Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thank You Cards


            If you have been invited to a holiday party or get-together, it is important to show your gratitude for the invitation by sending a thank you note, or a thank you email or text at a minimum (or you could always call!)
            There are tons of inexpensive and beautiful cards you can find at Target, Amazon, and Hallmark. Stock up on thank you notes for every occasion for around $5, ranging from birthdays, weddings, parties, and holidays. They last for a long time, and are a great investment for future outings!
            You only need 2 lines to write on the note, but it goes a long way. It shows that you care about the invitation given from the host, and you appreciated the party they threw. Some people stop giving gifts for holidays when they are repeatedly not thanked, because they do not feel appreciated for throwing a party.
          Just think about it this way, if you were on the other end, you would like to be acknowledged for your celebration, and have your guests be grateful to enjoy it with you. It only takes a few seconds to do it, and you were always taught to say “please” and “thank you” so don’t forget to thank your host.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Place Settings and Decorations


             Ever stressing about what kind of table place settings you need for your holiday dinner? How fancy do you need to be? Are you trying to impress your in-laws or parents? Or your friends and coworkers?
            China is beautiful but not necessary in my opinion. China usually is passed down as an heirloom or we’ll register for china if we are getting married, but the formality of the meal is completely up to the host. Beautiful knock off disposal china place settings can be purchased at Costco, Smart and Final, or Party City. Table settings can range from one plate for the main course and one plate for dessert, to multiple plates and courses.
            Decorations are where you can have fun. Name holders for seating makes the feel of the meal more formal, and personally, I like to let people choose where they sit. Sites like Pinterest show amazing table layout arrangements from simple to advanced. If you would like to get the kids involved, you can have them help out with the decorations, maybe making holiday crafts for the occasion, or helping set up the table. This gives you a chance to teach the young ones about place settings and what the different utensils are used for.
            Putting flowers or holiday themed decorations on the table give a very fun and festive look. Candles are great if young children are not present, and make sure you don’t over decorate, you gotta leave room for the food you will place on the table!
            When hosting a holiday dinner, the table place settings will set the mood of the formality of the event. Opt for whatever makes you happy, whatever is easier for you to manage, and don’t stress yourself out! Holiday dinners are for getting to come together with your family and friends and celebrate the holiday season with those you love.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gifting and (Re)Gifting With Family and Friends at the Holidays

          What do you do when you’re put in an awkward position, by receiving a gift from your friend that you remember giving them for their birthday the year before? Clearly they didn’t like what you gave them, and decided to give it to someone else to get it off of their hands. But that person is you. Should you say something? Or keep it to yourself?
            If I were faced in this kind of situation, I would just say “Thank you” and move on. It isn’t worth the trouble of causing tension or guilt, sometimes your friends might not like what you give them as gifts, just as you might not like everything you receive as a gift either.
            In order to avoid gifting mishaps, like someone giving you a gift and you have nothing in return, set up parameters with family and friends so everyone is on a level field. You don’t want to be the one to show up to the holiday party unprepared as you receive more gifts than you gifted out to others. In doing this, you can set up a dollar amount that is appropriate for the “level” of relationship you have with that person. For example, you would typically spend more money on a gift for your mother than a co-worker, just because of the level of closeness you have with a family member over a friend.
            To mix things up a bit even more, a Secret Santa or gift exchange could a fun way to gift someone an awesome gift, without the pressure of them knowing it is you. Trying to find out who is buying you a present is part of the fun!
         When there are too many people to shop for, always prioritize the children. If you have to skip the adults, they will understand, but the little ones get so much joy out of opening presents, no matter the size or money spent. So pick up a little something for the kids in your family, and watch their eyes light up with excitement. It’s a great feeling knowing the kids are grateful they have someone like you in their lives.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Setting Good Behavior Examples For Kids at the Holidays


           Your behavior in front of children and teenagers, either your own or not, has an impact on their expectations on their own behavior, especially during the holidays. Whether it be being grateful during Thanksgiving, or respectful to your family during Christmas or Hanukkah, kids are always watching to see how adults act so they can see how they are supposed to act.
            Holidays are supposed to be for celebration and good times, as soon as you’ve downed a few drinks at your sister’s house, the stories of the good ‘ole days come flowing out. Your kids will hear about how your sister was a daredevil who skipped classes, and how your brother dropped out of college, and how you were always the best at everything you did compared to your friends.
            This is going to teach kids a bad example, and that just because mom and dad or aunt and uncle did it, that it’s okay. You want to be fun loving, but keep it between the adults to reminisce on your crazy college days. Or wait until the kids are out of the room to complain about the gifts, or the venue, or the food. Any negative attitudes are just a downer on the fun, and it shows your kids how to act inappropriately in a holiday setting.

*Citation: Barbara Greenberg, “What Are You Teaching Your Teen About Holiday Behavior?” Huffington Post, February 19, 2013.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Holiday Office Parties


           There’s always the fear and stress that comes along with going to a work party around the holidays. How formal should I dress? What am I supposed to bring? How am I supposed to act? And so on… There are many Do’s and Don'ts you should take into account for your upcoming office party!
  • Do remember that this is a work event, as social as a party may seem, you should be present and display good behavior. No flirting or sloppy behavior.
  • Do keep in mind that not all of your co-workers celebrate Christmas, so don’t forget those who may celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanza.
  • Do keep your conversations positive, no one likes to listen to someone with a negative attitude complain about work or their personal problems.
  • Do dress appropriately. Don’t bring out a dress you would wear with your girlfriends at a nightclub, ask if the dress code is casual or formal, and remember your boss is going to be there!
  • Don’t be late. Work events still take into account your behavior and reputation. Treat your coworkers with respect by showing that you value their time and presence.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hosting In-laws or Your Own Parents at the Holidays


            What should you do if family members are coming for the holidays? Do they stay over at your house? How will you entertain them? So many concerns!
            First off, the magic number in this situation is 3. That’s how many nights is the perfect amount of time for a visit from out of town. Any more can become super stressful. If your guests are traveling a far distance, it is okay to encourage them to stay at your house for a few nights, and then ask them to consider staying at a hotel for the rest of the visit. Although it may be uncomfortable to introduce, remind them that it is for their best interest (and yours). You always want to set a timeline for the visit before you make the invitation for them to stay over. You should always discuss this with your significant other, agreeing on a set amount of days and nights they can stay at your house.
            In order to keep your guests entertained, plan an activity for each day. Even if it’s something as simple as a card game or Scrabble, watching a movie after dinner, or taking the grandkids to the park, it gives everyone something to look forward to during their visit.
            You also are not expected to cook for your company every night of the visit. Ordering take out food or going out for dinner is fun and different. And your guests should at least offer to pay for the take out or eating out some of the times.
            Allow and encourage in-laws or your parents to get involved around the house. Everyone wants to feel needed and helpful rather than a burden when staying over at someone else’s home, so use those extra set of hands and let them help clean up after dinner or tidy up the living room.
           Finally, if you need some room to yourself after a long few days, encourage your house guests to take a walk to the nearest park or drop them off at the mall so you can get some alone time at your home, and maybe get some much needed work or rest done!