Expert Commentary: New Year's Eve Etiquette

Happy Holidays to all. The goal with my articles the past couple months was to help everyone maneuver through the holidays with confidence and class.

We covered many elements of holidays parties such as making a proper toast, table settings and dining etiquette, host and guest responsibilities as well as social skills for certain situations. As we continue through the new year I hope to answer more of the communities etiquette questions as well as convince people that etiquette is not being "snootie" and boring but rather, interesting, practical, and needed.

Before we enter the new year, many of us will end the current year with a bang. New Years Eve is a night that most adults look forward to all year. It symbolizes a new start, with many resolutions made and it is a great excuse to stay up late and party with your friends.

Believe it or not, yes, there is New Year's etiquette. Although it's tradition to drink champagne on New Year's Eve, don't let anyone leave your party that has had too much to drink without safe transportation home. No one wants to ring in the new year with a DUI charge or put themselves and other people in danger.

If you are planning a celebration at your home this year, make sure that you invite your neighbors. When everyone steps outside to welcome the New Year with pot banging, horn blowing, and singing, you won't have to worry about bothering your neighbors- they will all be there with you!

If kids are included in the party (since babysitters are in short supply on this night) you should plan ahead for how you will entertain them as the night wears on. While some older children will want to stay up late and may not need as many organized activities to keep them occupied, the smaller children will likely fall asleep before the ball drops in Times Square.

When you send out invitations, ask parents to bring their children's pajamas and sleeping bags. Then you can set aside one room in the house with kids' movies and where the kids can settle down and go to sleep if they'd like.

Another tradition in celebrating the new year is the midnight kiss. If you are at a celebration without a date, plan ahead on who you will be kissing that night if anyone. Although some people may enjoy being kissed by strangers, you always run the risk of insulting that person with your forward behavior. For couples who will be enjoying the party together, keep your midnight kiss short and sweet.

What better way to begin 2006 than with great manners. Following the protocol of etiquette will ensure that you can make a good impression every year.