Christmas party gaffes - are you guilty?


Parents’ Christmas parties offer a great chance to meet parents you might not normally bump into at the school gate. But with festive frazzle levels high – and wine flowing copiously – it’s surprisingly easy to put your foot in it.

Getting drunk might seem embarrassing but it’s not the greatest party faux-pas by any means (unless taken to extremes of course). We’ve compiled a list of top party moans as supplied by seasoned veterans of parents’ parties. Here‘s our ten top gaffes to avoid you waking up the next day with that sinking feeling.

1. ‘Estimating’ your share of the bill

We’ve all been stung by the parent who turns up late, rushes off early and leaves a tenner with their neighbour, ‘estimating’ what they consumed and often adding that infuriating phrase, ‘And I didn’t really drink.’ Ask the Class Rep what the bill is and how much you owe and pay up properly before you leave so there’s no confusion (or resentment).

2. Showing too much flesh

You may be justifiably proud of your figure honed from hours in the gym. But could over-displaying it be the quickest way to make the other mums take against you?

3. Flirting with other people’s partners

This is often a by-product of Moan Number 2 but will result in deep loathing instead of mere dislike. What‘s astonishing is that given this is so clearly a bad idea from every angle, there will always be some who think it doesn’t apply to them.

4. Not RSVPing to the event

If you can’t come that’s fine – but do tell the form rep. You wouldn’t like it if you threw a party, invited 30 people and only five replied (and 20 then turned up).

5. Saying Yes, then leaving the Class Rep to chase you endlessly for your share

It’s bad enough having to chase people up before the event – but it’s even worse afterwards particularly if term’s ended.

6. Boasting about your children and their achievements

This may sound like the bloomin’ obvious but we all know how often this golden rule is ignored. We’re all proud of our kids – but this is a very quick way to get right up someone’s nose. Particularly annoying is that indirect form of boasting – as in; ‘We’re so busy all the time with ‘Tom and his football’ when everyone knows that Tom is currently doing youth squad training with Chelsea.

7. Future Schools or Universities

Initiating this discussion is usually boasting under another name. There’s no real upside as the other parent may have more limited options (or money) or both. Avoid.

8. Home Party Perils

Don’t offer to host a home party if you’re house proud and prone to hovering nervously over your beautiful possessions. It’ll only be seen as bossy and unwelcoming. Parents at one smart London school were astonished to receive an extensive list of instructions from their hostess prior to the party including a ban on stilettos in case they damaged her expensive wooden floor. And don’t succumb to the temptation to use the party as an indirect way of letting your fellow parents know about how successful, popular and generally amazing you are! Remove out-of-date or impressive-invitations and pictures of the day you/your dad/your dog got the MBE. You know it makes sense.

9. Talking …. and talking

Otherwise known as talking about yourself all the time. Surprisingly easy to do, especially if you’re nervous, but try to be self-aware and ask the other person about themselves. It shows you’ re interested – and gives them the chance to do what most people love best (which is, of course, talking about themselves).

10. Grumbling about the school and teachers

So tempting, particularly with a glass or two of wine under your belt. And it may even be merited. But it can often turn a jolly evening into a negative whingeing session that can leave others feeling anxious or cross. You never know what sacrifices others may have made to send their kids to the school that you’re busy running down.

Above all, remember to thank that unsung hero, otherwise known as your Class Rep or PTA, for all their hard work organising the event. Most people will totally forget to do this but a quick card – or a public thank-you on Classlist – will do the trick.

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