Wherever you are, and whatever you are celebrating, a well delivered toast will heighten any occasion. Since the 1700s, when people dropped pieces of spiced toast into wine to temper its flavor, people have been toastingĀ to occasions and guests of honor. On New Years Eve especially, good toasting etiquette will make you a great host or guest

Host is the first to toast

Unless you are asked by the host to deliver the first toast, do not steal the spotlight. If you wish to deliver a toast, one of thanks to the host(s) perhaps, you may do so later in the evening.

Rise to the occasion

In small groups, it is not necessary to stand up to deliver a toast. At tables of 8 or more, it is a good idea to do so. It helps you project and get the attention of others.

Start without a bang

Get people’s attention by standing up and announcing a toast. Do not pound on the table or hit the glassware with a utensil.

Be brief

The best toasts are brief, less than a minute.

Think before you clink

It is not necessary to clink everyone’s glass. You may clink with those sitting next to you, but there is no need to reach across a table. You may choose not to clink at all, and simply raise your glass instead. Clinking can result in splashing and smashed glass.

Don’t drink to yourself

If you are the one being toasted, stay seated and do not touch your glass. Once everyone has had a drink in your honor, it is important to return the toast.

Always participate

Whether or not you drink alcohol, it is rude not to participate in a toast. Toasting with an empty glass or with water are seen as bad luck, so make sure it is filled with your beverage of choice.

BONUS: Avoid an awkward New Years kiss

If midnight strikes and you feel uncomfortable kissing the person next to you, raise your glass to signal that such an advance would be unwelcome.

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