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Holiday party tips to keep in mind

The season of holiday parties is well upon us. Whether you're hosting or attending, there are some things to keep in mind. From bringing gifts for the host, to bringing your kids, to tips for throwing a last-minute party, there are plenty of dos and don'ts. If the food at the holiday parties you attend isn't to your liking, event coordinator Judy Bradley says don't feel obligated to eat anything "Most of the time parties are set up so it's more of a buffet sort of thing, rather than a sit-down meal, so you can get by without eating what you don't like a lot easier," Bradley said. But before you even get to the party, don't throw your invitation aside. Bradley said, "People definitely should RSVP, because they realize that the hostess has gone to a lot of trouble and expense." Bradley recommends bringing a gift for the host, perhaps homemade cookies or a nice bottle of wine. "I don't feel comfortable showing up empty-handed. I don't know if I'd go so far to say rude, but it's definitely a lot more thoughtful to show up with something," Bradley said. Bradley says don't bring the kids unless the host clearly indicates they're welcome. If you decide to throw a last minute party, caterers like Gene Costa can help you out in a pinch. Costa said, "Call up different facilities to see what the background of that caterer is and don't always shop for an event with where you're going to hear the cheapest price." Know how much money you're willing to spend on your party. Costa said, "You have to have something in mind because it's all about communication. Providing a budget will allow a good caterer to help provide you, we can get more juice out an orange that you can." If you're serving alcohol, offer enough food to balance it out. If you're drinking alcohol, watch your intake. You can also dress up non-alcoholic drinks to look like cocktails if that would make non-drinkers more comfortable in a party setting. If you're throwing a party, Bradley recommends having cab companies' numbers on hand, just in case.

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