Saving Graces: Manners

Modern Manners on www.CourtneyPrice.com

Wherever the holidays take you, remember to bring your manners-

I read a wonderful article in the latest Bon Appétit that was written by Ben Schott and the editors. It was a fantastic compilation of  MODERN MANNERS reminders for hosts and guests, specific to Thanksgiving, but appropriate for any occasion. Here are a few of my favorite pointers:

➤ If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving at a restaurant, the usual rules of etiquette apply. But remember that most of the staff would rather be with their families than serving yours.

➤ When the check arrives…tip like Sinatra.

➤ Ignore the host who tells you “Just bring yourself!”—you should never arrive empty-handed. There are a range of goodies that can be used on the day or saved for later.

➤ Hosts should take every care in creating a seating plan that encourages lively conversation, quarantines quarrelsome personalities, sparks new friendships, and accommodates the delicate.

➤ Married and established couples should be split up. Consider placing newly formed couples opposite each other rather than side by side.

➤ Thanksgiving is the ideal time to gently haze new additions to a family—like placing an eager young boyfriend next to a curmudgeonly uncle.

➤ Professional football is as integral to Thanksgiving as turkey and family tensions. If the television must be on, ensure it does not dominate, and turn it off during the meal. (Die-hard fans who cannot miss a single moment should consider staying home.) For those who want to watch the games, or plan their meal, the times are:
12:30 ET BEARS vs. LIONS CBS

4:30 ET EAGLES vs. COWBOYS FOX

7:30 ET UNIV TX vs TCU FOXsports1

8:30 ET SEAHAWKS vs. 49ERS NBC

This thorough article covers the bases with so much more: Timing, What to bring, Seating Plans, Conversation, Toasts, Kids, Troubleshooting, Serving, Carving, After Dinner, Leftovers, Thank Yous, Charity, even Cell Phones. It is well worth the read while it is still in the newsstands (or see link below).

Onto the Topic of Gifting…

Wherever the holidays take you, for goodness sake, remember to bring your manners- on www.CourtneyPrice.comphoto credit: Binky Majumder

When giving and receiving gifts, it is most important to remember that the spirit of the gift is more important than the gift itself. That is not to say that any old thing will do as long as you give it with a smile, simply that the feeling behind it will be received as much if not more than the thing itself. -Emily Post

So one might think. Perhaps times have changed since Emily Post’s day. Daniel Post reminds us to always remember that the giver’s aim was to please. Spot on, Daniel. When did it become acceptable to be a rude gift receiver? Oh wait, it didn’t. Rudeness is uncalled for. Has social media sent the message that unfiltered thoughts are welcome everywhere?  Apparently so- one sees endless examples of rudeness lately. We witness it first hand, with people being rudely “funny”, and hear of shocking recounts of the gall of a family member or acquaintance. Is there a rudeness epidemic?

A Social Crime Case Study:

A friend shared a disconcerting gift giving experience. She brought a gift to a friend of many years. Considerable thought and effort went into the gift, and it was not inexpensive. She chose it because she knew it would be quite useful during an event they would be attending. “I hate this store”, the recipient sniffed. “I would never use this.” Well then, return it and get something else, or give it to someone else, my friend suggested. “But I HATE that store, it’s crowded.” That wasn’t the end of it though, endless negatives continued to flow, unfiltered. Sure enough, opportunity arose where she actually REALLY NEEDED that item (it was back home unopened), but still found herself unable to back away from the negativity. When the topic of holiday gifting arose the following year, needless to say, my friend headed straight for the no gift policy.

This, readers, is what you DO NOT do when somebody cares enough to give you a gift, unless you want to leave an indelible distaste in their memories.

“Gift giving is ultimately about the spirit or thought behind the present. Be truly and genuinely appreciative of your friend’s gift.” -Daniel Post

The above Daniel Post quote is from a Forbes Q&A on holiday gift giving and receiving that ran last year – it serves as a nice reference point for bringing our A-Game to the holiday season.

One Last Thought:

Holidays are more fun for some than others. For some it is the most depressing or stressful time of year. Touch base with the people you care about and let them know it. You are likely to touch them more deeply than you’ll ever know.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” Scott Adams

Referenced Articles:

Bon Appétit : Giving & Thanking; A Modern Guide to Thanksgiving Etiquette

 Forbes :10 Gift-Giving Questions For An Etiquette Expert