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Do’s and Dont’s For the Holiday Season!

{ Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 }

As posted by Etiquette Moms…Here are some great pointers!

8 Etiquette Don’ts to Avoid this Holiday Season


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“Please, make yourself at home.” the homeowner and party host says kindly as she takes your coat and leaves the room to mix you a drink. As the holidays approach and party invitations abound, you will likely hear these words often, but what exactly does it mean to “make yourself at home” when you are a guest?

Avoid the following eight etiquette gaffs to ensure you stay on the guest list.

1. Don’t request a tour or take an unguided tour of the home.
The host of a party is under no obligation to offer guests a tour. In fact, it is rude to request a tour of someone’s home no matter how gorgeous and expertly decorated. Remain in those areas of the home that appear public and stay out of dark rooms and rooms with closed doors. Respect the privacy of those who live in the home. Sometimes in a rush to host a wonderful party, bedrooms don’t receive the same attention as public spaces and are not in a condition to be viewed by the public. Be aware that family members not associated with the party deserve to remain undisturbed by visitors. Do not riffle through medicine cabinets and people’s closets.

2. Don’t take off your shoes.
Sitting on the couch and kicking off your shoes is not good manners. Removing one’s shoes (in Western culture) is an intimate and casual behavior and not appropriate. Keep your clothes on when invited to a party. What if the host requests you take off your shoes? Take them off and refrain from telling the host that it is not gracious, no matter how spectacular the white carpet, to ask one’s guest to remove her shoes…try and hide the hole in your sock.

3. Don’t turn on the television.
Do not turn on someone else’s television or other technological device. Flipping through the channels while you await your drink or using the host’s computer to check email is impolite. Using someone else’s computer is an especially large etiquette and privacy breach. Unless the host switches on the television (do not ask that the host turn on the television) to check the scores of the game, wait until you get home.

4. Don’t change the music.
It is not the place of a guest to change the music that a host has selected. Even if you hate the music and believe that your musical choice would make the party go from a dud to a sensation do not touch the music. Do not make any negative or what could be perceived as negative comments about the music.

5. Don’t lie down on the couch. 
Your host has served a fantastic and filling dinner, what harm would there be in stretching out on the couch while the table is cleared and the coffee and dessert is prepared? Reclining on the host’s couch while the table is being cleared is socially unacceptable. Although taking a nap might be preferable, conversing with the other guests is the polite way to behave between dinner and dessert.

6. Don’t put your feet up on the coffee table.
It is both boorish and unhygienic to place one’s feet, shoes on or not, on the coffee table. Feet should remain planted firmly on the floor where they will neither spread dirt and germs onto the table surface nor damage the furniture.

7. Don’t start washing the pots and pans in the sink.
Offering to help clear the table is gracious and kind. In most situations, the host will decline the offer preferring guests to relax, mingle, and enjoy an evening out without being put to work. Do not embarrass the host by insisting to jump in and start cleaning. Unless the host begs it is likely she would rather you leave the dishes.

8. Don’t make yourself a hindrance by entering the kitchen.
Hosting a party in one’s home is stressful and a lot of work. The party host wants the event to be a success and for his guests to enjoy themselves. The command center of a party is usually the kitchen where food is being cooked and served and drinks are being mixed and poured. The well-mannered guest stays out of the kitchen to avoid getting underfoot, distracting the host from the duties he is attending to and embarrassing the host in his perhaps messy work station. Wait for food to be served and drinks to be offered and refrain from usurping the host and helping yourself.

Attending a party requires guests to use their finest manners. Invitees should always keep in mind that it is an honor not an entitlement to be welcomed into someone’s home. Avoid the behaviors that drive hosts nuts and you will be welcomed with open arms.



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