1. Don't restrict your options*. If you walk into a party telling yourself that you will only eat vegetables and only drink water, you may be setting yourself up for failure. If you're a moderator at heart (like I am), don't restrict your OPTIONS; work on your PORTIONS instead. Decide: How many times will you fill your plate with food? How many glasses of wine will you have at this party? Give your portions pre-determined limits, not your options.
*Now, if you're an ABSTAINER at heart, I'm actually going to suggest you DO set pre-determined boundaries in terms of options if you know that can work for you. What do you know is going to be a trigger food? Or trigger drink? What will you be happy (or satisfied) eliminating from this party?
Not sure if you live in the moderator or abstainer camp? Read this nifty article my client Leslie shared with me.
3. Be more interested than interesting. What I mean by this is: Engage in conversation with those around you! Be present! If you're at a friend's party, GREAT! You'll likely already have things to talk about. If you're at someone else's work party or don't happen to know many people, that's great, too, because you get to ask them lots of questions rather than hiding behind that gigantic wine glass! If you're talking to someone, ask what they're doing for the holidays or for New Year's Eve. Ask if they took any good trips this past year. Ask about their favorite show or how they're connected to the host of the party. Let the conversations fly!
5. Treat this night like it's any other night.** As we established at the beginning, you may be going to multiple shindigs this holiday season. Which means there isn't a shortage of events. Which means we don't have to treat it like the last party on earth. So why would we treat it any differently than another night at home (keep in mind I'm not talking about attire here, haha)? How many glasses of wine would you have at home? How many times would you make yourself another plate of food at home? Will this be the last time you ever eat a pig in a blanket?
**Now, if the event is particularly epic in some way (if it's being hosted in an amazing restaurant you wouldn't otherwise go to, for example) or you are only going to one holiday event, then I say do it up! Have fun! Don't be strict with yourself! Eat those pigs in blankets! You do you. It's when the "special" events actually become once/twice/three-times-a-week events that treating them like they're the last parties we ever go to can get us into a heap of trouble.
So, here's the bottom line: Put yourself in a position where you will have fun not just the night of the party but also in a position where you'll feel great the following day. Go at your own pace and do pace yourself. And, now, go get 'em, tiger!