10 holiday party tips from the gay community: 2013 edition

Revisiting a holiday classic.

The gay men's chorus of Washington, DC

Brace yourselves. The Christmas and Hanukkah party season is upon us. Like it or not, you're going to have at least one invitation and party go-to, and if you're a 'gay', well, chances are you'll be juggling multiple events on several nights. It's just the way we do things. So suck it up, get your holiday sweaters to the dry cleaners and get ready to dive into the party season with vigor.

I'm here to give you some of the best tips for surviving and enjoying this year's holiday bashes.

[Two gay stereotypes I've found to be legit: they dress better and party more frequently than the rest of us. Who better, then, to consult for party advice?

[Christmas parties, holiday parties, call them what you want: they're not as easy to organize – or to attend – as they look. I'm revisiting Morris's helpful and entertaining article, adding a few updates as I go; you'll see me chiming in in brackets. -Jordan]

1. Let the party organizer know if you're coming or not. It's rude not to send a reply within a few days. It makes the party host think that you're holding out for another offer. It is not your business to ask who else is coming or what food or drink will be served. If you have issues with certain people, drinks or food, then come prepared.

[If you're a vegan, for example, maybe have a snack before attending Wild Boar Tex-Mex-mas Feastival. If a frenemy or straight-up enemy is attending, bring someone to act as a buffer. Avoidance is preferable to confrontation: think White Christmas, and not Red Wedding.]

2. Dress appropriately. Is it formal, semi-formal or casual? You can wear a nice dress shirt or a polo and sport jacket to just about anything, but if it's formal, put on a tie. Ladies can always get away with a sharp pant suit and heels, but if you've got a nice little black dress then put it on and dazzle it up with a little festive costume jewelry. Don't forget to layer, too. If it's warm, you can peel off a layer or two. Just don't leave your pants in your host's kitchen.

[Let's make this easy: holiday-season parties mean dressing smart or rocking a hideous sweater. Impose a dress code upon yourself. Let's not get too hasty with that last one, though. This may actually be okay, depending on Item #6 and Item #9.]

3. Arrive on time. Not early, and not terribly late either. If you're coming from another event, be sure to let your host know that you'll be arriving a bit late. If it's a dinner party, then arrive when asked. It's rude to expect your host to hold off serving or to keep a plate warm for you. If you can't make it for the dinner because of work or another commitment, just let them know in advance.

[You have a phone in your pocket: use it if you're going to be late to any party with a prominent food or gift-exchange element. Nobody wants to wait for you. Sorry, but you're just not that important.]

4. Bring a gift. Don't fret about being fancy or try to look like a big spender. Your gift can be a nice bottle of wine or liquor, a lovely scented candle, a box of good chocolates or candy, or a potted paperwhite or poinsetta. Attach a little tag or a card with some warm wishes.

[Particularly in today's economic climate, don't drop too much cash on a gift. We've all got bills to pay. How about a White Elephant gift exchange, which features used or cheap joke gifts?]

[I just went to a White Elephant gift-exchange party, and it was epic. Was the event was so successful because the hosts were gay? Can't rule it out.]

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