The Holidays are here, and along with the cooking and shopping, comes the endless stream of parties. And, if you are like me, you may need a little help navigating through those tricky social situations.
Whether you are having a cozy dinner with the in-laws or attending a large party on Christmas, there are some Do's and Don'ts when it come to holiday etiquette.
Now despite my mother's best efforts, I have never been the epitome of social grace, no matter how many Junior League events I attend. In fact I have learned all I need to know on proper table etiquette from one of my favorite scenes in "Pretty Woman," where Julia Roberts learns what fork and knife to use. That's why I turned to the experts…nationally recognized and San Antonio's own Diane Gottsman.
According to Gottsman, the bottom line, whether you are attending a work party or a family gathering, is "you are responsible for your own personal and professional reputation." In other words, don't think your actions during holiday festivities won't carry over, whether that is back into the office or creating a lasting family memory you would much rather forget.
Now for many of us in this fast-paced world, the holidays may be the only chance we have to get together as a family. Coming from a family of six spread out from Maryland to Texas the opportunity for all of us to get together in the same state, never mind under the same roof, is difficult to say the least.
The holidays are often your only chance to bridge that gap, but when it comes to family, the experts say it is important to remember to keep old bad habits in the past. "Don't revert back to your childhood with your siblings. You don't want to have fist fights at grandma's table" said Gottsman.
This advice certainly rings true with me! Being one of four siblings it is nearly unavoidable to have some disagreements but over the years I have allowed things to roll off my back and more importantly bite my tongue.
You also want to remember that no matter how cozy you may feel curled up in front of mom and dad's fireplace, if you don't live at the house, you are still a guest. Gottsman says that means you want to act courteous and offer to help, even if it is doing something as simple as setting the table or pouring the wine.
And speaking of wine…many times getting into the "spirit of the holidays" means indulging in spirits. Before you uncork that bottle, you are well advised to set personal limitations. Now it is OK to raise a glass in these festive times but you don't want to over indulge.
A tip, "know your own tolerance level and stop BEFORE you have reached it," said Gottsman. Whether you are the host or just a concerned family member, Gottsman advises "if someone has had too much to drink, take the keys."
Before you even arrive to your holiday destination you probably already thought to yourself, what do I bring? The key, says Gottsman, is don't go empty handed.
Whether you opt to bring something simple like a bottle of wine or desert, you want to show a token of your appreciation for having been included on this special occasion
Bottom line, although stressful, the holidays can be the best time of the year…so cheers to enjoying them with no worries about smoothing over feelings at the office or in the family.