In homes and companies around the world, seasonal festivities are gearing up.  Dinners and holiday parties will take place through the end of December; concluding with the New Year eve bash.  You’re asked to make a holiday toast at the party. Or, you volunteer to provide a toast, but you’re lost for words.  What do I say?  How should I say it?  Those are the questions you ask yourself – more than once!

I have listed here some toast tips that will help you construct and deliver the perfect holiday toast.

Plan Your Toast.  Write your words on paper and rehearse speaking what you have written.  Begin the toast with a brief introduction (thank everyone for their presence; family, friends, staff, management) as applicable.  Then comes the body of the speech, containing meaningful and poignant words followed by raising your glass (and asking the audience members to raise their glasses) stating happy holidays, happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year; in relation to the event you’re celebrating. The most efficient toast is delivered without notes.  But a note card containing a quotation and/or one to two main points is appropriate. Toast time: 3-5 minutes.  A two-to-three minute salutation is acceptable but no more than five minutes.

Enquire About Appropriate Attire.  You don’t want to show up at the holiday party wearing casual clothes when everyone else is in dressy attire.  Ask the host, hostess or the party planner for advice on what to wear.

Mention The Season and the Holiday.  State the significance and what it means to you.  Speak from the heart and focus on the holiday or event. Don’t apologize for anything; having a cold, getting emotional, forgetting to contribute.  Tell the host privately but not the audience.

Use Humor:  A little humor is good but don’t humiliate anyone, and refrain from telling off-color jokes.  End on an uplifting and positive note.

Know Your Audience.  Knowing the audience make-up, including prominent attendees, helps you to be comfortable while delivering the toast.  Is the audience family and friends, co-workers, staff, management? If the participants consist of strangers, don’t fret.  You can psyche-up yourself by thinking: these people have come here to see and hear me deliver the best toast in
town!

Know Your Place.  When will you give your toast?  The event coordinator should tell you your place in the program or in the party, but just in case this tidbit of information slips through the cracks, ask the person in charge.  Will your toast come at the beginning, middle or toward the end of the event?

Stand.  It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, stand while toasting.  Physical limitations are the only exception.  In that regard, if assistance is needed, please inform the party planner or ask an audience member for help.

As a side note: If, in addition to the season, you decide to toast a lauded individual in the audience, wait for the host to honor that person with a toast first.  If the host doesn’t plan to do so, go for it, while you have the floor.

The holiday toast is a time-honored tradition. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or extremely formal.  Your words should be sincere and heartfelt. Using these tips will enhance your holiday toast.  Thereby, you will come across confident and sound delightfully eloquent.

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