Holiday Party Etiquette

We dressed in our holiday finest last night for a good friend’s Christmas party, and oh what fun we had! It was a cold and rainy winters night, so walking into their cozy home all aglow with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and cheerful chatter of party guests warmed us right up. We talked with old friends and met some new friends as well which is always a treat. Great conversation, lots of laughter and delicious food and cocktails capped off what was a truly special evening.

Since I know so many of you are attending holiday parties and dinners this week and through the end of the month, I wanted to share a few tips on holiday party etiquette. I think it’s always helpful to brush up on etiquette, especially this time of year when there are so many social engagements. And so, here are my tips and I wish you all happy holidays!

 

Holiday Party Etiquette

RSVP: While this seems like a no-brainer, so many people forget to RSVP – life is busy! But out of respect for the host, it’s best to always RSVP as soon as you receive the invitation.

Bring a hostess gift: It can be a fabulous bottle of wine or champagne, flowers, yummy chocolates, a candle, the list goes on and on. We brought some of our favorite peppermint bark cookies to the party last night, as we knew both our hosts and their children would love it!

Greeting the host: Be sure to greet your host upon arriving at the party, and also thank your host and say goodbye before you leave. It’s common courtesy, and takes a matter of minutes! While some people believe in “ghosting” or leaving a party without mentioning it to their host, I think if possible, it’s always best to say thank you and bye.

If you have the sniffles: FOMO is real, however if you’re sick stay home! You won’t have fun at a party if you’re under the weather, and the other guests will likely try to keep their distance if you’re coughing and sneezing. Be considerate of your own health and others if you find yourself sick the day of the party. And if you do fall ill, be sure to let the host know ASAP.

Be a social butterfly: Of course it’s great to chat with familiar faces at holiday parties, but try to introduce yourself to some new people as well. You never know who you will meet and what fabulous new friends you’ll make!

Remember your table manners: Whether it’s a sit down dinner or cocktails with a buffet of appetizers, remember the basics – chew with your mouth closed, use the proper utensils, napkin in your lap, etc.

Be a great conversationalist: Ask questions! This is how you get to know someone and create engaging conversation. Try and steer clear of politics, religion, and other topics that can cause tension. Also, come prepared with some current events in mind.

Say thank you: You can send a hand written thank you note, or even just send a quick email or text. Regardless, it’s always nice to follow-up and let your host know how much fun you had at their party.

Ask B: Splitting the Bill

 

Dear B,

I love to dine out with my girlfriends, and we try to do brunch or dinners about once a month. Along with our entries, some of us will share appetizers or salads, or enjoy a bottle of rose or cocktails. When it comes to the bill though, I’m constantly perplexed about the best way to split it. Do you recommend splitting it evenly, even if some of the girls don’t drink or have one of the appetizers? What is most fair?

Sincerely,

H


Dear H,

Good for you for doing monthly girls dinners! It’s so important to make time for friends, and what better way to catch up than over a fabulous meal.  The check can be a sticky situation though, so my advice includes two options: Option number one is to kindly ask your group if they mind having separate checks. If all are in agreement, then notify your server, at the beginning of the evening, to split the bill. In other words, each person will receive a bill for exactly what they ordered. This way, everyone can be in charge of their own check. Option number two is to evenly split the check between all of the guests. If everyone has a meal that adds up to essentially the same amount, then it makes perfect sense to just do an equal divide. Another thing to consider (and something my friends do since I don’t drink), is if you enjoyed cocktails and one of the other girls didn’t, perhaps offer to cover her portion of the tip. Also, if you’re celebrating someone special, e.g. someone’s birthday, it’s lovely to cover their portion of the bill.

Back to School Etiquette

I hope everyone’s week is going well. I had the pleasure of guest posting on one of my favorite blogs this week – Not My Circus – written by my friend, Hannah Hairston. Not My Circus  is a beautifully written and designed lifestyle journal that celebrates modern motherhood, personal style, and a healthy lifestyle, and Hannah is a mom to two precious little girls. With four darling kiddos between us and school around the corner, it was only fitting that I share my tips on back to school etiquette (it’s never too early to teach our children about great manners!), and so I hope you’ll visit her blog and take a read. I’ve also posted some of the tips below, and as always, email me at mustbringbuns@gmail.com if you have any etiquette questions.


Our little boy is starting preschool in a couple of weeks, and preparing for his first day and the coming school year has opened my eyes to an entirely new world. His seersucker backpack is monogrammed, first day of school outfit selected, new shoes purchased, and I even had precious little blue dump truck labels made for his water bottle and lunchbox. He’s ready to go!

Preparing for school is more than just monogramming a backpack, coordinating calendars and packing lunches though. It’s making sure our children can shine as their best selves, and helping them to have a great first day, and in turn, a great year. We can help them to shine like the little stars that they are by giving them a foundation for good manners, and that starts at home. So parents, sharpen those pencils as I share my top tips on back to school etiquette. Wishing everyone a fantastic school year!

Punctuality: Talk to your children about what time school starts (and ends) the importance of being on time. Explain that if they are late, the whole family will likely feel stressed and flustered, and it will disrupt the class. Make sure and wake them up in the morning (or if they are old enough, show them how to set their alarm clock) at least an hour before school so they have plenty of time to eat breakfast, get dressed, etc., and try to stick to a consistent morning routine. That way, they will know what to expect and it will make it easier on both of you.

Magic Words: Please & Thank You: Whether 2 or 12 years old, it’s oh so important to always say please and thank you. These powerful words show gratitude and respect and are the ABC’s of good manners.

Looking your best: Clean clothes, brushed hair, brushed teeth, clean face – kids need to look their best so they can feel their best and be confident. Talk to your children about making a great first impression with their teacher and classmates on the first day, and how that begins with taking pride in one’s appearance.

Be prepared: If you have younger children, this applies more to you, Mom and Dad. Make sure and read all of the letters and emails from your child’s school so you can send them with whatever it is that they need, be it chocolate chip cookies for the bake sale or a costume for dress-up day. Also, be sure to communicate any allergies or other need-to-know info with your child’s teacher and school.

Respect the teacher: You will likely have an opportunity to “meet the teacher” before school starts, and so be sure to remind your child of their teacher’s name and how to properly address them – Miss, Mrs., Mr. X. Also, remind them that the teacher is in charge, and the importance of listening to them and following directions, as well as talking to them if there is a problem.

Respect classmates: Just as we encourage children to respect their siblings and friends, they need to also respect their classmates. This means striving to always be kind, friendly, empathetic and inclusive. Additionally, its paramount that we help our children have compassion for children who might be different from them, and teach them how to embrace their classmates and their differences.

Playground behavior: Playgrounds are a time for children to run around, have fun and get all those wiggles out! That said, it is not ok to push, pull hair, name call, cut in line, etc. Instead, encourage your child to take turns, share toys, make new friends, and follow the school’s safety rules. This goes for sportsmanship too – help your children learn how to celebrate wins, and accept losses and above all maintain a positive attitude.

Classroom behavior: When inside the classroom, children need to use their inside voices and listen to the teacher. If they are standing up in their chair or interrupting the teacher while she’s reading a story, it will disrupt the class and make it hard for the other children to enjoy school.

Wellness: Again, mom and dad this one’s for you. If your child is sick, please keep them home and be considerate of the other children in the class who don’t want to fall ill.