The Command Holiday party can be nerve wracking and a bit overwhelming if you have never been to one before or if this is your first at a new command. What do I wear, do I bring the kids, what should I expect? Below is a cheat sheet that hopefully will answer some of these questions and make your command party more enjoyable.
Most commands will list their dress requirements on the party invitation. It can vary per command but it is typically business casual or as we say in the south "church clothes" or nicer. Most women I have seen are either in nice slacks and a sweater or a simple dress. Some do prefer to dress up in more formal dresses but that is up to you. Most men are in dress pants and a button down shirt. The basic rule of thumb is if you wouldn't wear it into a church, don't wear it here. Be able to sit down in your skirt without flashing anyone and keep the twins put away. Check out this article here from spousebuzz.com which goes into better detail on Christmas Party attire.
MODERATION. If you do have a desire to drink, keep it in MODERATION. Like I said earlier, these are your husband's co workers and bosses. And your husband doesn't need to be that guy who's wife was the sloppy drunk at the party. If you know you are falling down drunk after 5 drinks, be safe and stop at 2 or 3. Know your limit. Keep in mind too that unless you are willing to spring for a hotel room, (assuming that is an option) someone will need to drive home so make sure to designate a driver ahead of time.
Now this applies to both husbands and wives. Leave any conflicts at the door. Whether its between you and your husband, you and another wife, your husband and a co-worker, don't bring it to the party with you. If your husband has an issue with someone at the command, or if you have an issue with another wife, keep a polite distance. If you are forced to interact with them, be polite and deal with your issue with them later at a better time.
Don't run off and leave your wife at a table by herself to go hang with your buddies. Especially if she doesn't know anyone there. Take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with your wife and some people you both enjoy.
Many commands will do raffles through out the evening. These prizes can be anything from TVs or gaming systems to days of leave. Usually you will be given a ticket when you arrive and it will match the ticket of one in the hat that they will draw from. Bear in mind too that many commands require you to physically be there to claim your prize should your number be drawn, so if you decide to leave early, don't expect them to hold a prize for you.
This varies per command. Some prefer to make the party a family event and invite children of all ages while others ask that no children attend. Many commands that ask that children not attend do offer some kind of free childcare. This should be made clear on the invitation. If it is not, either ask your ombudsman or FRG or have your husband ask at work.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Meet some new people, hang out with old friends and my personal favorite, people watch. In a group that large, there will most likely be at least one character to keep everyone entertained.
Happy Partying! (Please remember to be safe and not drink and drive)