Once again, the holidays are upon us. Overall, it’s a happy time of year. People spend exorbitant amounts of money on presents for those they love. There’s tons of delicious food and you get to see people you haven’t seen all year.
For me, this time of year is a minefield of egregious etiquette violations. All sorts of foolery going on and I’m just doing my small part to put a stop to it. Of course this is not an exhaustive list, but here’s what’s coming to mind right now.
- Not RSVPing to parties. Y’all, we’ve talked about this. You show up to an event, not having told them you were coming and you have sent your host into a tizzy! If you and several other people did that, your host is now in the kitchen lamenting the fact that they need to make a little extra to put out, lest they look cheap, running out of food.
- Entertaining in a dirty home. So there was this one time I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner at an ex’s friend’s house. I showed up and the house was in a terrible state of disarray. Cat hair and clothes everywhere. I’m aware that there’s some dummy reading this that might say, “Well, be grateful you were invited.” To that I say, “HUSH!” Accept nothing less than the best! That mess of a home could not have been this person’s best. Give a little bit of a damn when you invite folks to your space. If you don’t want to clean, just don’t have people there.
- Showing up empty-handed. If someone invites you to their home or office party, you better show up with something. I don’t mean one of those dried-out, flavorless, store-bought cakes. Or some bottle of wine that you clearly don’t want to drink. Make something. Buy a decent bottle. Show your host that you are glad to be there and want them to enjoy what you’re bringing.
- Bah-humbugging your way through happy times. This time of year can be a sore spot for some. Grief. Loneliness. Social anxiety. The prospect of having to put out so much money. It can be a lot. So, personally, this time of year is a little difficult for me. But you know who it’s not difficult for? Little kids. Look at ’em! They are super happy and love everything about the holidays! So when a wave of unhappiness hits me, I remember back when I was a kid and the holiday was magical. Sometimes, you have to reach back to move forward. Be gentle with yourself and others. But please don’t ruin the season for anyone else.
- Getting HR-memo drunk. You know the sort of behavior I’m talking about. The junior associate getting handsy with Brenda from accounting. The guy who has a few to many and tells the marketing department to kiss his whole ass and makes copies of it for their desks. That guy or gal. Holiday drinks are delicious. That much we know. I’m a fan of a well-spiked eggnog myself. So many delicious flavors and warm yummies. But please, know when to switch to seltzer. Office parties are notorious for that one person who imbibes just a little too much. You really don’t want your holiday party hijinks to be the talk of the office, because it will definitely negatively affect you in the end.
- Talking about your calories. I mentioned before that the holidays come with lots of delicious food. Eat it. Or don’t. Look, being health conscious is great and I appreciate your efforts. But no one wants your damn light eggnog. That stuff is vile and you know it. And then, no one wants to hear about how you feel so bad because of what you ate or how you’ll basically have to run to hell to burn the calories off. Eat it or don’t. Work out or don’t. But please do shut up about it.
- Regifting bad gifts. If its a candle in a scent that’s lovely, but just not your style of scent, that’s one thing. But passing along something truly horrid is bad manners. Get rid of it. One year, my grandmother (the queen of “What the hell were you thinking?” gifts) gave my mother salt and pepper shakers that were in the shape of deer. They were brighly and hideously colored. They were way past quirky and just ugly. My mother, faced with gift-giving occasions soon after this horrible gift, did not regift. She quietly tucked away those two ugly deer, only to come out when we all need a laugh. The buck stopped there, thank God.
Please, think about your actions this time of year and govern yourselves accordingly. Don’t make the holidays crappy for someone else just because of your carelessness in adhering to the basic rules of decency.