Life is a special occasion. A huge, varied, unpredictable and sometimes crazy occasion that is filled with events, milestones, and celebrations. Or at least it should be. Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in obligations. We have work to do and bills to pay. But let’s not forget our special moments, both the obvious ones and those smaller incidents of cool happenstance and everyday beauty that life is filled with.
And during those celebrations, whether with a couple friends or a hundred, why not give a toast! Thinking back over the last few months, especially during the holidays, I can recall far too many times when glasses were raised straight to the lips without pausing for a toast. “So what?” you might say. “It’s a silly old tradition anyway.” I strongly disagree.
Having everyone stop for a moment to mark the occasion with a few well-chosen words enriches the moment and tightens the bonds of fellowship. Yes, there are exceptions. We’ve all been there when drunken Uncle Harry wobbled out of his chair to slur his way through an awkward ramble on the magic of marriage. Not fun. But that’s why there are rules, folks! And here they are, courtesy of the good folks at Freixenet:
1. Don’t be long-winded.
2. Stand to give a toast; remain seated to receive one.
3. Prepare – know what you’re going to say.
4. Mention those you’re toasting by name, your relationship, and a thought about their future good fortune.
5. Add witty and personal touches wherever possible.
6. Speak slowly and loudly enough for all guests to hear.
7. Cap off your toast with a hearty “Cheers!”
Sensible guidelines, to be sure. But what do you actually say? Glad you asked, because right here, right now, on the proverbial platter, are several of my favorite toasts – free for the taking! Let’s start with one of my favorite topics:
“May there always be some wine/Every time we ask for more/But may the bottles run out/Just before we hit the floor!”
“Here’s to the wine we love to drink/And the food we like to eat/Here’s to our wives and sweethearts/Let’s pray they never meet/In this busy world/May our wheels stay full of grease/And when this life is over/May all of us find peace.”
Switching gears now to a good love-themed toast: “Here’s to one and only one/And may that one be she/Who loves but one and only one/And may that one be me.”
Being of Irish descent, I have to include some of these: “May you live to be 100, with one year extra to repent.”
“To your birthday glass held high/Glad it’s you that’s older, not I.”
“May you taste the sweetest pleasures that fortune has bestowed/And may all your friends remember every favor you are owed.”
“Here’s to the people who love us terribly. May they soon improve.”
And, of course, the classic: “May you already be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows your dead.”
What the hell – here’s a few more drinking toasts: “There are several good reasons for drinking/And one has just entered my head/If a man can’t drink when he’s living/How the hell can he drink when he’s dead?”
“Here’s to a long life and a merry one/A quick death and an easy one/A pretty girl and an honest one/A good wine and another one!”
“May the winds of fortune sail you/May you sail a gentle sea/May it always be the other guy/Who says “this drink’s on me.”
That should last you through at least a few occasions. But whether you use these toasts or other ones, use them well and use them often!