Making Holiday Toasts


Making Holiday Toasts

You’re hosting a party and want to raise your glass to your guests
(co-workers, staff, volunteers, donors)… thanking them for coming…

Or find yourself at an event, hosted by your organization, company, or cherished friends …
and feel compelled to thank the host.

What do you say? What are the proper toasting traditions? Etiquette? What if I don’t drink?

The custom of toasting goes back almost as far as history itself. Ancient warriors drank to their pagan gods, Greeks and Romans to more gods, and early Norsemen drank to each other. Almost every culture practiced toasting in some form, and the custom gradually evolved into today’s toasts to love, friendship, health, wealth and happiness.

“Speaking from the heart is the key to a great toast,” says Michael Notaro, International President of Toastmasters International. “Consider sharing a personal anecdote or story that moves the audience to deeper reflection.”

The best toasts are those that are prepared… anecdotal, heartfelt, memorable, sentimental or lighthearted … and short and sweet.

Prepare your toast ahead of time. Keep it short and to the point, focusing your remarks on the toastee or the event being celebrated. If necessary, write out what you wish to say and then practice it out loud.

Who Goes First?
The host or hostess offers the first toast at a formal occasion such as a dinner party, and always at a wedding or large function. Around a dinner table with friends, a guest can propose the first toast and often does so to thank the host for bringing everyone together.

Stand Up.
Stand up, unless you are at a small, informal occasion. Everyone else remains seated during the toast – including the person being toasted – unless you instruct them to “rise and raise your glass.”

How Do I Hold the Glass?
Lift a filled glass, by the stem, and say, “I propose a toast.” Pause to allow guests to shift their attention toward you and lift their glasses. When you start speaking, lower your glass about waist high.

What If I Don’t Drink?
You can still raise your glass  – to offer the toast — or participate in the toast – whether it is filled with champagne, wine, vodka, soda, seltzer, fruit juice or water!

Thank the individuals for coming.

If a small attendance, or an intimate gathering, acknowledge each person.

Highlight Successes.
Share a brief overview and successes of the year.
In larger firms, thank teams or departments for their contributions/successes on special initiatives or projects.
Address any partners, sponsors, donors, volunteers, patrons…

Looking ahead.
Speak optimistically of the coming days, weeks, years, or into the New Year.

Offer a memorable toast.
It may be a cherished quotation that’s relevant to the occasion, or theme of the event.

Sample Toasts:
“To us and our success as a group this past year, and to you and your families for health, peace, and more wonderful times in the coming year.”

“Here’s to all of us, God bless us everyone!” (Tiny Tim’s toast from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol)

Here’s to the day of good will, cold weather, and warm hearts!

Here’s wishing you more happiness
Than all my words can tell,
Not just alone for Christmas
But for all the year as well.

O Though who has given us to much, mercifully grant us once thing more – a grateful heart.
– George Herbert

Wishing you always walls for the wind,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
And the love and laughter of those you hold dear.
― Celtic Toast

Here’s to the year past and friends who have left us,
Here’s to the present and the friends who are here,
Here’s to the New Year and the new friends who will join us.
― Emily Post

Blessed is the season that engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
― Hamilton Wright Mabie

Here’s wishing you more happiness
Than all my words can tell,
Not just alone for Christmas
But for all the year as well.
― Unknown

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
― Unknown

May the blessing of light,
Be with you always,
Light without and light within,
And may the sun shine
Upon you and warm your heart
Until it glows
Like a great fire
So that others may feel
The warmth of your love
For one another.
Old Irish Blessing

May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart.
― Inuit proverb

Here’s to a bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here’s to the things that are yet to come
And to the memories that we hold.
― Unknown

Here’s to us that are here, to you that are there, and the rest of us everywhere.
― Rudyard Kipling

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Famous Irish Blessing

Sheryl Roush is an inspirational speaker and author of
Heart of the Holidays:
Yuletide Treasures & Traditions,

Original short stories, poems, and quotations honoring
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yuletide Around the Globe,
Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Ringing in the New Year,
and Military celebrating abroad.

Purchase copies here.

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