The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Windy City Party Etiquette: Survive Any Holiday Party

By Caitlin Klein in Food on Dec 21, 2010 5:00PM

Family get-togethers. Cocktail parties. Office parties. They’re coming at you this week, and you can neither run nor hide. Use our simple Windy City Party Etiquette guide to get through any holiday party, big, small, or otherwise.

1. Dress appropriately. Yes, we know. You look awesome in your santa bikini/red and white tear-away track pants/candy cane mini skirt. But when it comes to a holiday party, err on the side of conservative dress. It’s a festive time of year, true, but that doesn’t mean that anybody wants to see your ta-tas hanging out. Try to find out ahead of time if the party is casual or formal. We recommend neutral colors or black for both men and women, with splashes of holiday red or green in a scarf or accessory. If you’re going to wear louder colors, keep it simple. No need to blind everyone with your holiday sweater circa 1994.

2. Drink in moderation. A night out with the girls or guys during the holidays is a great way to blow off some steam. Getting plastered at a holiday party is not. Think of it this way: it’s not just about you and your reputation; it’s being considerate of your fellow party guests. It is nobody’s idea of a jolly good time to rub your back while you cry about being dumped for a third time or to hold you up while you stagger around the room with glassy eyes and wax poetic about Christmases past. ODrink one glass of water between each alcoholic beverage, and re-assess whether you need to take a drink-break every hour or so.

3. If the party is at someone’s home, bring a hostess gift.

4. Easy on the PDA. The holidays are (we hear) a common time of year for one-night stands, either because it’s a normal time of year to feel lonely or because the alcohol was flowing a little too freely. Ask yourself if you really know that person and where they’ve been. STDs are not a good holiday gift, but they do keep on giving. Eesh. And for you partnered-up party goers, please, wait until you are behind closed doors to get handsy. PDA in the middle of a holiday party is enough to make some people lose their cookies.

5. Don’t drive drunk. Just don’t do it. If your party is in the city, investigate public transit options or keep local cab numbers handy. If you’re out in the ‘burbs, the options diminish, but it’s not impossible to get home without a “wow, I probably shouldn’t have driven last night” moment in the morning. Guess what else - this one isn't just etiquette. It's the law. Make sure you have a designated driver or another form of transportation in case you throw back one too many Gl├╝hweins to get behind the wheel.

Be safe out there, and happy holiday partying from the Chicagoist staff!