Holiday Manners: Mastering your Table Etiquette

The Hol­i­days are filled with fam­ily din­ners, com­pany par­ties & meet­ing future in-laws.  Do you find your­self still ask­ing” which is my bread plate”?

So let us celebrate the true Light of the World: Happy Hanukkah

 

So let us cel­e­brate the true Light of the World
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To all who celebrate

Hanukkah

Dear friends,

As the sacred time comes around once again, we keep in mind the holy words writ­ten cen­turies ago:

My refuge, my rock of sal­va­tion! ‘Tis pleas­ant to sing to your praises.
Let our house of prayer be restored. And there we will offer You our thanks.
When You will have utterly silenced The loud-mouthed foe.
Then we will cel­e­brate with song and psalm the altar’s ded­i­ca­tion.
— Ma’oz Tzur
Happy Hanukkah,

Jules Hirst

Eti­quette Con­sult­ing Inc

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6 Etiquette Tips to Keep in Mind this Labor Day Weekend

Potluck Etiquette_Jules Hirst Etiquette Expert

If you are ask­ing your guests to bring a dish, you must be clear.

 Labor Day week­end, the unof­fi­cial end of sum­mer, is one last time for a get-together with fam­ily and friends to cel­e­brate what I hope was a won­der­ful sum­mer.  If your week­end plans con­sist of a potluck or if you are host­ing, here are six eti­quette tips to keep in mind.

Host:

1. If you are ask­ing your guests to bring a dish, you must be clear as to what you are pro­vid­ing and what your guests should bring.  I know some peo­ple have a hard time with this one.  But, to be the host­ess with the most­ess, it is your respon­si­bil­ity to make sure you have a vari­ety of dishes and not an over­flow of plates and napkins.

2. Com­pli­ment the food whether it is true or not.  Always try to com­pli­ment the guests on the dishes they pro­vided espe­cially those who are not com­fort­able with cook­ing.  If they made an effort, let them know you appre­ci­ate it.  Not only are you show­ing your appre­ci­a­tion but you are also giv­ing the inex­pe­ri­enced cook a vote of con­fi­dence, which I am sure they will appreciate.

3.  Greet all of your guests.  Whether you are hav­ing a small gath­er­ing or a large party, it is your respon­si­bil­ity as host to greet all of your guests as they arrive and to make sure every­one knows each other.  This is a per­fect time to put into prac­tice your intro­duc­tion skills.

Guests:

1. Bring a dish; a bot­tle of wine is not a dish!  If the host does not ask for a spe­cific dish then offer suggestions.

2.  If you are plan­ning to bring a dish that needs to be heated or refrig­er­ated, don’t assume that you may do so.  Con­tact the host ahead of time to make sure there will be room.

3. Bring a host­ess gift.  Although you are never required to pro­vide a gift, the host has opened their home, cleaned before the party, will clean after the party and although every­one is bring­ing a dish, the host still spends quite a bit of money to put this party together.  I often hear, “I am bring­ing a dish, isn’t that my gift?”   No, it is not.

Regard­less of what your plans are this week­end, I wish all of you a happy and safe Labor Day week­end.  One last thing, if you do spend time with your fam­ily and friends, they deserve your full atten­tion.  Turn off your cell phone.

8 Tips to a Civilized Mother’s Day

My girls and I circa 1998

My girls and I circa 1998

The Mother’s Day cel­e­bra­tion was started nearly 150 years ago by an Appalachian home­maker named Anna Jarvis.  She orga­nized a day to bring aware­ness of the poor health con­di­tions in her com­mu­nity and called it “Moth­ers Work Day.” It has now become a hugely com­mer­cial­ized, money mak­ing event.

 Accord­ing to a sur­vey on Sta­tis­tic Brain:

  • The total amount spent on Mother’s Day cards is $671 million.
  • Aver­age amount of money the aver­age per­son will spend on their mother is $126.90.

 Retail estab­lish­ments are not the only ones cash­ing in.  Accord­ing to the National Restau­rant Asso­ciate, more than one-quarter of Amer­i­cans will dine out and another 10% will get take out or delivery.

 Mother’s Day is meant to be a day to thank the per­son who gave us life — or if you were any­thing like me grow­ing up, it’s a day to cel­e­brate the per­son who reminded me on a daily basis that she could also take that gift of life away!  How­ever, Mother’s Day can also lead to some inter­est­ing eti­quette ques­tions, such as:

  • Do I have to buy my step-mom a gift?
  • Do I have to cel­e­brate Mother’s Day with my mother-in-law?
  • Do I cel­e­brate Mother’s Day with my mom or my children?

 Here are a few tips to keep in mind;

  1. Although Mother’s Day is to rec­og­nize our moth­ers, it is also a time to remem­ber and thank the other women in your life who you have a spe­cial bond with, an aunt, a neigh­bor, even a friend’s mom.
  2. If you have not done so already, make a reser­va­tion if you are plan­ning on tak­ing your mom out for brunch, lunch or dinner.
  3. If you are tak­ing your mom out to brunch, a pop­u­lar choice, remem­ber to leave a tip for the wait staff.   Even though you stand in line and get your own food, you need to remem­ber the peo­ple who bring you your drinks, take away your used plates and pick up after you.  They deserve a tip.
  4. Step­moth­ers count.  Some stepchil­dren have a great rela­tion­ship with their step­mother while oth­ers do not.  Either way, you should still acknowl­edge her.  You could send her a card, or maybe take her to lunch.  It does not even have to be on Mother’s Day, espe­cially if you are spend­ing the day with your mom.  Also, you are being an excel­lent role model for your chil­dren by putting any ill feel­ings aside.
  5. If you want to spend Mother’s Day with your mom and your hus­band wants the two of you to cel­e­brate with his, then you should try to com­pro­mise.  You can either spend half the day with your mom and the sec­ond half with his, or you can divide and conquer.
  6. Give mom a gift that she wants.  What­ever you decide to buy her, make sure it is within your bud­get.  If your fam­ily buys a fam­ily gift make sure that it is some­thing that every­one can afford.
  7. Car­na­tions are gen­er­ally given on Mother’s Day because white car­na­tions were Anna Jarvis‘ favorite flower.
  8. Lastly, don’t wait until Mother’s Day to tell your mom that you love her.  It always means more to call your mother and tell her you love her on a nor­mal day than it does on a birth­day or Mother’s Day when it is expected. 

Office Holiday Party – A Road Map to Success

The first rule of the office holiday party is attendance is mandatory

The first rule of the office hol­i­day party is atten­dance is mandatory

.  Even if you hate the hol­i­days or hate par­ties, this is a busi­ness oppor­tu­nity that can’t be missed.  As such, you need to step out­side your nor­mal group of co-workers and talk to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.  Your next oppor­tu­nity for advance­ment may be right around the cor­ner and the more peo­ple who know you the bet­ter your chances.

Although you are work­ing the room for a pro­mo­tion, make sure to keep the “shop talk” to a min­i­mum.  This is your oppor­tu­nity to learn about the peo­ple you work with.  Find out what their hol­i­day plans are.  Ask about their kids.  Talk about movies, sports or travel plans.  As with any func­tion, keep away from the tra­di­tional con­ver­sa­tion no-no’s — sex, reli­gion and politics.

Finally, here are some obvi­ous tips that need to be repeated because peo­ple make these mis­takes every year.  Don’t drink too much.  Don’t flirt with your co-workers.  Dress appro­pri­ately – this is still a work func­tion.  Make sure to say hi to your boss, so that he/she knows you were there.  Also, don’t leave too early – you send the wrong sig­nal that your life is more impor­tant than spend­ing time with your co-workers.  Nobody wants to work with some­one like this.

Fol­low­ing these tips, should help you suc­cess­fully nav­i­gate your office hol­i­day party and maybe your wish for the cor­ner office will soon come true.

Personal Touch for Holiday Cards in Business

When it comes to hol­i­day cards, a per­sonal touch is always appre­ci­ated.  You want to thank your col­leagues and clients for their patron­age dur­ing the year.  The best way to do this is to put forth the per­sonal effort to show them that you do appre­ci­ate them.

As such, take the time to hand write every­thing.  Hand write a per­sonal note on the card.  Hand write the enve­lope.  Even if you hire some­one to do this for you, hand­writ­ing shows an effort that far sur­passes stick­ing a label on an enve­lope or hav­ing a card pre-printed to save you time.  These lit­tle things mat­ter and peo­ple notice them and will appre­ci­ate your extra effort.

You also should try to avoid email hol­i­day greet­ings.  Tech­nol­ogy has come a long way and some of these hol­i­day emails are quite enter­tain­ing, how­ever, after they are watched, they are deleted.  A hol­i­day card has more stay­ing power and can be a con­stant reminder of the work you do.

Finally, you want to send out your cards as early as pos­si­ble.  The end of the year is usu­ally most people’s busiest time and peo­ple leave for vaca­tion towards the end of the year.  The sooner you can get your card out the bet­ter chance you can have a last­ing impres­sion on your audience.

Holiday Manners for Children

1. Receiv­ing gifts you don’t like – Have a con­ver­sa­tion with your chil­dren about “good man­ners” before the hol­i­day sea­son.  You might even prac­tice with them or exam­ple, “your aunt Beth gives you a new jacket, but you were hop­ing for the newest x-box game”  remem­ber to say a sin­cere “thank you” fol­lowed by a hug and kiss

2. Writ­ing good thank you notes (how fast should you send them, what should be included, is email OK or no) – This is a per­fect time to teach your chil­dren to write thank you notes… even if they do not yet know how to write.

If chil­dren do not write; then they can draw a pic­ture of the item or the child using the item and the par­ent can assist them with writ­ing the to and from

For youth and teens:  the note should include, what they were given and how they plan on using it

3. Table man­ners at par­ties (han­dling food you don’t like, not chew­ing with your mouth open, etc.)

Hope­fully your chil­dren have the basic table man­ners.. come to the table with clean hands, using uten­sils not their hands to eat, say­ing please and thank you etc., but along with the basic skills  chil­dren and teens should also be taught:

  • Wait until every­one is served before eating
  • If there is some­thing on the plate or if they tasted some­thing they do not like.. DO NOT make a face or begin to com­plain sim­ply don’t eat it.
  • No toys, books or cell phones at the table
  • Lay­ing their nap­kin on their lap
  • Chew with your mouth closed

And par­ents the no cell phone at the din­ner table… applies to you as well.

4.  Talk­ing to rel­a­tives and fam­ily friends politely (not inter­rupt­ing, good ques­tions to ask)

Remem­ber to make eye con­tact when speak­ing to rel­a­tives. Also, keep the tech­nol­ogy in your pocket, purse, back­pack or at home.  If you are hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with your aunt then she should get your full attention

5. Deal­ing with mul­ti­ple hugs and kisses – When talk­ing to your kids about “good man­ners” and what is expected of them when they receive a gift they do not like, this is also a per­fect time to explain to them their rel­a­tives will be happy to see them and we should acknowl­edge them with a hug and or a kiss.  Remind kids not to make faces or roll their eyes when­ever an adult extends their arms for a hug or grandma approaches you with a kiss to the check

Remem­ber to remind your kids what the Hol­i­days are about and it is not just about gifts.  And remem­ber as the parent/adult to be a good role model.  Yes, if you expect your chil­dren to dis­play good man­ners then it first must come from you.

Minding your Halloween Manners

photo cour­tesy of makems.com

Here is an arti­cle I was quoted in on Mind­ing your Hal­loween Man­ners.  Enjoy.…

Yes, Hal­loween is all about putting on the coolest pos­si­ble cos­tume and scor­ing the great­est amount of candy. But kids shouldn’t throw out all their man­ners dur­ing the mad dash.

“Par­ents need to remind their trick-or-treaters that reg­u­lar rules of eti­quette still apply on Hal­loween,” says Jules Hirst, an eti­quette expert in Cal­i­for­nia. “Their chil­dren should always say, ‘Trick or treat,’ when the door opens and ‘thank you’ after receiv­ing their treat.”

Kids shouldn’t be entirely in “gimme candy” mode, agrees Peggy Post, co-director of the Emily Post Insti­tute in Ver­mont. “Look at peo­ple when they answer the door and say, ‘hello,’” Post advises. “Try to engage them a lit­tle bit in con­ver­sa­tion, and always say, ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’”

A few more tips from Hirst and Post:

– Tell kids not to grab for candy but to wait for the bowl to be offered. If they’re with a group, they need to be patient and wait for the bowl to be passed around.

– Kids shouldn’t take more than one or two pieces of candy unless the adult encour­ages them to take more. If a piece of candy is small, a child can ask, “May I please have more than one?” 

– Remind older kids not to push smaller chil­dren aside in their quest to get candy. They also shouldn’t be try­ing to scare young kids.

– It’s polite for kids to take what is offered even if they don’t want it. Remind them that they could always give it away, trade it or even toss it into the trash later.  

– Hal­loween will always be a bit crazy and noisy, but kids shouldn’t feel they have free rein to yell, loi­ter on other people’s prop­erty or make a mess (no throw­ing used candy wrap­pers in the streets, for example).

– Adults who don’t want trick-or-treaters com­ing to their door should keep their porch lights off, as well as other lights in front of their house. “Par­tic­i­pa­tion in Hal­loween is vol­un­tary,” Hirst says. “You don’t have to do it. That’s fine, but let peo­ple know by turn­ing your lights off. To a kid, a dark house has no candy.”

– Adults also shouldn’t hand out home­made treats or fruit, because most par­ents won’t let a child eat unwrapped items for safety rea­sons. If you don’t believe in giv­ing out candy, you can get fun items such as super balls, glo-sticks and stick­ers from a dol­lar store.

writ­ten by: Ali­son Johnson
source: my tide­wa­ters mom.com

Trick-or-Treat Etiquette Tips

Halloween Etiquette_Tips for Trick or Treat

Grow­ing up, Hal­loween is one of the great­est days of the year.  You get to dress up and pre­tend to be some­one else and peo­ple give you candy for it.  Fol­low­ing sim­ple eti­quette tips can help make this a great day for everyone.

In terms of Hal­loween eti­quette, your porch light and the lights in the front of your house say a lot about you.  Lights sig­nify that some­one is home and on Hal­loween that sig­ni­fies that this house is pass­ing out treats.   Candy Corn_Halloween-EtiquettePar­tic­i­pa­tion in Hal­loween is vol­un­tary.  You don’t have to do it.  If you were raised in an iso­lated com­mu­nity and never expe­ri­enced the joy of Hal­loween, you may not under­stand or want kids com­ing to your door.  That’s fine, but let peo­ple know by turn­ing your lights off.  To a kid, a dark house has no candy.  How­ever, a lit house where no one answers the door is sus­cep­ti­ble to the trick part of Trick or Treat.

Hal­loween eti­quette also says that you should not pass out home­made treats or fruit.  You could be the world’s great­est baker, but no par­ent is going to spend the time try­ing to fig­ure out your inten­tions. A good par­ent will go through their child’s candy bag and throw away all the unwrapped items.  Why go to all the work of bak­ing to have your cre­ations thrown out.  If you do not believe in pass­ing out candy, a trip to your local dol­lar store will pro­vide a wide vari­ety of fun, non-edible treats to pass out, such as super balls, pen­cils, and glo-sticks.

Par­ents need to remind their trick-or-treaters that reg­u­lar rules of eti­quette still apply on Hal­loween.  Their chil­dren should always say, Trick or treat when the door opens and thank you after receiv­ing their treat.  Chil­dren should only take one to two pieces of candy from the candy dish, unless they are encour­aged to take more by the home­owner.  Par­ents should also stress to their chil­dren that it is polite to take what is offered even if they do not want it.  Remind them that they can always throw it away later.

Eti­quette should also be con­sid­ered when select­ing a cos­tume.  Every­one wants to have a fun cos­tume but con­sid­er­a­tion should be given to the loca­tion where the cos­tume will be shown off.  If you are attend­ing a Hal­loween party, your cos­tume may be more appro­pri­ate than if you are wear­ing it to school.  Peo­ple may be offended by your cos­tume, and this could lead to a visit to the principal’s office.  Of course, get­ting sent home early from school does allow more time for trick-or-treating!

Memorial Day ~ The History of.…

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thou­sand liv­ing men.” ~Minot J. Savage

Memo­r­ial Day is upon us and as you spend the long week­end enjoy­ing the warm weather and spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends, let us not for­get the true mean­ing behind the holiday.

The hol­i­day dates back to the 1860s and began as a time to dec­o­rate the graves of sol­diers who had given their lives in bat­tle.  It was offi­cially called Dec­o­ra­tion Day in 1868 by Gen­eral John Logan. Over the years, the hol­i­day has under­gone a few changes. It became known as Memo­r­ial Day in the 1880s but the name wasn’t offi­cially rec­og­nized until 1967 by fed­eral law.  It was changed again the next year when the Uni­form Hol­i­days Bill was passed by Con­gress.  This changed Memo­r­ial Day to the last Mon­day in May and made it a three day weekend.

Tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tions include dec­o­rat­ing the graves at our national ceme­ter­ies with Amer­i­can flags.  Most peo­ple are unaware that there is a moment of remem­brance at 3pm local time.  Another Memo­r­ial Day tra­di­tion is to fly the Amer­i­can flag at half-staff until noon and then at full-staff until sunset.

While enjoy­ing your time away from work, let’s take a moment to remem­ber that this hol­i­day is a remem­brance of those who have given their life in bat­tle to pro­tect our free­doms that we enjoy this very day.

On behalf of Eti­quette Con­sult­ing Inc, we would like to thank those who have faught and died for our freedom.