This time of year can be quite stressful and overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be! Check out these quick and easy tips for practicing perfect holiday etiquette. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to impress your family and friends with your Christmas-savvy spirit!
- Perfect Christmas Card Timing. Proper Christmas etiquette demands that you send out a Christmas card — preferably with professional photos of you and your cute, color-coordinated family. But even the best looking card can be rendered superfluous if not sent at the appropriate time. As a general guideline, your card must be sent no later than the end of the second week of December, and no earlier than the beginning of the second week of the same month. Sending your card too early sends the message that you’re too eager and overly confident in your card’s appearance; sending a card too late says that you’re careless, a procrastinator, or, worse, that the recipient of the card was an afterthought.
- Perfect Christmas Decorations. A good rule of thumb is this: if you are tempted to post an Instagram picture of your decorations with a filter, then you need to go back to the drawing board. Perfect holiday appropriate decor and ambiance should need no filter. Don’t cut corners on this area — your Christmas spirit and devotion directly correlates to how much effort you put into your home’s appearance. Social media, as mentioned earlier, can be a great indicator of the effectiveness of your decor (number of likes, favorites, comments, etc). If you wish to avoid social media so as not to appear as one who is into “that sort of thing,” simply host an event at your home and wait for feedback, either verbally or virtually (i.e. through another’s social media).
- Perfect Baked Goods. Proper etiquette requires deliciousness baked from scratch. So go ahead and chase from your mind any ideas of pre-made pies or logs of Tollhouse cookie dough. Also, one would ideally avoid such resources as Pinterest, because any ideas received from these sources wouldn’t really be original or organic. If you are wanting your holiday to be extra classy, consider purchasing a fashionable holiday-themed apron to wear (along with pearls and other coordinated apparel) whilst baking. Make every effort to time your baking endeavors so that when family or friends come over, you are just pulling a delicious and tantalizing creation out of the oven. Be sure to conceal any dirty dishes, as that would be poor etiquette.
- Perfect Gifts. All gifts must be both thoughtful and thought-provoking — this includes the gift itself, of course, but also the wrapping and labeling of each gift. The best gifts evoke tears (silent sobbing is acceptable too) or hugging the gift to one’s chest. If the gift recipient allows more than a 3 second pause before “ooh-ing” and ahh-ing,” consider that a subtle message of your gift-giving failure. When getting gift ideas from friends and family, listen to what they’re saying…but also to what they’re not saying. When a potential gift recipient says, “aw, gosh, I don’t really need anything,” don’t be fooled — they are lying. What they are doing is issuing a challenge — how far will you go, how hard will you try, to get them an emotionally charged and heart-warming gift? Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops for such gifts. Failing to do so would be poor etiquette.
- Perfect Familial Functionality. Yes, Aunt Marge and Uncle Herb are coming over and will probably be as much “fun” as they are every year. You don’t, however, have to let any family members snuff the light out of your Christmas merriment. Recent studies* show that the best etiquette for family interaction requires pre-planned talking points. These talking topics ensure that conversations go in exactly the direction you prefer. Just have your topics printed (preferably on seasonal card stock) and distribute them to family members upon arrival. Topics to avoid are: politics, parenting styles, church denominations, and whether or not Aunt Marge’s cookies are really made from scratch.
These 5 simple tips will have you well on your way to the perfect holiday season!
*Facts fabricated for the purpose of this blogpost.
Let’s not get lost in the so often self-imposed stress and unreachable standards of a “perfect Christmas.”
If you don’t send out a card this year, believe me — the world will keep spinning.
If you accidentally destroyed all your Christmas decorations because a piece of fruit somehow found its way into the Christmas bin and rotted and grew mold all over everything (ahem, not speaking from experience or anything…) — Christmas will still happen.
And if the only thing you bake is a block of cookie dough that you didn’t even feel like breaking into normal cookie sizes because you’d rather eat one giant-sized cookie — it will be ok.
Let’s not forget that the first Christmas was far from what most of us would call “perfect” or “glamorous” and was most definitely not about the things we so idolize today.
Christmas is not about how well we present ourselves or our homes or our gifts. It’s not even about family or friends or generosity…although these are valuable things.
No, it’s something much deeper, much quieter. Something that can so easily get drowned out by the noise of this season. But if you listen and watch — oh so carefully — you’ll find that there’s something worth far more than the hype, than the white noise. Something that gives hope.
Hope in the form of a tiny baby. A baby that changed everything. A Savior.
A Savior who was and is and will be forever — truly perfect.