One Big Mistake to Avoid During the Holidays

You’re probably too young to know who Emily Post is, but for years, (see 18th and 19th editions below), she was the voice for all rules on proper etiquette. What is etiquette, you ask? According to the dictionary, it’s the customary code of polite behavior in society. You may say, “I’m not a part of “society”, “I didn’t have a coming out or I’m not a debutante.” Yes, there was a time when proper etiquette was thought to be part of the upper class, because did anyone really expect a handwritten thank you note from a poor person? Well, times have changed, and since we’re circling the holidays I thought it would be a great idea to review some ground rules.

Let’ start with an easy one, a mistake you do not want to make.

It is considered poor etiquette to receive a gift without saying thank you.

Naturally there’s the verbal thank you but it’s customary to send a note, or an email (these days) acknowledging the gift. When I turned sixteen my family threw me a party. My grandmother handed me a stack of blank cards afterwards. “For your thank you notes,” she said. I must have looked puzzled. “Thank you, notes? These are my friends,” I said. “It doesn’t matter, it’s the polite thing to do,” Grandma implored. I hand-wrote about thirty cards and learned my lesson. I’m sure the latest Emily Post guide covers email and technology. With e-cards and Evite, there are many ways to say thank you, so there are no excuses.

For the last few years, I’ve sent gifts to relatives who refuse to respond. As an adult, it’s your responsibility to teach your kids to send a thank you card, email or text, even if you as the adult are too caught up in your feelings to handle the responsibility of being a grown up. A simple thank you text takes all of six seconds and lets the person know, I received your gift and I’m grateful.

Do I send my husband, my mom or kids a thank you note? No, but we’re passed that. I believe everyone who is out of your immediate circle should get a note in some way shape or form. We’re becoming a society who is completely desensitized. We’re losing many forms of respect and believe everything is a G-d given right. We’re entitled to nothing and yet when a person goes out of their way to show you they care it’s meaningful and deserves your time and energy.

There’s nothing worse than giving someone a gift and having to ask if they received the gift (even though you know they did). I have a friend who went out of her way to send a beautiful birthday present to a mutual friend. This was two years ago, and she’s still waiting for a response and still seething over the dis. Here’s the deal, even if you can’t stand the person who sent you the gift, be gracious. How can we expect our own children to emulate the correct behaviors when we’re being petty as grownups?

With all of the adorable stationary out there, wouldn’t it be great to get back to basics and send a handwritten note? know I would appreciate it. What are your thoughts on the topic of etiquette? Do you have a story? Please share in the comment section.

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