Christmas Etiquette

It’s Christmas…the season of warmth and cheer! You may find holiday gatherings, parties and potlucks a bit overwhelming at this time of year, but it always helps to remember how much a little thoughtfulness and good manners can add to the season.

Here are a few ideas on keeping the season merry and bright:

Christmas Cards

  • Paper cards should be thoughtfully selected for each recipient, signed personally by your own hand, and genuinely sent with a heartfelt wish.
  • Send your family letters only to the select few on your list who really know you and would appreciate hearing about your accomplishments and how tall your children are now.
  • Be sure to personalize your ecards with a simple, but special message to keep them warm and sincere for the holidays. If you don’t know what to say, click here to see our blog on that very subject!
  • Make sure you match your cards (paper and/or ecards) to your recipients– faith-based sentiments should go to those who would appreciate them. It’s best to stick to general sentiments (“Happy Holidays, etc”) for your non-Christian friends.
  • Make sure humor cards are tasteful and will make someone smile or laugh.
  • Remember that the best cards always come with a simple note, even if it’s just the word “Love” followed by your name.

Christmas Gifts

  • Respect your own budget and select or create gifts that you are genuinely happy to give.
  • Never “re-gift” in the same circle of people to avoid giving someone a gift they gave you the year before.
  • Remember that any gift you give with love is valued and appreciated by others. From cookies you bake to hand-made crafts, the whole idea of gift giving is an expression of genuine love and kindness.
  • Remember that it isn’t necessary to match or “out-give” someone else. You simply need to embrace the truth that it is the thought that counts.
  • If you wonder whether you need a gift for someone, err on the safe side, and give something simple like an ornament or a favorite recipe.
  • Always be grateful to others no matter what you receive expressing smiles, thanks and hugs for their generosity to you.

Christmas Parties

  • Do take a little gift to the hostess of any party you attend. Holidays are busy for everyone and those who choose to open their homes and hearths to you deserve
    a little extra gratitude.
  • Remember to send a warm note of thanks when the holidays are over to all those people who made your season merry and bright. We’ll have some tips for you about what to say in your notes in our upcoming “Thank You” blog on Dec. 28!
  • Be the best guest possible—offer help where you see a need and don’t overdo the alcohol–being a good guest is part of the joy of any celebration.
Christmas Tipping
  • Although holiday tipping is never required, it’s always appreciated and shows that you’re pleased with the service rendered. Obvioiusly, if you don’t feel it’s deserved, then, by all means, don’t tip.
  • When tipping someone you see on a regular basis (housekeeper, caregiver, manicurist, etc.), you should always include a thank you card or note with a personal message.
  • Again, for those you see on a  regular basis, you should tip what would be considered the cost of one “session.” (If you see the same hairdresser once a month, your tip should be equal to the cost of one appointment.) Nannies, housekeepers, etc. generally receive one week’s pay, while the standard for paperboys, trash collectors, etc, is usually between $10-25.
  • Public servants may not accept cash gifts, so your mail carrier or child’s teacher might appreciate a book, gift certificate, chocolates or perhaps a hand-made gift (as long as the value does not exceed $20.)
  • A good rule of thumb is to use your best judgement on what you tip and to whom. If you’re not certain, check with friends or look online to see what’s standard in your community.
However you celebrate Christmas, share it with love and joy. Remind yourself that there’s a spirit of genuine friendship and community at Christmastime that’s even more special at this time of year. Embrace that spirit and join in the fun. After all, it’s part of what makes this such a happy season!