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Holiday Party Etiquette

With the holidays coming up on us so fast, it’s only right that we talk party etiquette. I can only speak about Black party etiquette, so that’s what I will discuss here. I'm sure some of these rule can be applied across different cultures/ethnicities.

If you are invited to a party, gathering, dinner, or the like, there are some things that you just don’t do. If we invited you, we must like you at least a little bit. That can end quickly. Here are some general rules of Black house gatherings that expand beyond the holidays. You’re welcome.

  1. Don’t assume all Black events start late. Yes…a lot of them do, but you don’t want to be the late one. If I tell you it starts at 3, I’ve most likely accounted for the lateness of my family members. We move on without them. Don’t be tardy for the party.
  2. Don’t show up empty handed. Even if you are told not to worry about bringing anything, bring something. Even if it’s a bottle of sparkling cider. There will be massive side eye if you show up empty handed.
  3. If you don’t abide by rule #2, don’t jump up to be the first one to eat. First dibs are reserved for people that actually contributed to the meal.
  4. If everyone that contributed hasn’t eaten, don’t fix your to-go plate. Especially if you didn’t bring anything.
  5. We will feed the kids first (those babies need to eat!). Most likely someone will start making plates for the kids. If your kid is picky or has allergies, let the person making the plates know. Don't waste our good food.
  6. When you are asked to bring something, don’t always go for the cheap stuff. We need a good Pepsi burp, not a Cola burp. You feel me? There is a big difference between Mountain Lion and Mountain Dew. If it’s not in your budget, ask to bring cups and napkins.
  7. If you know cooking is not your forte (we get it), don’t bring anything you have prepared. No one will eat it. It will either be sent home with you or go in the trash. Parties are not the time for you to learn how to cook. We would much rather you bring something useful (to-go trays, trash bags, or aluminum foil), or something store bought.
  8. Always ask if it is ok to bring other people with you. If you are bringing extras, definitely make sure you abide by rule #2.
  9. Leave your feelings at the door. There will be trash talking. If you can’t handle it, go color with the kids.
  10. If you can’t play Spades, go play UNO - house rules take precedent in BOTH.
  11. If the host does not explicitly ask you to take what you brought back home (see #7), don’t pack it up and take it. Once you bring it, it belongs to the house. Your dish will be returned to you cleaned. But let’s be real, bring it in an aluminum pan. Yes, even the Twist Up stays.
  12. Clean up after yourself. Go the extra step and ask the host if there is anything you can do to help clean up. Hosting takes a lot of work. Being messy or not being helpful will guarantee you don’t get invited back.
  13. When you hear “So, what y’all about to do?” that means it is time to go. You are politely being asked to leave before the lights start getting turned off.

These are some very basic rules, but I have learned through my own hosting that not everyone knows this. Every set of house rules is different. Please feel free to add your house rules in the comments.



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