No Christmas gathering, from a large office party to an intimate dinner with family and friends, is complete without the perfect toast. For most of us, that’s easier said than done—especially off the cuff. So this year we’ve gathered advice from the pros to help you prepare a toast that will leave your audience glowing.
Smart Rules for the Perfect Toast
Alexis Dent, Founder of XO Juliet, a toast and wedding vow writing service, gives us a few smart rules for toasts that are personal without hitting a sour note.
Don’t be afraid to get real. If you’re attempting to write a serious toast, let everyone know your true feelings and lay it all out there. Christmas is a magical time to let everyone know how you really feel, so take some time to truly honor how important these people are to you.
Keep it short and sweet. If you are going for a humorous toast, make sure that it does not drag on. Keep it under two minutes, especially for a Christmas toast at a meal. Everyone wants to dig in, and they’ll find your jokes a lot less funny if their food is getting cold.
Avoid the politics. Make sure that you nail your jokes and do not make any political or offensive jokes unless your family all agrees on the same politics. (HA!)
Get creative. Consider adding props to your toast, but if the you’re using funny props, make sure the crowd is right for your gags.
To help us see these rules in action, Alexis wrote us a sample toast:
I bet you are wondering why I gathered you all here tonight. Yes, that’s right: I hate you all and wanted to tell you how much I despise all of you!
But in all seriousness, I want to tell each and every one of you why I appreciate and love you so much.
Tom, I admire your work ethic and ability to stay calm in even the toughest of times. You are an inspiration to me and to our whole family.
Tiffany, when you smile I know everything is going to be just fine. With all the hardships that we have faced the past few years, just seeing your smile made a world of difference to me.
James, your laughter is all that I need in my life. That thunderous laughter is the most contagious thing that I have ever heard in my entire life. It can light a whole room on fire!
And to my dearest husband, falling asleep next to you is all that I can ask for. Every single moment that we spend together is a blessing and I look forward to all the misadventures and missteps that life has in store for us.
You all mean the world to me!
Now let’s eat!
Feeling reluctant to write your own toast?
Try some of the world’s favorite Christmas toasts and blessings, found in Paul Dickson’s “Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, and Graces.”
A Christmas wish-
May you never forget
what is worth remembering
what is best forgotten.
A Merry Christmas this December.
To a lot of folks I don’t remember.
— Franklin P. Adams, 1922
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
— Hamilton Wright Mabie
Here’s to the holly with its bright red berry.
Here’s to Christmas, let’s make it merry.
Here’s to the day of good will, cold weather, and warm hearts!
Once you’ve written your toast and the time is at hand, follow this sage advice taken from nationally-recognized etiquette expert Diane Gottsman’s “Holiday Cheers! How to Give the Perfect Toast.”
Timing is Everything. Toasts are most often used as a welcome and to set the tone. If you’re hosting a meal, give your toast at the beginning.
Get Their Attention. Instead of tapping your glass with a knife or raising your voice, select a few guests ahead of time to help you get the crowd’s attention—or simply stand up and raise your glass until all eyes are on you.
The Rules of Cheers! You don’t need to actually clink glasses after a toast, especially if you’re using your best glasses. It’s fine to simply raise your glass in the direction of your guests.
With these expert tips in mind, we hope you’ll have fun toasting your family and friends this holiday season to let them know just how much they mean to you.