Well, according to Wiki Answers, an open house is a continuous event with people coming and going. The idea is that while many people are invited, they will not all show up at the same time. This lets the host to invite more people than s/he could accommodate all at once.
The reason for my query? Mr. and I are attending a holiday open house tonight and I wanted to be sure we follow protocol. Again according to Wiki Answers, if attending an open house, arrive and leave whenever it suits your schedule. If you notice there is a lack of space, you might want to consider how long you’ve been in attendance and, if you’ve been there a while, then leave to make room for new arrivals. Before leaving, make sure to find the host and offer your thanks for the invite. A party has defined start and stop times that are announced when the invite is extended and the host will expect you to stay for the duration. Be respectful of the stop time and do not stay later unless the host requests that you do so. It is appropriate to bring a small host gift to both types of events.
I think I’ll take one of my Maldon Sea Salt gifts and a bottle of wine; perfect for Sean and Victoria, our hosts for tonight. Victoria is an amazing cook and so she’ll love the lemon zest salt! And who doesn’t love wine?!