It’s the Holidays and parties abound! It’s a time for visiting with friends and loved ones, and it’s a time for entertaining in our homes. I grew up with Miss Manners and proper etiquette. Not only did we learn about respect and common courtesies at home…but we learned them in school as well. It still amazes me that now-a-days so many of our children never learn these simple tips. So here are some basic Common Courtesies that will help make visiting or entertaining more enjoyable for all.
SO YOU’VE BEEN INVITED TO SOMEONE ELSE’S HOME:
** Respond to your Invitation – please, please, please let your Host/Hostess know if you plan to attend or not…even if it’s to say maybe. Your RSVP helps in planning for the correct number of guests. If you don’t respond to your invitation and you just ‘show up’ you’re being more than just rude – and you can’t complain if your Host/Hostess isn’t prepared for you to be there.
** Don’t forget to show up – if you’ve extended your RSVP make certain you honor your promise. If life happens and your plans change, notify your Host/Hostess as soon as you become aware you cannot make it or you may be late.
** Be on time – be respectful, ‘fashionably late’ is not fashionable; it’s downright rude. Don’t create liars out of your friends and acquaintances - don’t force people to give out fictitious times just because they know you so well.
** Bring something to eat or a small gift – never arrive empty handed. Always bring something to contribute.
Special dietary needs:
** Bring something you enjoy – if you have special needs pay attention and bring something to share that you can enjoy without worry. Don’t be the one standing by the table shouting, “isn’t there ANYTHING here that I can eat??”
** Learn how to say “No, Thank you.” – be respectful, if offered something you can’t eat don’t proclaim loudly, “Are you trying to poison me??”
Using your favorite baking dish:
** Mark your possessions for easy return – whenever possible, use dishes you don’t mind losing. If you use a prized possession, make certain you mark it with your name and phone # and don’t be afraid to call a day or two later to claim it. It’s a perfect opportunity to say “Thank you for inviting me.”
SO YOU’VE INVITED OTHERS INTO YOUR HOME:
** Learn how to say ‘Yes” – when someone asks if they can bring something, always say, “YES”!! Don’t create future monsters - the ones who cause others to complain, “They NEVER contribute anything!!”
** Learn how to say “Thank You” – when someone offers to contribute make certain you say Thank you, even if it’s something you wouldn’t use in a thousand lifetimes.
** Set understandable time frames – ‘around 7ish’ is not a true time. Many a Host/Hostess have actually learned to lie just to get people to arrive on time - saying it’s 7:00pm when the time will truly be 7:30pm.
Be prepared for some special dietary needs
** Be flexible – make allowances for others. Provide an alternative whenever possible, example: Juice or water, fresh fruit or raw vegetables.
** Don’t be offended – don’t push the matter if someone refuses what you’re offering. Saying, “a little bit won’t hurt you” might just actually kill someone. Accept a “No, Thank you” gracefully.
Finding someone’s favorite baking dish
** Returning it to the proper owner – if the dish is marked, so much the better - return it as soon as possible. If the dish is not marked and you don’t hear from anyone within a week or two - well, you’ve just inherited a new dish. Don’t be upset if someone recognizes it several months later and wants to take it home again.
** Never return anything dirty or empty – returning a dirty dish is simply insulting. Returning an empty dish symbolizes a future without prosperity. It’s customary to place something inside, a small gift or food of some sort - symbolizing a prosperous relationship with the other person.
WHAT TO BRING AND WHEN
** General rule is simple – bring enough to serve at least 6 people, regardless of the number of people expected to be there. Don’t forget, if everyone brings enough for 6 there will be plenty to feed even 200!!
** When do you bring something – always when joining a large group, always when visiting a new location, always when meeting new people, always when you’re nervous and afraid you won’t fit in.
** When can you get away with NOT bringing anything – if the person you’re visiting is someone you feel comfortable burping or farting in front of chances are real good that you can get away without bringing something to the occasion. In fact, by then your Host/Hostess will probably EXPECT you to show up empty handed.
FINDING SOMETHING APPROPRIATE TO THE SEASON OR OCCASION
** When in doubt: ask – don’t be afraid to ask what’s needed. You may get a desperate plea for something needed or special instructions to blend in with the occasion. After all, you wouldn’t really want to bring liver and onions to a chocolate party, or wine & beer to a recovering alcoholic.
THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ARRIVING EMPTY HANDED
** What to do if you don’t cook – the answer to this one is simple * SHOP J There are many delicious ways to fill the need at your local grocers. Don’t forget to check your own pantry first; you just might have something tucked away in the freezer for a special occasion.
** What to do if you’re broke – check the pantry first, it’s amazing what you can bring together to make a great dish. Example: 1lb hamburger, 1 box macaroni, 1 can stewed tomatoes cooked and combined makes a great dish. It only takes 10-12 teabags and a bottle of spring water to make a gallon of iced tea.
** Even more broke – how about a bag of potato chips, a bottle of soda, or a box of cookies. It’s amazing what you can buy for a couple $$ if you shop a little bit.
** Just plain destitute – Recycle, recycle…in other words, remember that item you received and just couldn’t do anything with?? Chances are good someone else may just appreciate it more than you do.
NOTE: Be careful with this one, you don’t want to be the one other people snicker behind their hands about. “Don’t invite that one!! They always bring their trash with them!!”
** What to do if you're living in a tent –Good rule on this one is to keep it simple. Something that doesn’t require refrigeration or cooking is your best bet. Believe it or not some of the most appreciated items are fresh fruit, water, or chocolate.
** What to do if you’re living in a cave – this one’s pretty extreme, it’s the person with nothing but ketchup in the fridge, along with some unidentifiable green stuff in the corner; peanut butter in the pantry next to a loaf of bread that’s hard as a rock and not a single clean dish anywhere to be found. What does someone like this contribute?? What does anyone really WANT them to contribute?? Well, if there’s a fruit tree growing in the yard they just might have it covered. If not, hopefully, there’s a 7-11 on the way!!