The holiday season brings cheer along with a flurry of party invitations.
While you may want to accept them all with open arms, your schedule and budget say otherwise.
So how do you politely accept a Christmas party invite without feeling forced into it?
How do you accept a Christmas party invitation politely?
The key is to respond promptly, express your appreciation for being included, and give a clear yes or no. If you must decline, offer an alternate get-together suggestion to still connect with the host.
“Thank you so much for the invite. I truly appreciate but I have a prior family commitment that evening. Would love to catch up over coffee soon in the New Year if you have time.”
Top 10 Gracious Responses To a Party Invitation
“I’d be delighted!”
Nothing conveys acceptance more genuinely than saying you’d be “delighted” to attend their Christmas celebration. Follow up with appreciation for the invitation or a remark on what you look forward to at the gathering.
- Sounds fabulous, thanks for including me!
- How lovely, I’m looking forward to it.
- Yes, I’m absolutely able to make it. Count me in!
“How kind of you to think of me”
Letting them know you find their invitation thoughtful before giving your answer establishes goodwill. You come across as touched they wanted your company.
Other appreciative openers:
- I’m honored by your invite…
- Thanks ever so much for including me…
“I truly wish I could…”
When a scheduling conflict or other reason prevents you from accepting, start by expressing your regret. This conveys that you were genuinely wanting to go.
- As much as I’d love to come…
- I’m devastated I can’t make it…
“Would next weekend work?”
If you’d enjoy getting together with the host, offer an alternative date that fits your calendar. This shows interest in connecting despite the invite timing not working out.
Other date suggestions:
- I’m sad to miss it but would be happy to meet up another time.
- Perhaps we could have a raincheck on that coffee/meal soon?
“I appreciate the invitation”
If you must decline the party invite, open by thanking them for including you. This establishes a positive tone before delivering the refusal.
- It was so thoughtful of you to think of me!
- I’m flattered you wanted me to attend.
“Sorry I won’t be there…”
Give an explicit apology for missing their Christmas event, regardless of your reason. This displays courtesy and care towards the host’s feelings.
- I hate to miss out on the fun…
- I wish I could be there to celebrate with you!
“This means more than you know…”
Let them know their party invitation truly resonates with you in a heartfelt way. This warmth cushions the blow of a refusal.
Other emotional responses:
- You’ll be in my thoughts even though I can’t make it.
- I’m touched you wanted my company during the busy holidays.
“Can I take a raincheck?”
If you can’t attend this particular party, ask for a future “raincheck” referring to the rescheduling of canceled plans. It keeps the door open for connecting later.
You might also say:
- Would love to get together another time!
- Let’s plan a festive coffee in the New Year.
“Unfortunately I’ll be…”
Share the specific reason that prevents you from accepting, using “unfortunately” to convey your disappointment. This avoids seeming indifferent about declining.
- Unfortunately, I’ll be on the road for work that entire week.
- I have to get through a huge work deadline so won’t have free time.
“I feel just dreadful…”
Exaggerate your dismay at turning down their party offer so they know declining wasn’t easy or done casually. It emphasizes how much missing their celebration bothers you.
- You have no idea how difficult this decision was for me…
- I agonized over having to pass up your gracious invite.
Replying to Her Invite
(How to reply when receiving a Christmas party invitation from a female friend or acquaintance)
Personalize your response by referencing your relationship, shared interests or past gatherings you’ve both enjoyed:
“Hi Jane! We always have such fun chatting over wine, so I’m thrilled to hear about your holiday wine tasting.”
Share logistical details like your plus-one status, any dish you can contribute to the potluck, expectations on dress code, or plans for safe transportation home.
Most of all, express warmth and appreciation:
“I look forward to the chance to connect in-person and enjoy the holiday spirit. Thank you again for thinking of me – that’s so thoughtful!”
Answering His Party Request
(How to reply when a male friend or co-worker invites you to his Christmas event)
The principles of politeness apply regardless of gender. Respond promptly, clearly confirm or decline the invitation, and suggest an alternate get-together if needed.
Where the difference lies is in the communication style. Keep it simple and direct with less small talk or emotional details:
“Appreciate the invite Bob! Unfortunately I’ll be out of town that weekend but would be glad to meet up in January.”
- Promptly acknowledge party invites to avoid appearing rude or disinterested
- Express sincere regret if declining while offering to connect another time
- Personalize your acceptance or refusal based on your relationship with the host
Final Word on Festive Fun
The holiday seasonallows us to celebrate old bonds while forging new friendships. Although you may not be able to attend every Christmas gathering, let your answers reflect the spirit of the season.
Be gracious to those who think fondly enough of you to request your presence. Extend good faith through prompt responses, clear communication and alternative suggestions to connect.
Handle party invites with care and joy this Christmas, treating others as you wish to be treated. That’s the greatest gift we can offer.