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15 Worst Holiday Party Fouls

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Veer/Blend Images Photography

Play Favorites

It’s OK to love your nephew’s girlfriend more than your sons’ wives, just don’t let the others in on the secret. 

Play Favorites

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Play Favorites

When the girlfriend mentions how she helped her mom clean house, finish up the holiday shopping, and cook the big meal, don’t remark in front of everyone, “Oh I wish I could call you my daughter. I can’t believe what I got stuck with.” A great way to burn bridges.

Let a Guest Go Empty-Handed

istock/sjlocke

Let a Guest Go Empty-Handed

Whether your child is bringing their new boyfriend or girlfriend home for the first time, or there is an unexpected drop-in guest on Christmas day, sometimes there will be an extra body around watching everyone open presents. 

Let a Guest Go Empty-Handed

Let a Guest Go Empty-Handed

As nothing is more uncomfortable than sitting around opening gifts while one person is empty-handed, it never hurts to have a couple of extra wrapped gifts on hand.

Leave the Pet Loose and the Food Within Reach

istock/globalp

Leave the Pet Loose and the Food Within Reach

It happens all too often — the family cat hops up on the coffee table, lured by the intoxicating aroma of smoked salmon and caviar. The dog, catching the scent of chocolate wafting off the yule log sitting on the sideboard table, jumps up with two paws and devours half of the dessert just as guests are arriving. 

Leave the Pet Loose and the Food Within Reach

Leave the Pet Loose and the Food Within Reach

And should this happen, it’s safe to have a pantry stocked with the fixings for fabulous last-minute snacks and desserts. Click here for more last-minute meal fixes.

Take More Than Your Fair Share

istock/wakila

Take More Than Your Fair Share

Just because you’re first in the buffet line doesn’t mean you get to dig into large portions of all your favorites without regard for anyone else. 

Take More Than Your Fair Share

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Take More Than Your Fair Share

Dining with kids or elderly guests? Help fix a plate for grandparents, and let parents make plates for the kids and get them settled before the adults serve themselves. And don’t even think about going back for seconds before everyone else has gotten firsts.

Pay Attention to Who Sits Where

Veer/Somos Photography

Pay Attention to Who Sits Where

Be careful of who you seat at the kids table and who gets to sit at the adult table. Don’t stick the two oldest cousins who are over 23 with the adults, and then the 19-year-old with the rest of the cousins who are 14 and under. 

Pay Attention to Who Sits Where

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Pay Attention to Who Sits Where

And don’t ever mix one preteen with the nine-and-unders — unless you want a sulky guest putting a damper on the night.

Drink While Frying Up Latkes

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Drink While Frying Up Latkes

OK, it’s probably wise to have one drink before you pile potatoes into a pan of hot oil, just to loosen you up a bit. 

Drink While Frying Up Latkes

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Drink While Frying Up Latkes

But holding a glass of whiskey on the rocks in one hand while tending the hot oil in the other? Not recommended. Liquor, fat, and open flames don’t mix well.

Let the Carving Master Carve

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Let the Carving Master Carve

In most families, there is a designated carver. While it’s often the host or the person who cooked the dinner, sometimes it’s a senior family member. 

Let the Carving Master Carve

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Let the Carving Master Carve

Should a conflict arise when the roasted dinner comes out of the oven, be the bigger person and cede responsibility to the person who is most capable of carving. But while Uncle Joe might have wielded the electric carving knife for the past couple of years, it’s not wise to have him carve if he’s already had too much to drink come dinner time.

Catch Yourself on Fire

Veer/Ocean Photography

Catch Yourself on Fire

There is a reason you ask for things to be passed to you when sitting around the dinner table. Don’t go reaching for that salt and pepper across the table or you might wake up the next day with a bit more than a hangover — a burned shirt or singed hair.

Undercook the Meal

Veer/Alexey Stiop

Undercook the Meal

Whether your oven thermometer is to blame or not, no one wants to serve raw meet to their family on Christmas

Undercook the Meal

iStock / Thinkstock

Undercook the Meal

This is where a knife and a broiler or microwave come in handy. Slice ‘er up thin, place the meat on a platter, and zap or broil it until just cooked. Santa just might give you a gold star for saving the day.

Charge Guests

Veer/Alexander Podshivalov

Charge Guests

Sure, throwing a big New Year’s party with fabulous music and free-flowing champagne is expensive, but promising a band and booze and then asking guests to bring platters of food, skimping on the live music in exchange for an iPod, and charging guests for their share of booze is just plain wrong.

Loiter Under the Mistletoe

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Loiter Under the Mistletoe

Just because you’re single and have no date for New Year’s doesn’t mean the neighbor's holiday open house is the place to linger under the sprig of green all evening long to solve your holiday date dilemma. If anything, you just look desperate.

Loiter Under the Mistletoe

Veer/Olena Mykhaylova

Loiter Under the Mistletoe

Be social and don’t try too hard! If you’re friendly and play your cards right, you could end up under the mistletoe after all. 

Be Argumentative

Veer/goldenKB

Be Argumentative

Along with holiday meals comes family tension, stress, and a difference of opinion. 

Be Argumentative

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Be Argumentative

Don’t be the person who ruined the meal by arguing over every little disagreement. And don’t awaken the sleeping giant by pushing your cousin’s buttons — you don’t want to be an instigator, either.

Gift Fruitcake

Veer/pancaketom

Gift Fruitcake

Just because you love that age-old, booze-filled holiday treat doesn’t mean everyone else does, too. Why not something more universally appealing, like hot cocoa mix? If you're going to gift fruitcake, don’t ever buy fruitcake from the store, dress it up to look like it’s homemade, and then say you made it. 

 

Show Up in Jeans for the Family Holiday Party

Veer/Blend Images Photography

Show Up in Jeans for the Family Holiday Party

Unless the invitation says explicitly so, jeans do not qualify as “festive attire.” Not sure what to wear? Call the host and ask what they’re wearing, or play it safe with black pants, a white shirt, and a holiday tie/sweater/jewelry.

Drive Home Drunk

Veer/Melinda Fawver

Drive Home Drunk

Do we really need to explain why? (That's why it never hurts to have a blanket, better yet a sleeping bag, casually stashed in the trunk.)

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Loiter Under the Mistletoe

15 Worst Holiday Party Fouls