How to Get Out of a Holiday Party Early Without Being Rude

Is it time to pack up, have some fun and calm down early so you can dress up in a fleece Snuggie and watch The Money Robbery before bed? While this may not be the official motto of the holiday season, it does for me. I love to mix, toast and be festive – to a certain extent. And this moment is usually long before the end of the party. For anyone generally willing to bail out while the holiday evenings are in full swing, here are some ways to slip away gracefully.

Bring a gift to the owner (ess)

To reiterate the most basic principle of party etiquette: don’t come empty-handed. It’s not just for holiday parties or those that need to leave early. These are all parties. (But especially the ones in the season of giveaways, which will make you jump prematurely.) A little token like a bottle of wine, a box of chocolate truffles, or a damn cute Santa Claus butter knife set, or a holiday-themed wine glass pendants are just a ticket to compensate for your short attendance.

Notify the owner in advance

One of the best ways to leave early and without guilt is to inform the owner when you arrive that you will not be able to stay there long. (Better yet, send them a message about your time limits the day before.) That way, when you look in the middle of a party, they won’t be surprised, which will make them wonder why, and potentially get offended.

Get there when the party starts

While we never condone arriving early to a party (unless you are a Certified Best Friend), if you can only get to party for a short time, come as soon as it starts. This will give you relatively continuous time to chat with the host before other guests arrive. (Or, you can help them complete the customization by earning extra Chocolate Points as a Star Invitation.)

Bring a believable excuse

Some people may announce that they need to leave a place without the agonizing need to tell why. We are not some kind of people. For those of us who are more comfortable using padding for whatever reason, make sure it’s good. And “good” doesn’t mean extreme or dramatic. In fact, the more mundane the better. While the claim that you have a family emergency is irrefutable, it will likely raise additional questions that you may not be able to answer later. Come up with simple excuses, such as “I have a headache all day,” “I have to go to work tomorrow,” or “Our nanny can only stay up to 10 o’clock.”

Have a good time while you’re there

The only thing you don’t want to do is look bored or check your phone all evening. Both of these behaviors will signal the discerning host that you may not want to be there after all. Make an effort to be outgoing, contribute to a positive party atmosphere, and get the most out of the party mood before getting out of bail.

Compliment the owner

Who can resist praise? Definitely not one to spend a lot of time putting together a Pinterest-worthy juletide list. Whether it’s an egg gogol recipe, licking up Swedish meatballs with cranberry glaze, or hunting for shimmery decor, find something to praise. (Pro tip: Be in earshot of other guests, who can further confirm and verify that yes, this is the best baked brie they’ve ever tasted.)

Say goodbye imperceptibly

If you have to quickly disappear, don’t bring the fun atmosphere with you. Instead of approaching the host when he is in the middle of a group conversation, find him when he is relatively isolated – taking something out of the oven or tossing another ice pack in the refrigerator – to say goodbye. This way, you can avoid a weakening of the atmosphere or a domino effect when you leave early.

Say goodbye to the Irish

Listen to me: sometimes the leader can appreciate the ghost. While it may seem like peak rudeness to leave without saying goodbye to the owner, in some cases, leaving without warning may be preferable to an avalanche of goodbyes. Lifestyle blogger Joanna Goddard explains why in this post on Cup of Jo ; describing a party she had thrown, during which the entire second half consisted of benevolent farewell conversations. Even when dozens of guests were still at her party, “it felt like a mass exodus because we were absorbed in saying goodbye to every person heading home.”

If you’ve already told the owner that you need to leave early, consider sneaking away unnoticed or warmly waving your hand and blowing a kiss from across the room. (Note: some hosts will approve of this, some will not. Use your judgment and be sure to send a thank you text or call them the next day.)

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