Downmarket Downton-Victorian entertaining economically
February 8, 2014, 10:15 AM
Filed under: etiquette, Financial tips, Fun on a budget, Holiday Fun

How many of my readers are Downton Abbey fans?  I know I am.  I have found myself swept up in Downton fever.  This public broadcasting station hit is a great escape based in historic setting around real events.  Like many I have enjoyed getting to know the Grantham and the Crawley families.  I tune in each week to check in on friends upstairs and downstairs.  I also have been intrigued by the customs and practices of the era.   I wanted to learn more about societal practices and behaviors.   I researched on-line, read books and  watched documentaries.  The more I learned the more I wanted to know.

” I always thought that people who made a big deal about good manners meant that they were stuck up, or trying to act better than you .   Having good manners is a way to put everyone around you at ease. – (Blast from the Past).   Victorians were big on manners and social graces as well as charity and kindness and hospitality.  I myself love entertaining and making people feel at home when they visit my home.  I believe in todays age of fast-paced, computer age, cell phone addicted, I-pad loving world; we have lost the human touch somewhere along the way.  I think it’s about time we bring it back into style; even if it’s in a small way.

Dining in Victorian times was an event.  People sent invitations thru the mail or even by messenger.   There were expectations of dress, topics of discussion, introductions and decorum.  I will pass along how I created a Victorian Dinner Party on a budget.  First we will start with the invitation.   When planning a formal dinner party, the hostess had to carefully select guests  it was indeed a necessity to have a socially harmonious group of guests.  After selecting a date and creating a guest-list, invitations were written by the hostess and sent two days to two weeks before the party, depending on the occasion. Guests were expected to send a reply, especially if they were unable to attend.   According to Godey’s Lady’s Book, one should specify the number of guests invited in the invitation, so that the invitee might dress to suit the occasion and avoid the embarrassment of improper attire. It was customary for men to wear black pants, a waist-coat, jacket, white tie, shirt and gloves, and for female guests to don formal evening dresses and gloves, which were removed at the table.

sample invitation

Cell phone pics till Feb 14 storm 1084


When guests arrived, they were met in the entry, where they would remove their jackets and hats before being led into the parlor to be greeted by the host and hostess. A knowledgable hostess would be dressed and waiting before the designated time of the party, in order to greet any guests, who, in an attempt to be punctual, had arrived ahead of schedule. To arrive before the hostess was ready was indeed an embarrassment.  Drinks are offered by the hostess at this time.  A good host or hostess will have non alcoholic beverages to offer should there be a guest who does not drink.

I choose two couples of the same age group and status.  I informed my guests by the style of the invitation and noted dress to impress on the invitation.  The cost of the invitation was only the cost of stamps for me as I am an avid craftier and used many of the supplies I already had.  The picture above was found on a search for Victorian Valentines.  I printed it out and then cut the image to fit my greeting card size and then used a combination of stamps and paper to personalize.  I also looked up the proper manner of addressing the invitees as it was quite formal then.  These sites were quite helpful; and also

Cell phone pics till Feb 14 storm 1156

Next I set about finding out what was served at a typical Victorian dinner party.  I found that most were 12 course!  But upon further research I had heard that 8 course dinner could be acceptable.    The guests examined their menus, always written in French while they awaited the first part of the three course meal. They were not expected to eat everything offered, and could pick and choose which foods they wanted as they sat around the ornate table, which usually had a decorative centerpiece, like flowers or a fruit pyramid (“Dinner at Eight”). Some possible food items included soup, venison, poultry, vegetables, and for dessert, and imported fruits (Margetson 79). Oysters were also frequently served (Margetson 86). Here is a sample menu.

I created a menu with 8 courses.  Course 1- is soup.  I choose butternut squash soup I purchased (boxed) and topped with French’s Fried Onions in the center before serving.  Course 2- is called kickshaws- our translation is appetizer.  Usually you would serve 3-4 options so guests can partake or decline.  I served 2 options Caprese bites, and Spinach pastry puffs.  Course 3-Sorbet for cleansing of the palate only.  One small scoop served in a footed dish.  Course 4- Fish, I opted for a small serving using tuna, rather than a full serving of fish as dictated by the custom of the day.  Course 5-Salad with assorted dressings.  Course 6- Main dish.  I chose teraki seasoned pork loin with mashed potatoes and haricot.  Course 7-Fruits, cheeses, pastries dessert.  I served assorted berries, cheeses, and dessert.  My dessert was a layered creamcicle cake.  Course 8- Tea, coffee, assorted chocolates, cookies.  Served in the study ( my case the living room).  If you serve wines with each course choose the glass champagne-dessert, Burgundy, Bordeaux-duck or pheasant or wild game and red meat or fish, and White-served with soup, salad, fish, white poultry meat.  There should be a separate glass for water.

Cell phone pics till Feb 14 storm 1117 Cell phone pics till Feb 14 storm 1116

I asked a friend who is a professional waitress and she became “the help.”  She dressed in style and did a magnificent job serving and timing the dinner.  I would recommend having a Butler, and two maids if you can.  Also be sure to coordinate with the help the timing of dinner and order of courses, about half an hour to 45 minutes should do the trick.  There should be no verbal communication during dinner with the help unless absolutely necessary.  Plates should be cleared between courses.  This is where having two sets of hands makes the flow of much more professional. When setting the table I recommend “The Little Book of Etiquette” by Sheila M. Long.  Silverware is used from the outside in.  The last step in setting the table is to space the settings 16 inches wide.  This gives each guest plenty of room.

Napkin folding adds an extra touch of flare to your table.  This site by Huffington post was very helpful and easy to follow.  I choose the Bishop’s hat but the rosette is even simpler.  When doing the rosette I would recommend a colored napkin.  You may also find several examples on you tube.

When announcing dinner, the hostess will say, “Dinner is served.”  At that time the guests will be escorted into the dining room the hostess escorted by man-of-honor, or other ranking member of the party.  The Host, by lady-of-honor or high-ranking woman in the party.  If having a party of 10 or more, choose a seating partner for each woman ahead of time and use place cards.  If 10 or less in your party you as the hostess should direct the guests to their assigned seats.  The male escort shall seat the female by pulling out her chair.

The atmosphere is of utmost importance.  Think the five senses, Smell-candles or the food prepared, Sight- place setting and table scape, sound-classical music with conversational decibel levels, Touch- feel of fabrics and clothing, and Taste of food.  Above all a good hostess makes her guests feel at ease.  Some tips to making your guests feel at ease;

1) Place your napkin in your lap to signal it is time to do the same and begin.

2) Finger bowls-should be used after serving messy foods or after the fish course, or just before dessert.  The Victorian tradition is to use rose-water which can be quite expensive and found at Whole Foods or other organic stores.  Or make your own.  this YouTube video was helpful;  Another less time-consuming and expensive is lemon water.  You can make this with real lemon pieces or lemon juice and warm water.  Promptly clear these once all guests have finished.

3) As a hostess you should continue eating until the last guest has finished so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable.  As someone who gets very excited about the next thing, I look up and pace myself accordingly to my guests. Its hard at first but you get the picture.

4) Eat something before the party to help maintain your energy throughout the evening.

5) Be cheerful, interested, and no matter what happens, relaxed.  Your mood sets the tone.

6)  Always entertain with in your means.  Guests come to a party to enjoy one another’s company!

Knowing the correct dining etiquette gives you more confidence so you can relax and enjoy social gatherings, no matter how formal.  Entertaining around the dinner table can promote both business and friendship.  Have fun!


Correspondence-Part II Children
April 25, 2012, 8:29 AM
Filed under: etiquette, Life style

Ever wish you got something other than bills in the mail?  Years ago before the telephone became a permanent attachment to our bodies, people wrote letters.  Letters were written for every occasion and it was considered part of good upbringing and social graces.  A letter was written for introductions, visiting cards, invitations, social correspondences, and special occasions like weddings and showers.  I will go over some example of each, but today I’ll focus on children.

A party offers much opportunity for training a child in the beauties of hospitality.  While girls are easier to train than boys, if mom can get the child to see the idea of a “square deal” (if you behave nicely you can expect to receive the same treatment in return), it will be easier to accomplish.  Your children will grow up to be kinder and more considerate of others if you teach them how to be that way when they’re young. You can do that by setting a good example. You must always say “please” and “thank you” to your kids. Even when you are saying, “Please get your bicycle off my foot,” or “Thank you for the dead slug.”

Be a good role model. “Do as I say, but not as I do” is a joke. Your kids probably want to respond with, “Yeah, like you’d catch me playing bridge with a bunch of 50-year-old women!” When you want your child to show good manners and respect, you must also practice good manners and respect. Say please and thank you, admit your mistakes, apologize, and treat people, in general, with kindness and respect. The reward of this behavior is that your children will grow up having many friends and a family that loves being around her.

If mom (or dad) can make it seem like a game to keep each guest happy, they will prove successful.  Show them the way. Children do whatever they have to do to express themselves. Sometimes that comes off looking and sounding pretty bad. Playing a role reversal game with your child can help show them how to handle situations. Let them ask the question or behave a certain way, and you respond by showing them how their behavior should appear.

  • Be kind to others. Telling kids, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” doesn’t really mean anything to them. Instead, stress the importance of treating others the same way they’d like to be treated, especially when you see them doing something that you know they themselves don’t like. For example, if your son hates to be interrupted and yet he interrupts people, then remind him, “Jonah, you really don’t like it when people interrupt you, so please don’t do that to Jeremiah.”
  • Understand their actions. Help your children understand the harm they can cause by doing or saying thoughtless and unkind things. Ask them, “How would you feel if someone pointed at you, and started to laugh?” In the beginning, you may simply be doing damage control, but eventually you’ll be helping them to avoid harmful words or actions.
  • Share. Share with your children so they understand the importance of sharing with others. Compliment them when you see them sharing with others.
  • Keep kids healthy. Children tend to behave badly when they’re tired or hungry. Kids need sleep and nutritious foods to survive. It’s that simple.
  • Practice family politeness. Everyone in the family must practice “please” and “thank-you” policy in which, for example, no request is considered unless the person asking says “please.” When one of your children forgets, just give him or her a look that says, “I’m waiting.” They soon catch on. Use the same approach for saying “thank you.”
  • Praise good behavior. Praise is a wonderful teacher. Tell your children how proud you are when you notice them being polite and following the “please” and “thank-you” guidelines that you’ve set


  •  Invitations. The mother may write a few lines, but she retains the specialness of the invitation if she asks the child what to say.  Invitations for children should always be definite as to the hours of the affair that the parents may know may know when to send for them.

Example:    Dear Betty,

Will you come to a dance on Friday April the third, from four to six o’clock?

Lovingly yours,


Response:      Dear Rosy,

Thank you asking me to your dance on Friday, April the third, from four to six o’clock.

I will come with much pleasure.

Affectionately yours,


      Invitations for outings of a longer duration.

                                Dear Barbie,

Will your mother allow you to come to our vacation house at Woodhaven for a few days?  My mother wishes me to say to your mother that she will take care of you in every way.

If you come on the train leaving at___ on Friday the second, we will meet you at the station and Dad will take you into town on the train arriving at___ on Monday morning.  I do hope you can come.




Dear Margery,

Mom saya that I may accept your kind invitation so I will arrive at ____ station on the ____ train on Friday.  I am so happy to be with you  and know it will be enjoyable.

Lovingly yours,


  • Thank-you notes. Teach your children the importance of thanking people for gifts. Show them how to write notes and make sure that they are sent promptly after receiving gifts.  examples:

Dearest Grandma,

Thank you s thousand times for the lovely Christmas dolly you asked Santa to bring me.  She is the sweetest dolly and I tell her how much I love you.   We had a delightful Christmas and we all send you much love.

Your loving little girl,

Barbie Fuller

  • Apology notes

If a child has destroyed anything, a few lines written in apology will make the desired impression.  If there has been rudeness to a teacher or older person a note of regret will cause more courtesy another time.

  •     “I am very sorry that I was careless and broke your pretty vase.  I will truly try to be more careful.
  •    Dear Miss Greene,

I am very sorry I was rude today and hope you will excuse me.  I will try to be more

polite every day in every way.

Yours sincerely,

John Bolter, Jr.

Practicing these simple courtseys will not only ensure future invitations but will equip your child with the social graces to ensure their future success in life and business.  It can also help in the short run making day-to-day life more pleasant.





How to Add Value to Your Life
April 17, 2012, 1:52 PM
Filed under: etiquette, Healthly Living, Life style

“A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot…”  ―    Robert A. Heinlein

A big hello to all our readers this beautiful sun shine filled day!  First my apologies for missing some days.  We had a busy group of days there for a while.  But we’re back in full swing  today.  Recently, I have inherited some old books which is one of my favorite things to collect and one of these books was a book on etiquette from 1923.  This intrigued me and got me thinking about how we seem to have lost that human touch in our daily interactions.  I was always tought that using etiquette was a way of showing respect for another person.  Manners are a way of showing other people we care about them.  -Brandon Fraiser in Blast from the Past.  “I know, I mean I thought a “gentleman” was somebody that owned horses. But it turns out, his short and simple definition of a lady or a gentleman is, someone who always tries to make sure the people around him or her are as comfortable as possible.”  Troy-Blast From the Past.   This is the simplest and best definition of etiquette I have heard for some time.

Recently, I have felt a rekindling of a desire to show respect for others and to do my part to make the world a kinder and gentler place.  I don’t know if this comes from getting older, or experiences I have had,  or from a personal conviction.  Whatever it is, I am going to explore different ways to show respect to my fellow citizens of this world how much I value them and myself.  This  is the start of a journey which I will share with as I go.  I hope this is helpful to you.

Today I’ll start with something I felt prompted to do; I wrote a note to the wife of one of my husband’s friends.  We recently spent some time together and I wanted to thank her for taking the time to get a sitter and visit with us.  I told her how nice it was to meet one of the men my husband works with that I hear so much about.  I thanked her for the pleasant conversation and said how I hoped we could do it again sometime.  I left it open so she could call again if she wished.  My thought was just to tell her she was appreciated.  We don’t ever hear that often enough.

Another thing I have gone back to doing is sending thank yous and birthday cards.  Wether you are thanking someone for a reference, a gift or an invitation, its nice to get something other than a bill in the mail.  I was at a bridal shower over the weekend and the bride’s mother gave everyone a recipe card with address written carefully in calligraphy and with a stamp already affixed.  She said so that it would bring a nice little something to look forward to.  I think that is the nicest idea I had heard for a long time.  So I am going to find a good recipe and jot it down and send it to her at a random moment.  I think it will help her to know that someone was thinking about her and uplift her for the day.

Well ladies and gents, that’s it for today.   Tune in next time for another exciting (or not so exciting but hopefully inspiring) episode of  How to Add Value to Your Life.


“Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners”  ―    Laurence Sterne


How to set a formal table
April 12, 2012, 5:26 PM
Filed under: etiquette

There is no need to use more than three pieces of silver on either side of the plate. No need to make your guests feel uncomfortable while they are trying to figure out which fork to use. If the menu requires additional silver, it should be brought in when the course is served. If you are serving that many courses, I highly recommend your hire outside help to assist you. If there is no food to be eaten with a piece of silver, it should not be placed on the table. Simple as that.
Table setting diagram
If you are serving coffee and it is going to be served in the living room, there is no need of a spoon on the table unless it is required by some other food. In general, silver which is used by the left hand is placed on the left of the plate, and that used by the right hand is on the right. Forks are at the left, knives and spoons are on the right. A seafood cocktail fork is an exception. It is placed on the right since it is used in the right hand, unless an individual is left-handed. The sharper side of the knife is turned toward the plate. The formal table setting diagram above, shows a more involved table setting for a more elegant formal dinner. There is no need to utilize to formal table table setting diagram, if you don’t have enough flatware to accomodate it. Just follow the informal table setting diagram.
The water glass is placed on the right at the tip of the dinner knife. Goblets may be substituted at luncheon or dinner. If wine is to be served, the glasses are to the rightof the water glass. They are arranged in a diagonal line toward the spoons. The first wine to be served is placed nearer the right hand of the guest.
If you don’t plan on serving wine or any other type of alcoholic beverage, click here for some non-alcoholic beverage ideas.
The use of bread and butter plates is up to you. They are not generally used in formal dining but for a semi-formal luncheon or dinner party, they provide space for bread, relishes and olive pits. If you are having a casual type party with cocktail ribs or chicken wings or something with a toothpick, include this type of plate for the waste. It is better to have bread and butter plates than to have the dinner plate assume role of a garbage can.
When setting a table, the napkin can be placed in either of two positions. At a luncheon or dinner party when the first course is to be served after the guests are seated, it may be folded into a rectangle and placed across the plate. It is also OK to place the neatly folded napkin to the left of the forks. The open corner may be toward or away from the plate though all napkins on the table should be folded and turned in the same direction. Don’t waste your time trying to learn fancy napkin folds. The food is more important. A napkin folded into a rectangle fits into the design of table arrangement better than any other shape.

If a salad is to be on the table, it is placed to the left of the bread and butter plate. Individual salt and peppers are placed at the top of the plate. Salt and peppers at each place are not required for a good service but they allow guests to continue the conversation rather than to try to find a break in which to say, “Please pass the salt.”
At a large dinner party place cards simplify seating. Place cards may be used for a small party if it is a festive occasion or if place cards are desired to carry out the theme of the party.

Ettiquette for Kids
April 3, 2012, 8:37 AM
Filed under: etiquette, Life style

Have you ever been somewhere that you have seen children who are so well-behaved, you wonder how does that mom do it?  Or the reverse is probably more memorable, a child or several children are COMPLETELY out of control, rolling on the floor, full on temper tantrum, screaming at the top of their lungs, and the parent seemingly doing nothing about it.  Well, I first try to remember that I know nothing of what preceded that event or what is going on in that person’s life.  I have no context in which to properly analyze the situation.  Second, here are some helpful hints I found.  Some may be common sense, others are so simple that it seems we should have tried this before.  I hope it helps all those moms, aunts, grandmoms, and caretakers out there.

1.    Eat, Sleep & Be Merry. A hungry stomach or a tired body is a recipe for holiday party disaster.  Schedules tend to be packed during the holiday season leaving little or no downtime for children to recharge their batteries.  Avoid any pitfalls by making sure your children get plenty of rest and eat a light snack before attending any holiday celebration.

2.   Dress for Party Success.   Encourage your children to dress appropriately for the occasion.  If your family is attending a party at a ski chalet then a pair of clean jeans, a parka and Uggs will suffice.  However, if the holiday gathering is a more formal affair then party attire, in the form of a dress or a nice pant suit, is a wise choice.

3.   On the Road.  On your way to the party, make sure to review any rules such as the type of holiday party you will be celebrating, who will be attending, what kind of food will be served, and any special activities your children may be asked to participate in.

4.    Arrive on Time & Bearing Gifts. Your hosts are looking forward to your arrival so avoid being late and make preparations ahead of time.  Lay out the children’s suggested attire beforehand, make sure all gifts are wrapped and a proper note has been written, map out your route and write down a contact phone number in case of an emergency. 

5.”Finger licking good” is just an expression. Children (and adults) should not lick their fingers, the knife or any other body part while enjoying the holiday meal.

6.  Never ask for ketchup at the holiday meal unless it is already on the table. That also goes for any other condiment or spice. If your host thought you needed extra gravy it would be in a gravy boat on the table.

7.   Essential Holiday Table Manners.  (a) Wait to be seated until everyone has arrived at the table.  (b) Follow the lead of your host or hostess for everything.  (c) Place your napkin on your lap.  (d) Pass all trays of food to the right and all condiments in pairs.  (e) Make pleasant table conversation with the person on your right and your left. (f) Chew with your mouth closed.  (g) Wipe your mouth before taking a drink.   (h) At the end of the meal, place your utensils in the finished position on your plate and your napkin loosely on the left side of your plate. (i) Ask to please be excused.

8.  Don’t overload your plate. Often, children’s eyes are bigger than their stomachs and taking just a bit of everything rather than a large amount of everything is both courteous and appropriate.

9.    Clean-Up & Be Invited Again.   If you are attending a sit down dinner celebration with family or with friends, offer to pitch in.  Teach your child to offer to take his or her plate to the kitchen. The host may refuse the kindness, but it is a nice gesture and a good habit to get into.  This will guarantee future invitations.

10.    Gracious Gift Receiving.  Teach children to graciously accept all gifts whether they already have them or not.  Focus on something positive to say.  For example, if they do not like a gift, they don’t need to say they do.  They can simply say “thank you” or “that was so nice of you”.  Tell them that being polite pays dividends.

11.    Departures.   Designate an agreed upon beginning and end time with your family to prevent any potential major meltdowns when it comes time to leave the house or return from a party.

12.   Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! A phone call or, better yet, a hand-written note of thanks to your holiday party hosts shows your appreciation for all their hard work.  If you’ve thanked someone in person for a gift, a thank-you note isn’t obligatory. But, it is never wrong to write a thank-you note. If you receive gifts from family members that you won’t see to thank in person, write them a thank-you note—both to let them know their gift arrived and that you liked it.

Holiday Ettiquette
April 3, 2012, 8:03 AM
Filed under: etiquette, Life style

1. Don’t invite both members of a divorced or separated couple to a  holiday gathering —  unless you know they’re on good terms. Most people who  split up prefer not to see each other, at least initially. Bringing the two  together could make them — and possibly others — uncomfortable. Instead, plan to  see them separately over the holidays. That will be more time-consuming, but  it’ll be worth the effort if you want to stay friends with both parties.

2.  DON’T get drunk if you’re the hostess. “Hosting is a  responsibility,” cautions Post. “Know your own limits.” Use caution when you’re  the guest a party too, and slow down once you feel yourself rapidly approaching  that point where you think strip beer pong is a good idea. When you feel like  one too many people has asked you, “are you OK?”—it might be time to put down  the wine and grab a glass of water.

If a guest gets drunk at your home, stop serving him alcohol and see  that he gets home safely. Refusing to pour more liquor for an inebriated  guest may be awkward, but it’s necessary. Tell the person in private why you’re  cutting him off. Then ask another guest to take him home. If no one is able to  give him a ride, call a cab for him (and pay for it if need be). Or, simply  provide him with a bed for the night. Never, never, never let a guest drive away  intoxicated. Sure, he may be embarrassed or insulted at the moment, but at least  he’ll be alive in the morning.

3. When Aunt Irma, feeling inventive, brings her cucumber-banana gelatin  mold to Easter dinner, accept graciously (no eye rolling, please). A  good host responds to an unexpected — and perhaps unwelcome — contribution with  aplomb. Thank your aunt and serve her creation with your spread. You might think  cucumber and banana is a disgusting combination — but now’s not the time to tell  her so, and you’d hurt her feelings if you failed to offer it to your  guests.

4. If gift giving with your relatives is getting too expensive, it’s okay to  scale back — as long as you discuss it with them well in advance. Ending  gift escalation is not as hard as you think, if you’re willing to be frank.  Months before the holidays, bring up the idea of alternative giving schemes.  Some options: drawing names, limiting presents to a specific dollar amount,  giving gifts only to kids and not to adults. Others will probably be grateful  that you were brave enough to  start the discussion.

5. When you receive horrible, wrong-size or duplicate gifts, smile, say  something polite, extend a thank-you…and then run for the returns line. A  collector’s plate featuring Yosemite Falls? Really, what was your mother-in-law  thinking? Still, you can probably come up with something appreciative to say:  “This is so thoughtful! You know how much I love the outdoors.” But being  gracious about a gift doesn’t mean you always have to keep it. Yes, if the item  is one of a kind or homemade — like a painting or a knitted scarf — you’re stuck  with it. Otherwise, you can take the item back to the store and exchange it for  something else. And when your friend asks how you like your new hand blender?  Don’t lie. Say, “I love those so much, I already owned one — so I didn’t think  you’d mind if I exchanged it for a food mill. Thanks for making my life in the  kitchen so much easier!”

6. Regift rarely…if ever. You have a surplus of “stuff,” and it  seems like the best way to downsize is to pass things on to other people. Makes  sense. Problem is, if the truth emerges, two loved ones will feel hurt — the  original giver (because you obviously didn’t value her choice) and the recipient  (who thought you’d take the time to find something special just for her). The  basic guidelines for regifting: First, you must be positive that the gift is  something the recipient would love. Second, the item must be brand new and in  its original package. And third, it shouldn’t be something the original giver  took great care to select just for you. An example: Regifting a nice bottle of  Pinot Noir to a wine lover is okay. Regifting a crystal vase your mother brought  you from Bermuda is not.

7. If you’re creating a holiday “newsletter” to send with cards, keep your  readers in mind. Newsletters should be short (a page or less) and sweet.  Keep them upbeat — most people don’t want to hear about your dental surgery. On  the other hand, avoid turning your letter into a brag sheet. Saying, “Sam and I  were lucky enough to visit Europe — at long last!” is low-key and friendly. But  “Sam and I spent a week at a deluxe French spa and were utterly pampered”  screams “Don’t you wish you were us?” Personalize each copy with a handwritten  salutation and always sign your name. Also, be sure you’re sending the  newsletter only to people who are genuinely interested in your family news.

8. When you receive a holiday card from someone you didn’t send one to,  reciprocation is optional. Send if you wish. But beware of turning the  exchange of holiday cards into a table tennis match. Say a card arrives from  your cousin Myron on the seventh day of Hanukkah, and oops, you’d accidentally  forgotten him. Instead of thwacking a card back across the Web — which may seem  perfunctory rather than sincere — wait a few weeks and write him a letter. Or,  call Myron to thank him for such a thoughtful note.

9. In fact, there’s no obligation to send holiday cards at all. Too  stressed? Forgo the tradition this season, but vow to get in touch at another  time of year: Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, first week of fall, etc. You’ll  have more time for writing cards and hopefully won’t view it as such a chore.

10. DON’T leave guests to awkwardly mingle at a party you’re  hosting. “If it’s a crowd that doesn’t know each other, it’s important to give  people something to go on,” says Lizzie Post, etiquette expert and  great-great-granddaughter of manners maven Emily Post. When making  introductions, try to jump-start the conversation—explain where you know each  guest from, or bring up something they have in common, whether it’s the same  alma mater or just an undying love for Celine Dion.

11. DON’T bring an uninvited plus-one to a party unless you’ve  cleared it with the hostess. This includes boyfriends, children, and pets. DO bring a dish or a bottle of wine instead.

12. DON’T forget to match the food you serve to the attire on  your invitation if you’re hosting this year. “If you invite people to a  black-tie,” Post says, “I would consider not having spaghetti at dinner.”

13.  DON’T forget to ask about your guests’ food preferences and  dietary restrictions—and try to make at least one dish they can eat. Not sure  how to make vegan brisket? “Ask!” says Post. “Find out how to make something  from your guest.” The bonus: “the majority of people will almost always offer to  bring a dish.” If you’re the guest, whether you’re keeping Kosher, vegetarian,  or South Beach, bring a dish or two and let the hostess know your situation  beforehand—when you RSVP, not the morning of the party.

14.  DON’T let the party drag on if you’re hosting, and DON’T be the guest that over stays her welcome by four hours.  “Don’t walk up to your guests and take their drinks from their hands,” Post  cautions—if you’re hosting, give guests the hint by cleaning up the bar and  putting away food. Pay attention to those same hints if you’re the guest. If  you’re still chatting away over a freshly poured martini while your host has  changed into pajamas, it’s time to go.

15.  DON’T be a doormat when it comes to having friends or family  stay at your place over the holidays. “Stand up for your own sanity,” Post  advises. If you can’t fit your in-laws and their two Saint Bernards in your  studio apartment, say so. The same goes for guests that have over stayed their  welcome. “The fish and the house guests go bad after three days,” according to  Post. Make it clear before their arrival that you would love to host them  between certain dates, and point them to a hotel for the duration of their stay.



Business Etiquite
March 19, 2012, 7:58 PM
Filed under: etiquette, Job Search, Life style

Q. Who calls back when disconnected on the telephone?

A. When there is poor telephone connection or when you are disconnected, the individual who originated/initiated the call is responsible for calling back the other party.

Q. What is the proper etiquette when using CALLER ID?

A. When using CALLER ID, avoid greeting a caller by using his name before he says “Hello” and identifies himself.

Q. Are speakerphones rude?

A. No, simply ask permission before putting a person on the telephone’s speakerphone. Phone etiquette telephone etiquette telephone manners phone manners

Q. What is the polite way to leave a voice mail message?

A. Repeat your name and telephone number twice when leaving a voice mail message.

Q. Is it necessary to apologize for not immediately returning a phone call that had been originally initiated by yourself?

A. All telephone calls should be promptly returned, regardless of who initiated the original phone call.

Q. What is the proper way to answer the phone?

A. When answering the phone at your desk say…”Hello, this is Mr. Smith” Do not say phrases such as “Mr. Smith here!” or simply “Hello”.

Q. What is the proper time to arrive for an appointment?

A. Always arrive on time for an appointment.—Never arrive late. —Arrive no more than five minutes early.

Q. How much perfume/cologne is acceptable to wear at work?

A. Perfume, cologne or aftershave should be applied sparingly, evoking a subtle scent. Strong fragrances, as well as, inexpensive or “cheap” fragrances are often offensive to business associates and therefore inappropriate in a professional venue.

Q. How should I critic a teammate’s performance?

A. Avoid making harsh, critical comments regarding your or another person’s (partner, teammate or member of opposing team) playing ability

Q. I have been asked out to lunch with a potential employer. I assume he will pay the check, but should I offer to pay it, or at least my portion?

A. It is always polite to offer to pay for the meal and shows good will on your part. However, it is customary for the individual who extended the invitation to cover the check.

Q. What is considered appropriate and customary dress for men and women for a dinner party when the invitation states “Cocktail” attire?

A. A dark well-tailored suit for men and a black or jewel-toned knee- or tea-length dress for women would be appropriate for cocktail attire.

Q. What is the proper distance to stand from someone when introducing yourself?

A. In the United States, stand at an approximate distance of one arm’s length from an individual when introducing yourself

Q. Is it proper to send a gift basket to a client at their home address?

A. Is it proper to send a holiday gift basket to a client at their home address? In most cases, it is more appropriate to send a business gift to the company address. However, if you know the client well and he has given you his home address, then the gift may be sent to the home.