Holiday Do’s and Don’ts

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Ahh the holiday season – so much to do, so much fun to be had and always so little time. We’ve rounded up some do’s and don’ts to help you make the most of this fantastic whirlwind of lights, gifts, parties, family fun and more.

Ps and Qs

Holiday cards

It’s not necessarily an obligation to send out a holiday card to friends and family if you don’t have the time or if it’s not your usual tradition. If you do have the time, however, but are unsure whether it’s okay to do ecards or traditional, it’s really up to you. DO keep your audience in mind though. If your grandmother hardly uses a computer at all, ecards may not be the best option. Whatever you do, make sure to personalize each card rather than addressing them to everyone at the same time and be sure to sign names. Also, keep it short and sweet. If someone has sent you a card who wasn’t on your send list, don’t feel obligated to send them one back late and begin a card giving tag game. Rather, wait a little while and write them a letter thanking them and giving them an update as well or simply pick up the phone and give them a call. Random letters or updates are always more than welcome because they’re genuine and done out of thought rather than mere obligation.


Holiday Etiquette – Gift Giving

If you’re strapped for cash this year and don’t have the finances to give everyone on your list the perfect gift, don’t stress! It’s okay to scale back as long as you let your loved ones know. Everyone has been there at some point or may currently be in a similar situation, so they’ll understand. Instead, try coming up with a few alternative options. Some great things to suggest might include drawing names, providing max spending amounts or agreeing to only buy for the little ones.

Bad gifts

Let’s be honest — sometimes the pressure of having to buy a gift for someone you rarely see or know that well can provoke you to throw up a hail marry and buy something, anything, just for the sake of having something to give. Many times this ends up being something along the lines of soap on a rope, a chia pet or a sweater that’s a little more … your taste than theirs. It happens. Just remember your manners. Don’t just hand it back to them, smile and thank them genuinely for thinking of you and be sure to hang on to that exchange/return receipt. If you really are stumped on what to get for someone, don’t feel bad just giving them a gift card. It saves you the headache and allows them to use it on something they’ll actually enjoy.


General rule of thumb … just don’t do it. Unless you keep a running list of everything you’ve ever received as a gift, re-gifting an old gift can be disastrous. On more than a few occasions I’ve heard of people accidently re-gifting a present back to the person that originally gave it to them. One way or another, the truth usually comes out and can be very hurtful to the person giving the gift and anyone receiving it. It says to the person that gave it to you that you don’t appreciate them thinking of you, and to the person receiving the re-gifted gift, that you don’t care about them enough to put a little thought into what to get for them.

Holiday tips for parents

Plan ahead and get organized

Making a holiday calendar can help you get more out of the hectic holiday season. Use your calendar to outline dates for holiday parties, school programs, shopping days, baking time and other items on your to-do list. If your family travels during the holidays, this can be particularly helpful in getting everything done in time to leave.

Share the work load

The holiday season can be hectic for parents and kids alike. Share the attitude of teamwork and give the kids tasks for house cleaning, picking up and decorating to let them share in the fun while taking some of the work off of you.

Gifts for teachers, coaches and carpools

Don’t feel like you always have to spend a lot of money to give a meaningful gift. Handmade, thoughtful gifts can mean so much more than expensive and costly ones. Take the time with your child to come up with creative homemade gift ideas like pictures, ornaments or just cards expressing your thanks for your kid’s teachers, coaches, carpools and others who impact your child’s life. Think of donating to a local charity in the name of your child’s teacher, or donating a book to the public library in their honor. Bake banana bread, cookies or fruitcakes for gifts – the homemade touch will send the message of appreciation without the high price tag.


Hosting a holiday party

Plan ahead

Of all of the holiday party tips, planning ahead is undoubtedly the most important. Start making a list of things that need attention around the house three weeks in advance, so you have enough time to get any small projects finished up. Get your decorations up at least a week in advance and start planning your menu. Spend about an hour a day the week prior to clean and de-clutter areas in your house, get your grocery shopping done a few days in advance as well. This will help you be able to focus on high traffic areas and meal preparation the day of and the day before.

Recruit some help

It’s a great idea to get a good friend or family member, preferably someone who knows their way around your house pretty well, to help out with little things before and during the party so that you’ll have time to greet each guest and socialize with friends and family.

Take a moment for yourself

When it comes time for the guests to arrive, plan a moment to take a deep breath and relax. Give yourself a few minutes to regroup before the main event. It will allow your brain to relax, you may even remember those tiny to-dos that may have gone unnoticed and it will leave you refreshed for when your guests begin arriving.

The office party

The Holiday office party can be deceiving because you’ve worked hard all year and deserve to celebrate and let your hair down. However, allowing yourself to get a little too loose could potentially be damaging to your professional image and subsequently, your career. Finding a balance between remaining professional while still having a good time is key — though the line can be fine — so here are a few pointers to try to keep in mind:

Plan ahead

Showing up to the party late, slovenly and slightly drunk from the pre-game party doesn’t scream, “serious contender” in the professional game. Be sure to dress the part and take it as an opportunity to show your co-workers how well you can keep it together and handle yourself in any situation in AND out of the office. Also, don’t forget to figure out in advance, how you plan on getting home if you intend to enjoy a few beverages. If you’re looking to consolidate your essentials to fit in a small space, check out the OtterBox Commuter Series Wallet. It’s a must-have for holiday parties where you need to eliminate the bulk.



If you’re invited to the event with a plus one, be sure to let them know if there is any theme and who they can expect to meet. Also, don’t forget to properly introduce them to everyone. If there isn’t a plus one included, don’t track people down to ask if you can bring a guest. It generally gets too messy and is in poor taste.


These are most likely people you spend a lot of your time with so it’s important to foster these relationships and get to know them on a more personal level. Mingle. Work the room and have conversation topics on hand in case the conversations begin to lull.

Don’t be THAT person

It never seems to fail that every holiday party always ends up having THAT person, (or more than a few) who has had a little too much to drink and can’t handle their booze. It’s hilarious to watch them give the boss a good shimmy shake but can ultimately be damaging to their image. Chances are you probably don’t want to face that embarrassment coming in Monday morning so try to limit your drinks, snack on something and sip on a glass of water every now and then.


Don’t look miserable! You’re there to have a good time … and you’re on display. Plus, no one enjoys being around the Grinch during the holidays. If the party is hosted by your boss, don’t just slip out, thank them for graciously hosting the great party!

Most of all,  just remember to remain grateful for all you have, do whatever it is that you can to show the people in your life how much you truly cherish them and try not to stress too much over the little things. Just enjoy your holiday!

About the author

Jacquelyn Rickard

Jacquelyn Rickard

Wanderer. Animal lover. Foodie. Photographer. Amateur do-it-yourselfer and cook--it’s hard to say what I obsess over the most. I love challenges and learning new things. Born and raised in Colorado, other than the 2 years I spent getting in touch with my Filipino roots. I love good beer, adventures and doing anything outdoors. When I’m not obsessing on something, at work or off getting lost somewhere, you can probably find me barbecuing with friends or family, working in my garden or curled up on the couch with a movie and a glass of wine.

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