ere we are, at the end of another year, and it's time for a New Year's Eve party and resolution making again.
How did midnight get to be so late? If your party starts early – say before 9:00 – it can be a long evening of drinking and socializing and trying to make up reasonable resolutions. If the beverages you are drinking deteriorate in quality (that fine first bottle of wine turns, somehow, into Ripple as the host’s supply dwindles and the cabinet under the kitchen sink has to be searched), your very first resolution may be scratched in the morning by the necessity of consuming some “hair of the dog.”
Here are some thoughts for New Years Resolutions:
Read the Happy Wino column and faithfully adhere to Terry's advice: if you are taking a bottle of wine to a party – make it a good one. If you are going to be a house guest don't take just one bottle if you are staying for a week. I recently had guests for three nights who brought me a case of wine. Now compared to the guests who stayed for over a week and drank all of mine, who do you think I will invite back?
If you're invited to a party, don't assume you can invite other people without first consulting the host/ess. There may be a really good reason why certain people were not invited and it is not your place to interfere. I am equally amused and annoyed by what I refer to as the “Golly Gee Girls” who extend invitations without asking the hostess if they can do so. These girls are, by the way, the ones who never entertain or reciprocate themselves, and it seems that they think they will get credit for entertaining if they add their guest list to yours.
If you know a potential guest is seeing/dating/living with someone – be clear whether or not that person is also invited. A handwritten invitation may simply be written to: L.A.Plume and Guest. A less formal invitation should be extended with an inclusion, “Please feel free to bring Billy or whomever you choose.” or, if not, “I would love to include Billy but I just don't have enough chairs at the table this time.” There are parties where only a specific number of guests can be included due to the manner of the function and expense involved; weddings are a good example.
When you are invited – let your host/ess know if you will be attending. The only exception to this is an open house invitation. Preparations take place for a party that involve time and expense. It is imperative that you RSVP if asked to do so. If you aren't sure if you'll be able to attend – notify the host/ess and tell him when you will have a definitive answer. If you're not sure if Prince/ss Charming is going to ask you out for a date that night, or if Aunt Martha is going to fall down the stairs and break her leg – simply respond by saying, “May I let you know by Tuesday if I will be able to attend?” This gives the host the opportunity to tell you when he needs to make the final preparations.
Know your date. If he calls and says, “You should want to go out with me – I'm so hot. Every time I look in the mirror I get turned on.” Either take him to Versailles and lose him in the Hall of Mirrors or say no. You had been advised in advance of what the evening will be like.
Take a host/ess gift; it can be small, doesn't have to be expensive, but should be thoughtful. It's a small way of saying thank you for inviting me. After all, someone else has done the work of having the party, you only have to show up and be charming.
Write prompt thank you notes like this one, whenever you can, for any little thing. We all enjoy being acknowledged.
Dear L. A. Plume,
Just got caught up on your last few columns. Can not tell you how refreshing it is to read what I myself would say on so many topics. I often fear that we are a dying breed and that all civility will go to the grave with us. As much as I know my children know how to do the right thing I think it is a bit harder for them to hold the fort on manners than it is for us.
But here's to you for waving the flag. Good girl!
Enjoy the holidays and have a very Happy New Year!