Saturday, December 13, 2008

Xmas eticutt.


It's important.
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Yes it is people. So you better shape up for Christmas. I thought I would post some do's and don't's - bare bones advice.
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Always RSVP. Neither be too early or too late in your arrival - try to hit it on the dot - the host will always be prepared for the time indicated on the invitation. If it is open house, that is a different matter entirely - just don't show up too close to the end time.
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Stay at least an hour if it is a casual or cocktail type get together. If it is dinner, stay at least half an hour after dinner is over and dessert has been served. If you are enjoying yourself and the host seems to be enjoying you, stay as long as he or she wants - or until you have to use the bathroom, try not to do that at the host's house if it is a BM, especially if you have IBS. (In that case, I'd prefer you didn't come at all.)
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Do dress accordingly, or at least better than you would for church. (Cathy will get this one. LOL!)
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Do not wear a heavy scent - many hostesses use scented candles, incense, and/or those awful plug-in things - the addition of a heavy perfume or cologne just makes everyone want to throw up. Few people realize that the mixture of too many scents takes on the odor of diarrhea.
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Do acknowledge gifts or parties hosted by acquaintances or business associates, by sending a little thank you note. Never send thank you notes for cards - that is just pathetic.
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Do bring a hostess gift, good wine, expensive candy, out of season flowers, a Christmas tree covered in old world glass ornaments, or just anything you want to re-gift.
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Do not criticize other parties you have been to, what they served, or wore, or what the house was like, or how drunk they were, or who their friends are - this is a dead give-away that you will bitch about your present host after you leave.
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Don't criticize the host or other guests you are in the presence of, the food or entertainment, the favors or gifts, the host's decor and dress, while at the party - unless you go out for a smoke and your host and the others you are trashing can't hear you.
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Don't drink to excess... stage your drinks. I try to stay to one cocktail every 10 minutes. And never ask for the host's left-over-from-previous-surgery pain pills or Valium.
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Do not ask other guests who happen to be professionals, such as interior designers, hair stylists, cosmetic-surgeons, or psychologists, for serious advice or discounts while at the party. Ask for their business card and call for an appointment later. And never criticize their work if the subject comes up. I once asked a psychologist how he could help anyone when he's so nuts himself. People can be very touchy during the holidays.
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If uncomfortable subjects or questions arise at the dinner table, even if brought up by the host or hostess, give your warmest smile and say, "Oh, oh, I'm much too ill-informed to speak to that - at least that is what I always tell the curious ones." Laugh gaily and drink your wine. If asked again, just repeat your answer, over and over until they stop asking you.
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Do not ask questions you wouldn't answer yourself.
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Do not turn the plates over to see a manufacturer's stamp, and never ask the cost of anything, from table cloths to centerpieces to the cost of the house - you can get all that information on line after the visit.
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Never ask fat women if they are pregnant - or, in cases of single women whom you had heard were pregnant - but no longer are, never ask things like, "I heard you were pregnant, how is the baby?" I learned this the hard way!
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Never mention wigs - once, I attended a former co-worker's party. While we worked together, he had always cut his hair very short. When we met again, it appeared he had let it grow out. Just to tease him I said, "Nice wig." Shut my mouth - it was a hair weave.
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Carry on about their pets - no matter what the critters do - play with them, let them jump up on you, pretend you like them if you don't. Many people are offended if you say, "I don't like animals." or "Could you please make your dog stop that?" Pets are other people's kids. Oh, that reminds me - be nice to their human kids if they have any. And if you have kids, and the host does not, don't talk about your kids unless asked, and keep it short. Many childless people are childless for a reason, and they are not interested... Just like people without pets.
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I will try to add more helpful etiquette hints as we near Christmas and New Years, we will cover kisses and hugs and sexual advances.

9 comments:

  1. "Oh, oh, I'm much too ill-informed to speak to that - at least that is what I always tell the curious ones."

    Can I say, "it is above my pay grade"?

    Thanxs for the advice column ...

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  2. "one drink every ten minutes" - LOL

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  3. michael12:25 PM

    This is hilarious, Terry! I can't wait for the next part!

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  4. I just love that photo of you and Cathy! I have it framed on my grand piano.

    And the tips are great - it made me remember the Christmas open-house parties my parents always gave - except people weren't rude or weird or drunk...LOL!

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  5. Yes Ang - people in those days had better manners, especially if they were born in the Netherlands - and of course, Canadians are much more courteous than most Americans, except for the Southerners - they are very nice.

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  6. Ter: Timely post but I really wish you had addressed in this post how to handle what happened at your party last year: you know that unfortunate episode with Ray, the mistletoe and the bottle of gin.

    I need help. I have no idea what to wear for the party this year.

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  7. Cath - everyone makes mistakes.

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  8. Who's picking me up at the airport this year?

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  9. Angela: I TOTALLY would if you were making an appearance. You can crash at my place.

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