Holiday Hosting How-To’s

The Holidays are a time to celebrate family and friends so make sure everyone receives the appreciation they deserve. To be the best host, and or guest, you can be, follow these Holiday Do’s and Don’ts as you celebrate your most fabulous holiday season yet

Here we bring you excerpts from Party Confidential, New Etiquette For Fabulous Entertaining by entertaining guru Lara Shriftman

HOLIDAY DO’s         

Holiday Cards

It may seem silly, but getting a jump-start on your holiday card and gift list is a must. To be thorough, look at your lists from the previous years. Make sure to separate people into categories (family, friends, co-workers, teachers, doctors, trainers, etc.) so you don’t miss anyone. Take the time to confirm all of the addresses, spelling, and proper suffixes.  It will save you time in the end and make the entire process effortless. Don’t wait until the last minute. Design and order or make cards early. If you are using a photo for your card make sure to schedule the photo-shoot in advance (2 to 3 months)

When sending out your holiday cards, timing is key. The ideal time to send your cards out is in early December. After that, everyone will be bombarded with other holiday cards. Or, if you want to make a statement don’t send out a Christmas card. Send out a card in January wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

For great holiday card ideas or help, check out for great online cards or!

Holiday Shopping

Shop as you see fit. There is nothing wrong with buying someone a holiday gift in August. If you see something that speaks to the person don’t miss out on the opportunity. Try and be creative with your gifts. Look out for gifts that the person is going to like, or for something they really want or need. If you get stumped on gift ideas, you can never go wrong with a gift certificate. Who can’t use an iTunes gift card? Or a certificate to your favorite store, spa, gym or salon? Remember, gifts do not have to be expensive to be thoughtful! Sometimes hand-made gifts are the most special gift you can give someone!

As some simple reminders, Always, always, always remove the price tag. Include a gift receipt. Wrap your gifts nicely. If you don’t trust your own skills ask the store clerk to wrap it for you or take it to a wrapping station at your local mall. Box, tissue, ribbon, and wrapping paper. Never forget to include a personal note, handwritten, of course. Make sure to keep a list of what others gave you and write your thank you notes in a timely manner.

The Perfect Hostess Gift

Knowing when to bring a gift is key; there are times when it’s ultra-important and times when it’s unnecessary. Follow my protocol below and you’ll never wonder again

In general, guests should always bring a gift to the host or person of honor. It’s especially thoughtful to do so when attending a party in someone’s home. If it’s flowers, then perhaps send ahead so the host doesn’t have to take time to deal with them at the party. If you bring wine or champagne, tell them you don’t expect them to serve it or send it ahead of time. Always remember to send a handwritten note post-party.

Large galas, office get-togethers, and parties en masse usually do not require anything cinched with a bow.  However, be sure to check the invite carefully, as it may ask for a charitable donation such as toys, clothing, or art supplies. Here’s the tricky one: if you don’t attend, do you need to send a gift? Many people say no, but I firmly believe that you should send a gift either beforehand or as soon as possible after the date, for events such as birthday parties, showers, and so on.


Make sure not to over extend yourself over the holiday season. Do not RSVP to an event if you are not going to show up or if you are going to leave after a short time. When attending or hosting an event know guests of guests cannot bring guests.

If you are on a diet or a vegan, eat before a big party or tell the host ahead of time. Do not be a high maintenance guest. Make sure to coordinate with your close friends; do not host a party the same night as one of your friend’s parties.

The holiday season is full of fun. Make sure to drink appropriately, be responsible, and do not go overboard. Dress appropriately.


First Edition Books or Restaurant Cookbooks

One of my all-time favorite gifts is my set of first-edition Nancy Drew books, given to me by Jay Penske, who owns the first edition bookstore Dragon Books.

A set of great cookbooks like Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, and others like Nobu by Nobu Matsuhisa, The Craft of Cooking by Tom Colicchio, Mario Batali’s Simple Italian good, and Giada De Laurentiis’ Everyday Italian, and no kitchen should be without Joy of Cooking.

Old School Games

Think Monopoly, Twister, and more. This is a fun gift to bring to a small gathering of friends because you can put it to use right away!

Home Bottle Service Kit

A bottle of GREY GOOSE Vodka

Unique carafe

Set of glasses

Favorite cocktail book

Personalized Stationary

Benneton Graveur stationary from France

Anything Monogrammed

Elegant Setting Southampton has the best selection of monogrammed items like hand towels, robes, cashmere throws, cocktail napkins, glasses, and notepads.

Chic Tip – A great gift is to send a host something that they can’t get in their home town. I love to send New York City’s H&H Bagels or Serendipity’s frozen hot chocolate.