Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom - Test Your Holiday Etiquette Quotient: Are You Naughty or Nice?


1. You are gearing up for the holiday office party.  As a way to reward yourself for a job well done, you plan to eat and drink ‘til your heart’s content.  Is this the best course of action?
A. Yes
B.  No

2. In our increasingly technological world, should the holiday card be mailed or electronically delivered?
A. Mailed.
B. Electronically delivered.

3. You have two close friends hosting a holiday party on the same night at the same time.  Whose party should you attend?
A. The party of the invitation you received first.
B. Both, split your time sensibly.

4. You are standing in line with a cart full of gifts and the person behind you has only two items to purchase. What should you do? 
A. Ignore them. You are on a schedule and need to get home to relieve the babysitter.
B.  Embrace the holiday spirit and let them go first.

5. The holiday table is set for ten and your friend arrives with two unannounced guests. What should you do?
A. Voice your opinion and send them on their merry way.
B.  Make room at the table and happily welcome them in.

6. The ritual gift giving exchange has become too costly.  Is it alright to abstain from giving gifts altogether?
A. Yes
B.  No

7. A guest arrives at your holiday party with a bottle of red wine and you are serving white with dinner.  Are you obligated to open it?
A. It is up to your discretion.
B.  Yes.

8. With regard to holiday tipping, is it best to give cash or gift cards?
A. Cash
B.  Gift cards

9. Your friend has invited you to be a guest at their posh ski chalet in the mountains for the holidays.  Upon your stay, you should…
A. Relax and enjoy yourself, you are in dire need of a vacation.
B. Step in, super guest and do your part.

10. Aunt Roz had a bit too much spiked egg nog to drink and is singing holiday tunes while everyone is trying to watch a movie. As the gracious host, you would join in and add harmony. True or false?
A. True
B. False

11. In 1995, the idea of ‘regifting’ was famously brought to light in an episode of ‘Seinfeld’.  Is it ever okay to regift? 
A. No way.
B.  Absolutely.

12. You are invited to attend a Hanukkah holiday party but are of a different faith. Should you participate in religious activities?
A. Most certainly.  It is the holiday spirit.
B. Definitely not. It will offend.

13. Your mother-in-law has invited your husband and you to a formal sit down Christmas dinner at her home, little does she know, you are on a strict gluten free, dairy free diet.  What should you do?
A. Nothing. Eat what you can.
B. Contact your mother-in-law beforehand to inform her.

14. It is New Years and you would like to toast your host to thank them for bringing everyone together. When should this be done?
A. Towards the end of the meal during the dessert course.
B. Once everyone is seated before the meal begins.

ANSWERS: 
1. (B) A holiday office party is not the time to gorge and draw attention to yourself. View the night as an opportunity to mix and mingle and build a relationship with co-workers. Nurse one drink all night and make only one trip to the buffet table.

2. (A) Holiday time is one of the few occasions where old-fashioned card stock and snail mail is appreciated.  Many people enjoy displaying their cards on the fireplace mantel for guests to read. Taking the time to personally sign each card adds a nice touch.

3. (B) Always attend the party of the invitation you received first. Since they are both good friends, however, inform them that you will only be staying for part of the time and then make it your mission to be the life of the party at both.

4. (B) Get Zen about lines. Be mindful of others. Find ways to pass the time by bringing a book or magazine to read while waiting.

5. (B) A most gracious host is ready for any last minute modifications.  If there are only ten Cornish cooked hens, then they should be willing and ready to whip up something in the kitchen to accommodate extra guests.

6. (B) There are alternate ways to participate in the gift exchange and keep everyone happy.  Have this conversation in advance of the holidays.  Suggest a secret holiday exchange, an exact agreed upon dollar amount, or offer to exchange gifts for children only as a way of keeping costs to a minimum.

7. (A) A host, you may choose to serve the gift of wine with the meal if you wish, but you are certainly not obligated unless the guest has given explicit instructions to do so. In this case, it is best to oblige to avoid confrontation.

8. (A) & (B) Both are appreciated, however, they are not necessarily appropriate for every recipient. For example, you wouldn’t offer cash to a teacher, but a gift card for her to purchase supplies for the classroom would be most welcome while cash for your elderly parent’s caregiver may be more appreciated.  If cash, make sure to have nice crisp bills on hand and present both cash and gift cards with a nice handwritten thank you note.

9. (B) House guesting is not the time to rest on your laurels. If you accept an invitation, you must be ready to pitch in with groceries, prepare meals, keep to your hosts' schedules, and clean up after yourself. Don’t forget to send a proper thank you note and gift afterward.

10. (B) False. You do not need to join Aunt Roz in her one-woman stage show.  Instead, try to deflect and distract by inviting her into the kitchen to help you prepare the desserts and offer her a strong cup of coffee.

11. (B) Absolutely. There is even an official day dedicated to re-gifting on the third Thursday of December.  Re-gifting is permissible as long as there is no trace of previous ownership, the time is in perfect working condition, and you are positive the recipient will love it! 

12. (A) If you agree to accept the invitation, you should be prepared to participate in all of the activities out of respect for your Jewish friends.

13.  (A) Rather than draw negative attention to yourself, eat a little snack prior to departing and sample whatever you can at the dinner.  If your mother-in-law happens to contact you beforehand, you can certainly offer to bring a special dish to contribute that everyone will enjoy.

14. (A) A toast is offered by the host at the very beginning of the meal.  All toasts offered by others occur during the dessert course.  When toasting your host, make sure all glasses are full and remember the 3 “B’s”: Begin, Be Brief and Be Seated.