12/28/2014 01:53 pm ET Updated Feb 27, 2015

10 Tips to Ring in the New Year With a Memorable Toast

Uwe Krejci via Getty Images

When friends and family come together to celebrate the New Year, the festivities usually include raising glasses for an uplifting toast. If delivering the toast falls to you, some advance preparation will help you create a memorable start to the celebration.

Follow these toasting etiquette tips to mark the occasion with plenty of New Year's goodwill:

  1. Contemplate your words. While eloquent toasts may look like they are off-the-cuff, it takes planning to communicate a thoughtful message. Organize your thoughts, formulate a draft and practice your delivery. Ask a friend for honest feedback.
  2. Make it short and sweet. A successful toast is both brief and heartfelt. From welcoming your guests to the party to a short description of your guest of honor's best qualities, a considerate comment will be appreciated and well received when it is executed simply and concisely.
  3. Your host has first priority. Often, but not always, the host will initiate the first toast. The host may also opt to delegate the task to someone else. Only then is it appropriate for guests to deliver subsequent toasts, and preferably not after a "Welcome" toast.
  4. Raise a glass with cheer. Before proposing a toast, look around and make sure everyone's glass is full, whether it's with champagne, sparkling water or non-alcoholic punch. This task may be impossible to do in a large crowd, but it's a polite gesture to give advance notice of an upcoming toast in a small group.
  5. Remember five simple steps: Stand up, smile and make eye contact, raise your glass and say something sincere, take a sip of your drink, be seated and continue to enjoy the party or meal.
  6. Show respect to your host. Even if you are not close friends with the individual being toasted, or disagree with the sentiments of the person toasting the other person, raise a glass to participate in the toast. Refusing to partake in a toast is impolite and makes fellow guests feel uncomfortable. Keep your private issues separate from the occasion.
  7. Clinking is optional. While you would never refuse a clink of a glass when someone reaches out towards you, it is not necessary to go around the table or reach over fellow guests to make contact with their glass. Simply raise your glass towards the middle of the table and say "Cheers", "To Your Health" or choose an expression you prefer.
  8. Never drink to yourself. When you are the one being toasted, lifting your glass and drinking to the toast is similar to clapping for yourself, or patting yourself on the back. Acknowledge the toast by humbly saying "Thank you".
  9. Avoid tapping your glass with silverware. Capture your audience's attention by positioning yourself in the center of the room and raising your glass, allowing others to follow your lead. It's unnecessary (and unseemly) to thump the side of your glass with an eating utensil.
  10. Acknowledge your host with a toast of gratitude. No matter the occasion, remember to include your host in a special tribute to thank them for their generosity in providing the celebration. A thank you toast giving credit to the host is generally offered at the dessert portion of the meal.

By following these easy toasting tips you will welcome The New Year in on a high note.

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