Christmas is almost here, and along with the peace and goodwill, it also brings along the potential for some awkward etiquette situations. Most of these have simple solutions and can be handled without missing a beat….
Sticky Situation #1: You receive a gift from someone that you did not have a gift for in return.
First, respond with a “aren’t you sweet, but your really didn’t have to” and Thank them profusely. This happens a lot, there are many of us out there, that like to express our gratitude, or friendship in the form of a little something, something around the holidays. Many of us do this for the simple reason that we enjoy the process of putting together a gift for the someone, most of us are not expecting anything other than a ‘Thank you’ in return. But, if you feel like you must reciprocate, invite your friend to lunch or for out for coffee to catch up after the holidays, your time and friendship will make for the perfect gift. **A side note regarding Christmas cards, if you receive a card from someone you did not send one to, send them a New Year’s Card in January. Many people don’t send out Christmas cards, but Happy New Year’s cards, they will think this was your plan all along!
Sticky Situation #2: You receive a gift that you will never wear/use/or decorate with it.
Even the best shoppers have make mistakes. But, do not hold on to something that you do not need or want (this is how hoarding starts) – so send your Thank you note, and it either put this in your re-gifting closet, up on ebay, or donate it to the goodwill. Do not fall into the thought that you must wear, or display the item in question. These rules however go out the window if the gift is from your Mother. Wear it or display it immediately!
Sticky Situation #3: You are at a party, trapped in a corner talking to the boss’ wife/drunk co-worker/or your crazy neighbor.
There are several methods for getting unstuck from this situation. There is the bathroom break, where you fake a need to visit the little girls room (only attempt this when the person you are trying to get away from is of the opposite sex – they will follow you), there is the ‘I’m being a bad guest, I need to see if the hostess needs some help’ – again, only do this if you are talking to a man (we know they won’t volunteer to help!). A classic made easier by cell phones, ‘I need to check in with the babysitter’ excuse yourself, and make a bee line to a quiet spot. The no-fail is of course ‘It has been wonderful catching up with you, but I just saw so and so, and I really need to speak with him/her regarding book club/PTA/world peace, have a wonderful evening’ – and then walk away, before they can respond. It’s a polite way to remove yourself gracefully.
Now of course these happen all year long, with birthday parties, and 4th of July picnics, they just always seem to be magnified with it being the Holiday season (but isn’t everything?). Don’t be so hard on yourself….Enjoy the Holidays and the Eggnog!!