasher or attend to the drinks, instead of asking the host "Is there anything I can do?"). If you make the offer to help and the host or hostess firmly declines, back off some people don't want guests in their kitchen.

Try not to tie up your host in a lengthy conversation he or she has duties and people to attend to.

Don't let nosey questions get to you, avoid discussing anything that may be offensive to others and don't gossip because chances are it will be heard by someone. Deflect their rude questions or comments by changing the topic.

Don't hang out under the mistletoe (unless you're aware of the consequences). If you break or spill something do notify the host of the mishap.

If the party involves co-workers, remember that your behavior will be remembered at the office. While you're expected to have fun, you must behave in a way that will not embarrass anyone, especially your boss. This means going easy on the alcohol, as we know that inhibitions go by the wayside when a person has too much to drink.

Boisterous and boorish behavior is a turn off at any party. Try to limit your drinks to two and always drink from a glass, and never from a bottle or can.

Hold your glass in your left hand to avoid cold, damp handshakes. Wine glasses should be held at the stem and sipped carefully. No matter where you are, avoid placing your glass on tables or surfaces that may stain.

Always thank your hostess before you leave and bid farewell to other guests.

This is the season to mingle, make eye contact, let your body language be open, introduce yourself to new people and people you know to each other. If you follow these simple but crucial pointers this holiday season, you'll probably be invited to parties next year.


Nora Cline is the owner of Modern Manners www.modernmanners.biz in Powell.