Holiday Etiquette: 10 Tips For Celebrating In Style

Season’s greetings, dear readers! It is I, your sporadic etiquette blogger, back with some last-minute holiday survival tips. Here’s how to stay gracious while keeping spirits bright…

1. Have a go-to hostess gift you can count on. This year, I’ve relied heavily on my famous rosemary shortbread and these impossibly cute wine-bottle sweaters. Can you stand it?! (Score yours for a mere $8.95 at Pier 1.)


2. Mind your RSVP‘s and Q’s. When you’re the hostess, headcount matters. Be a gracious guest by responding promptly and honoring your commitment to attend.

3. That said, don’t push yourself to ridiculous lengths. You can’t make every single cocktail party, cookie swap, white elephant and yuletide tea. Know when to send polite regrets — lest you end up like me. (Currently run-down and battling an annoying Christmas cold.)

4. When shopping for gifts, avoid anything that hints at a need for self-improvement on the part of the recipient. Diet books, Botox coupons, and gift memberships to dating websites aren’t exactly tidings of comfort and joy. =)

5. Receive graciously. When you open a present, say a sincere thank-you that acknowledges the gift-giver’s thought and effort. (Even if you know for a fact that chartreuse throw blanket will be on its way to Goodwill no later than January 2.)

6. Keep track of your gifts so you can send thoughtful handwritten thank-you notes. As longtime readers know, this is considered Annabel Manners 101.

7. Travel in style. A friend of mine recently confided that when flying, he always dresses for the possibility of a first-class upgrade. After all, one never knows. That means no yoga pants or pajamas, even for overnight flights.

8. Here’s a party trick that’s easier said than done: prioritize. What’s really more important? Painstakingly stringing popcorn and cranberries in a fit of Martha mania or squeezing in a pre-party power nap so you’ll be fresh for the next fete?

9. Accept help. Nobody will mind that half the goodies on your holiday table came from the bakery down the street. Pop them on a silver tray and present them with pride!

10. Cultivate a signature look. When in doubt, black is always elegant for evening. Accessorize with festive jewelry and a fabulous pair of heels. You’ll be the belle of any holiday ball! (The dress pictured here is by Tibi.)


Blogger’s note: Obviously this list would have been more useful on, say, December 2. Where did the weeks go? I feel like I’ve been through a holiday hurricane, and I bet you do, too. I’m already crafting a list of resolutions for next year’s posting schedule…

In any case, I wish each of you a wonderful, Merry Christmas and a safe, happy new year. See you in 2012!

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