The holiday season is here and people are shopping, baking, decorating and making festive plans. It’s the time of year meant for merriment, togetherness, and goodwill. But, it’s inevitable that we will run into scrooges and toxic individuals who take pleasure in disrupting our festive plans. But, on the flip side, there may be things you’ve done in the past during the holidays that you are not proud of and don’t want to repeat. Here are a few points of reflection we may want to ponder.
Most of us have at least one or two get-togethers during the yuletide season where we may have invited people that we really don’t like out of guilt or duty. It might be a family member, a co-worker, a neighbor or a long-time family friend. These individuals are downers, moody, judgemental, critical and think the world revolves around their misery. You invite them every year and always regret it because they always spoil the festivities. They drink too much and cry or get nasty to our family and guests! You swear this is the last time and you’ll never invite them again. Set a precedent this year and consciously invite only those we truly enjoy being around and exclude those we don’t. Bad behavior should never be rewarded. Don’t invite guests you don’t like! It’s as simple as that!
If you have the honor of being invited to a holiday party, dinner, get-together or gift exchange, caroling, or even a Christmas light tour, be kind and reply. Send the RSVP as quick as you can so the hosts can arrange their party. It’s thoughtful, respectful and courteous. Don’t wait for the last minute and say you are not coming, they could have invited others to take your place. Or don’t say, I totally forgot to respond and then show up. Your host is not a mind reader. You will put your host in an awkward position and there may not be enough food or seating for you.
The holidays are festive and that means parties, parties, and more parties. Alcohol consumption increases a lot during the holidays, to the point of significant inebriation…drink…drank…drunk. If we are going to drink, we need to consciously decide on a designated driver or make arrangements for someone to provide us with a safe ride home. We know this, yet every year we have to be reminded. Every year loved ones are killed because someone thought they could drive while intoxicated. If you host a party, you also have a social responsibility to stop the drinks when your guests have too much and to see that they get home safely. This year, be safe and make wise and conscious decisions ahead of time so everyone enjoys this wonderful time of year.
There is an etiquette to regifting. We’ve all received gifts that we either don’t like or have any practical use for. While many may snub at the idea of giving or getting a recycled gift, there are others who don’t mind. But, there are some rules and an art to this trend. Don’t regift an item within your circle of family and friends. It can create hurt feelings, resentment, and embarrassment. No one wants to see that vase you gave them last year being gifted to someone close to you. Not cool! Don’t regift used items! Yes, some have done this! Make sure the regift is new and in great condition in its original box. Be honest! It’s okay to say that you received this gift (CD/DVD) last year, but you already have it. Would you like it? But if you feel awkward about regifting, give to a charity where it will be well received.
Ever walk into a party and there is someone’s drunk Unc holding some mistletoe above his head, hoping to plant a sloppy wet kiss on your face? I actually knew someone who enjoyed doing this because she loved kissing other women’s husbands. Let’s not go there. While mistletoe has its place, it doesn’t mean you should impose your lips on others. Or if you don’t want to respond, kindly step back so they know you are not interested. Just say, no thank you, smile nicely and walk away.
Showing up at a holiday party or get-together in ragged jeans and a stained tee is not appropriate. Nor is a low cut top or sheer clothing going to go over well. Don’t be afraid to ask your host about attire. You can dress up, age-appropriate and comfortable and still look stunning. Pants, sequins tops, cozy sweater, suits, and the classic LBD (little black dress) are acceptable. Simple elegance and comfortable confidence go a long way.
Tis’ the season to be jolly, not a grinch, not a party pooper. If you’re a guest in someone’s home, respect their rules. Take your shoes off! High heels can damage hardwood so bring your own cozy slippers. Keep your feet off the furniture. You may recline and put your feet on the coffee table at home, but don’t assume it’s okay in your host’s home. Don’t smoke, this should be obvious, but I’ve seen it happen. Don’t bring your children, pets or extra guests unless you ask ahead of time. Don’t rob the mood with inappropriate jokes or well-heard stories. Don’t sit there and expect to be waited on. Get up and help out. Don’t spill the beans if you know what someone is getting for a Christmas gift. It deflates the mood and makes you look immature. Don’t adjust the music volume without the host or group consent. You may like it louder, but other guests may feel uncomfortable and be unable to converse.
Getting ready for the holiday season does not mean we have to take out a mortgage. We may want everything to be perfect and give everyone an awesome gift, but setting a budget is both wise and beneficial. Most of us overspend during the holidays because we let the holiday fever and sentimental emotions take over. Don’t go shopping without focus. Have a list of items you need to purchase and stick to it, or you’ll be left with a whopping bill next month. Buy early when items are on sale. Procrastinating means your left with mulled over items at full price.
We all have grandiose hopes, mostly delusions about have the best holiday season ever, but most are far too lofty to attain. Trying to come up with the most lavish and festive holiday decor, the perfect meals and decadent treats, heart-thumping gifts, and cleanest house will lead to unnecessary stress. Relax into this holiday season and don’t let the mishaps derail you. Snuggle up with your pets and enjoy the flicker of the fireplace. It’s about family, friends, love, compassion and being in the moment. Being present with your loved ones is the real gift.