But holiday parties don't stop for your to-do lists. I already recommended that party-goers have a small snack a few hours before hitting a soiree. That worked out well for me this year.
Tip #2: Bring a gift.
Nothing says "thanks for inviting me to this fabulous party" like a gift. Don't worry: it doesn't have to be something enormous. A holiday card is a great start, followed by a token of your appreciation. Nothing spreads holiday cheer more than a gift, and I love giving.
My favorite gift to give to party hosts? A bottle of wine. And let me bust the common wine myth right now: you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a great bottle of wine. (Whoever started that rumor was on the outs with Dionysus.) Depending on your budget, you can find a great red or white wine for between $20 and $30. Guess what? You can also find a great wine for under $20. And hey, there are also great wines for under $15 and $10. Wine for every budget!
Let's not get ahead of elfin ourselves and give cheap, icky wine just for the sake of giving, though. Here are some suggestions, from me to you. My favorite white wine to give is Dr. Loosen Riesling, which ranges from $10 to $13 (might be slightly more expensive), depending on where you pick it up. I've found it at various prices. My favorite red wine to give is any bottle of Fetzer or Robert Mondavi (what you'll find in a wine/liquor store - not the $100+ bottle Mondavi, although that's nice, too HAH). Fetzer and Mondavi make wonderful whites, as well.
If you know what your party hosts like to drink, buy it! On that same note, if you know there's a liquor or a seasonal beer your hosts like, that's also a nice gift. Keep in mind, a bottle of liquor or artisanal beer can be pricier, depending on their tastes. (I imagine party hosts these days are not drinking Four Loko.)
On that note...
Tip #3: Let's not take being spirited too literally.
I've seen the sad demise of fellow party-goers who have too much to drink, and I've heard the stories. It can get ugly, especially at family parties. And if you're at an office party, it gets worse: you'll have to live with the consequences every Monday through Friday, from 9 to 5, if you've done something worthy of the wall of shame.
The easiest advice I can give is this, and it's simple: don't drink too much. If you're going to have a few - maybe one more than a few - and feel comfortable doing so, that's great. That means your coworkers understand your need to let loose and unwind, and they might want to do the same. But make sure you have a designated driver or bring your bike helmet.
So, a quick overview of tips #2 and #3: bring some wine, and try not to drink the bottle you brought.