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Modern etiquette: Keeping things light for the holidays


According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 86% of adult Americans said they planned to gather with family and friends during the holidays, and the same number say they planned to buy gifts for friends and family.

That means that the typical American will soon face a lot of spiked eggnog, awkward party talk and last-minute gift certificate purchases within the next few weeks.

However, just because the holidays come wrapped up with a fair amount of overindulging, familial stress and anxiety, there are many things you can do to keep things light and festive this season.

From limiting alcohol consumption to thoughtful gift ideas for your host or hostess, follow these standard etiquette rules to make your holiday memorable for all the right reasons.

  • The Holiday Spirit(s): With the majority of home and office holiday celebrations involving alcohol consumption, there are legendary tales of the family member or co-worker who had one too many cocktails and rocked around the Christmas tree well into the wee hours.

Beyond the obvious concerns of driving under the influence or other medical concerns, there are many social reasons to limit your intake and keep your wits about you. In the workplace, having too many drinks can cause embarrassing behavior or inappropriate actions that go against accepted rules of office behavior. Limit your consumption, always imbibe on a full stomach or avoid risk by not indulging at all.

  • Food for thought: Whether you're attending a home or an office holiday party, you will most likely come into contact with an abundant supply of tasty treats. But no matter how tempting that tenth boiled shrimp may look, remember you are not at a buffet.

Your host or hostess has most likely prepared food for the number of expected guests. Also, remember that a buffet table is not your personal dining space. Always be sure to select a nice sample of items, and then move away from the serving table so other guests can enjoy.

  • Gifting: If your offer to bring a dish to a holiday celebration was declined, make sure you bring a gift for your host or hostess. From a bottle of wine to a holiday ornament, show your appreciation for being included.

When it comes to office parties, there may be established customs such as White Elephant parties, Secret Santas or name exchanges. But no matter the custom, keep co-worker gift purchases in the moderate price range, never purchase anything off-color or inappropriate for an office setting and control the urge to "re-gift" an old present.

  • Goodwill to all: Even though the holidays are considered the time to reconnect with family and friends, the shared time is often filled with stress and anxiety. It's always best to avoid hot-button issues, keeping the conversation light. Even if someone repeatedly attempts to engage you in a controversial manner, take the high road and either change the conversation or walk away. Remember, this is the season where we celebrate peace on earth - and it's a gift to share with everyone.
© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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A few points I`ve learned to help cope with the family gatherings. First, It's not healthy to tell someone how they should be feeling, or that their emotions "really" are that way.

Narcissism—the idea that the world revolves around the narcissist—is really common in family situations. "It's always about him/her" means you're dealing with a narcissist. Unfortunately, narcissists are by definition ill-equipped to see the other person's POV.

It is possible for someone to love you and still damage you.

"The Little Voice" are those comments that keep popping up, saying you're not good enough, or smart enough, or — enough. They've been programmed into you by other people, to keep saying the things They said even when They are not there.

A lot of things are coping strategies to situations that are unhealthy. Think of them like a callous—when you have something rubbing at your skin, it toughens up so you won't be hurt. It also keeps you from feeling things so acutely. The parallels are deliberate. And rubbing away the callous does open you up to being hurt—but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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The Protocol School: party-pooping since 1988.

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It's not called "Christmas" in the US anymore, eh? It's always sad to see a culture lose....well, it's culture.

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@LoL. . . @Jeff, I agree. When you can't print "Christmas" anywhere in the article because it may insult someone. . . It's nonsense.

Pamela Eyring is the owner and president of The Protocol School of Washington (PSOW), which provides professional business etiquette and international protocol training.

What a scam of a business. When you preach and sell how to be excessively prissy.

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Simply put the actual reason for this holiday has become so immersed under the commercial blanket that people not only forget the true and real meaning of Christmas but the retail industry structure their entire operations around the influx of sales during the Christmas period. Therefore people in the merchandise business are so over-worked and fatigued that on Christmas day, they cannot reflect on the blessings they received during the year because the majority of them eat, party then sleep. Hence In this modern day Christmas has become overly commercialized.

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