The Etiquette of Christmas

Paying Attention: It’s Official: the Christmas Season is on. There are ground rules and just in case you didn’t get the memo, here’s a refresher course. to the guidelines to what should be (but often isn’t), the most polite, kindest, generous, and thoughtful time of the year. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a terrific holiday. And  If you don’t? It won’t be much of a holiday for you (or your friends).
1. Holiday Cards matter. Sending out Holiday Cards is a very small task but has a very big effect. It’s a way to let people that think you have forgotten about them know that you haven’t forgotten about them. Make a List. Pick some cards. Send them out. It’s a good thing. Plus….the Christmas stamps are always very, very cool.
2. Take care of those who take care of you. You know who we’re talking about: the guys who do your lawn.  The service writer who cuts you a break on getting your Porsche fixed. The bartender who always gets you a  drink, even in the middle of a mob-sized crowd.  The dry cleaning lady who has a security clearance. The garbage team that takes all your trash away, even when you pile up too much of the wrong thing.  The neighbor who watches your place when you travel. Look after them because they look after you, and…it’s the right thing to do.
3. Decorate. Put up lights, hang a wreath, decorate a tree. Find some poinsettias and put them out. Make your house or home or ranch or condo reflect the spirit of the season. If you don’t join in– and the rest of the neighborhood is all in–then you run the risk of being judged a grinch for the holidays and perhaps beyond. Decorating at this time of the year is not necessarily religious-centric, it’s season-centric. Do it. You’ll feel better. And so will everyone around you.
4. Spend a little bit of time learning how to wrap a package. Why not? It’s time, right. So learn to do it right. There’s a video on how to wrap a Christmas gift at the top of  this post (and YouTube has a lot more of them). And yes, of course you can spend some money and have them wrap the gift for you at the store but….wrapping presents is an excellent way to get fully into the season. Plus–it’s a skill you really need to master.
5. Party. You have every possible reason to party at this time of the year(end of the year, the Holidays, office gatherings, friends gatherings, family get-togethers, bonus time, whatever), so get out there and do it. And…consider having a party of your own. Invite a few friends or a lot of friends over, serve some good wine, appetizers, and a lot of good music and host until you drop. It’s THAT time of the year. Do it. Just be careful and don’t overdo it. Party. It’s a part of the season. Go all in.
6. Reach out. You have friends from way back when and way back there. Once they were in your life just about everyday and now…maybe not. But they’re still important to you. Reach out and tell them. Re-connect. Re-establish a friendship that is timeless. There is no better time of the year to do it than the Christmas/Holiday season, so reach out. You’ll be very, very glad you did.
7. Charity. Give to others, causes, special organizations, shelters, The Salvation Army, your school. It’s the right thing to do. Do it because you can and do it because you should. And do it with the right attitude: you are in a position to help others who are not so lucky. Share.  At this time of the year, in particular, it means a lot to give.
8. Help. Someone. Some cause. Some place. It can be as small as opening a door for someone with an armful of packages or as big as donating a needed piece of equipment for a playground. But Help. it’s a form of giving that works 24/7/365 and one that everyone needs to practice. Do it. Helping is essential to humanity.
9. Embrace. Get engaged with a group, a movement, a charity. Take up a cause or a challenge, embrace it, support it, go all in, and see where it leads. To create a  better you  and a better set of things that you believe in. Get after it. Now.
10.Moderation works. The Holidays offer plenty of chances to over-indulge. Don’t. Don’t overspend, over-drink, over-flirt, over-act, over-talk, over-reach.  Don’t. No is a very reliable form of quality control. Don’t exit the holidays with a crisis that you created because you got out of control–that defeats the whole idea of the season.

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