Holiday Season Etiquette | Alyssa J Freitas: Holiday Season Etiquette

November 28, 2018

Holiday Season Etiquette

Ah, the holiday season is here! From now until New Year's Eve there will be parties, and gift exchanges, and expectations galore. With all of the added activity and stress, it's even more important to be on top of your etiquette game and putting others at ease. Here are some of my top etiquette tips for the season when things can get challenging.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here's how to navigate the holidays with the proper etiquette in mind

Holiday parties

Let's talk about what you need to be aware of pre, during, and post parties.

Before the party make sure to:
  • Respond by the date specified by the host on the invitation. And be clear about if there is a plus one invited or not. 
  • Let the host know if you or anyone in the family have any dietary restrictions, and offer to bring a dish that will suit that person's needs 
  • Understand the dress code
During the party make sure to:
  • Show up on time
  • Bring a hostess gift 
  • If you're the host, greet each guest at the door
  • Socialize not only with the host or those you know at the party, but also introduce yourself to others. If you're the host, introduce guests and share a quick fact about each person to help get the conversation going. 
  • Ask if the hostess needs any help, and respect whatever answer you are given
  • Pay attention to others' signals during conversations and stay away from topics that could cause argument or discomfort. Ask questions about others and avoid talking too much about yourself. 
  • Make good decisions when it comes to alcohol and food
  • Know when to exit, and if you're the host you should walk each person out when they decide to leave
After the party:
  • Express your thanks to the host in a note
  • If you're the host and you received gifts, don't worry about a sending a note. 

Gift giving and receiving

As you know, I'm a minimalist through and through. My family doesn't exchange gifts and there are very few things I would like to receive. However, during the holidays there will be occasions where a gift is appropriate, and it's good to know the etiquette expectations.

When giving a gift, make sure to understand the appropriate budget and situation of the exchange (for example, will you be in private or exchanging gifts in front of others, etc.). Based on those factors you can choose a gift and provide a gift receipt to cover your bases.

When receiving a gift, always be gracious. Thank the person for their thoughtfulness in getting you a gift and follow up with a written thank you note as well. If the gift is not something you would use and it would be better appreciated by someone else you can regift, just be sure to give it to someone who doesn't know the original gift giver.

Also when receiving a gift you may find yourself in the awkward situation of not having a gift to give in return. You have two options here: either say thank you and leave it at that (and don't forget to send a note), or say thank you and let them know you'll get their present to them soon. Don't lie and say you already got it, or it's on its way. Simply deliver it to them at a later date.

At the end of the day, keep it simple. As we know, the goal of observing etiquette norms is to ultimately put those around you at ease. If you are gracious and thoughtful during the holidays you will have no problem enjoying this season!

What behavior are you aware of during the holidays? Any tips? Any good stories?

-AJF
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