It's the most wonderful time of the year. Your house is packed with family members you haven't seen in years, the malls are packed with people fighting for presents and your head is pounding from all the stress. But control your inner Grinch and avoid letting your bah humbug attitude get you a spot on the naughty list. It may be hard not to be rude between all the hustle and bustle, but this guide will help you get through the holidays with your manners—and sanity—still intact.
Holiday Greetings: Traditional paper or e-cards?
Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it's time to send out those seasons greetings. Even though you may hardly talk to your mom's second cousin, sending them well wishes this season is the right thing to do. You may also want to send cards to your boss, colleagues and clients while still keeping it professional. So should you send your holiday cards the old fashion way through snail mail or create e-cards that are sent immediately?
Overall, less people are opting for paper mail. Postage rates and printing costs continue to rise. E-cards allow you to customize your holiday cards and send them out in bulk or to just a select few. And those who are design savvy will enjoy decorating and adding animation to their cards, but there are plenty of templates offered for those who are looking for something quick and simple.
If you are sending an e-card to clients at work, make sure the card comes from you personally and not the company, and include a personal message to make it stand out. "The last thing you want as a business is for your holiday card to be seen as spam or clutter," says co-founder of Paperless Post James Hirschfeld.
More and more companies are ordering and sending e-cards, changing the social norm for holiday greetings. Try sites like Shutterfly, Fleeting Greetings or Tiny Prints, which also has an iPad app.
Giving Gifts: To buy or not to buy?
Sure we know that the holidays are about more than just presents, but certain scenarios call for gift giving. If your job is holding a Secret Santa, join in so you are not known as the Scrooge of the office. But make sure to stick to the price limit since going over and beyond will make others feel bad. And try to choose a unisex gift such as coffee mugs for the caffeine lover, gourmet chocolates for the foodie, or domino bots for the techie.
If you are friendly with doctors, lawyers, teachers or clergy members, you may want to send them a gift. It's appropriate to send a gift basket, a gift certificate to a restaurant, or simple homemade cookies to show your appreciation.
And if you are on a budget, the item is still in the box, and you know someone else who would appreciate it more, re-gifting an item is okay. But remember to tread carefully.
Make it rain snow: Tip more or nah?
Tipping has become one of the holiday traditions people who work in service industries look forward to. But after buying high-tech toys for your kids, brothers and sisters, shelling out the extra cash feels like something you should skip.
There are certain people that you absolutely should tip this holiday season. These people include: house cleaner, garbage man, and hairdresser. House cleaners deserve an extra tip for the holidays, but you could just gift them something the equivalent of a day's pay. Garbage men and newspaper deliverers often get overlooked. It's appropriate to tip them $10-$20 for their services. Also tip hairdressers or other service providers close to 20 percent.
Don't give an extra tip to your Uber driver, owners of establishments, salaried staff members, or mailmen (they aren't allow to accept gifts worth more than $20.)
How To Navigate Holiday Parties
Put on your party hat because it's time to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of a new one with family and friends. If you are invited to a holiday party, remember to act civilized no matter how many times your old roommate has seen you go crazy.
Don't arrive early to the party because the hostess is probably scrambling to get last minute things ready. If you plan on bringing someone with you, run it by them beforehand so they are prepared. And you should bring a small gift with you like a bottle of spirits, Christmas ornaments or baked goods. Never show up empty handed.
When you enter, don't start giving drink orders like you are at the bar. "They may be adverse to drinking, and you may be in the habit of having an adult beverage with or after dinner," life coach Jennifer Dossett says. "Just kind of get an idea of what they feel is comfortable."
When you are hosting the holiday party, make sure your place is neat and tidy so guests don't smell kitty litter. If children are invited to the party, make sure you childproof certain rooms like the kitchen or garage so they can't get into harmful objects. Make sure you have enough food prepared for guests, keeping in mind that some guests could have allergies or be vegetarians.
And if guests are running late, it's okay to start the party 15 minutes after the planned time. If guests drink too much, cut off their booze supply and take their car keys, inviting them to crash at your place.
Let us toast to a happy and healthy holiday season!
[Photo Credit: Pieces of the Past/Flickr]