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My younger brother and I were not the easiest of toddlers/preschoolers. My mom had difficulty keeping sitters because we were always up to something—escaping to a neighbor’s house while we were supposed to be napping, getting stuck in the tree outside the den, climbing into the refrigerator to eat butter—you know, typical toddler high jinks. One sitter, however, discovered that we could be corralled quite easily in front of Days of Our Lives. We loved it! We learned so much! One thing that stuck with us was the art of toasting.

In a dimly lit bar, Julie and Doug (IYKYK) clinked their glasses together and uttered something that sounded like “Cheers to gub-a-gub!” It was most likely highly inappropriate for 3-year-old ears, if you can imagine, so good thing we misunderstood. At any rate, we decided that this was the most fanciest thing we had ever seen, and it became a regular feature at meals for quite a while.

Fast forward a few years, and André champagne’s timeless Christmas commercial showed us just how posh and celebratory toasting was. If you’ve forgotten it or aren’t quite the right age, here’s a link: It really is the height of 1979’s holiday elegance!

Toasting can be most fancy, posh, and elegant, but it can also be simple. With the holidays upon us, there are a plethora of opportunities to toast one’s friends and loved ones, as an act of welcome, gratitude, affection, or celebration. Below are a few tips to making toasts memorable, enjoyable, and easy.

1. The host (typically) kicks off the toasting. Perhaps a toast of welcome, a thank-you to employees for a year well-done, or a tribute to a guest of honor. If you are a guest, clear your wish to toast with your host first. Don’t just jump up and start orating.

2. K.I.S.S. Keep it short and simple. This is not the time to list every accomplishment, every funny anecdote, every hilariously inappropriate episode of mis-spent youth. If it’s during a meal or a party, people will appreciate a well told story that does not keep them from their food or their friends for too long.

3. With that in mind, keep it clean as well. The purpose of a toast is not to embarrass the object of that toast nor to make the audience as a whole writhe in mortification at learning some peccadillo better left buried.

4. Stage fright? Jot down some notes and practice a few times. Make sure you include the honoree’s name in your notes. Sometimes the easiest point is the one that escapes us when staring out at an expectant audience. Remember as well that sincerity is appreciated over eloquence any day.

5. Keep in mind that alcohol is not a prerequisite for toasting. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, water—all are perfectly acceptable accompaniments to a toast.

Finally, remember that the point of a toast is always celebratory. Enjoy giving, receiving, and witnessing them, and “Cheers to gub-a-gub!”

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