Holiday Gaffes to Land You on the Naughty List
The holidays are a rare and beautiful time to spend with family and friends, working together to spread good cheer. But with this much face time, the holidays are also a rare and not-so-beautiful time to make mistakes that are difficult, if not impossible, to fix later. Whether you’re celebrating with coworkers at the office holiday party or relaxing with family and friends at Uncle Randy’s house, you want to avoid becoming the butt of a joke, hurting someone’s feelings, or damaging your reputation.
Avoid these common holiday blunders:
- Respond to invitations. When you receive an invitation to a holiday event—whether it’s a Christmas gift exchange or ringing in the New Year—be sure to RSVP ASAP. When you wait until the last minute to respond, it can look like you’re holding out for something better, but it also holds the host’s planning hostage. The host relies on everyone’s prompt response, so be respectful and respond as soon as you can, even if you’re declining. It can be hard to say no, but letting the host know that you can’t come frees up a spot for someone else.
- Rock the office party. If your office has an organized event, it is important to attend and get to know your coworkers on a lighter level. Have fun and let your personal brand shine, but don’t forget where you are! Be sure you don’t drink too much, gossip or tell off-color jokes, or get overly friendly. Laugh and make small talk, just remember you’ll be back to work in a few hours or days—and you don’t want to be the talk of the water cooler.
- Dress appropriately. Showing up to the party in yoga pants while everyone else is in cocktail dresses will zap your confidence and credibility. If you’re not sure what’s appropriate dress for a holiday event, avoid a mismatch by checking the invitation for a dress-code hint like “semi-formal” or “casual.” Failing that, ask one of the party planners or someone you trust will know.
- Be present. When you’re at a party or family gathering, be there physically and mentally. You’ll have a lot more fun interacting with live people than you will hovering over your text messages or Instagram.
- Respect the mistletoe. In this day and age, mistletoe may fast become the Ghost of Christmas Past at holiday events. Most people know they’re supposed to kiss the person next to them when they meet under the mistletoe, but don’t be the creepy person who holds a sprig over your head in hopes of a kiss from every encounter. And if someone tries to use mistletoe to steal a kiss you don’t want, take a step back and, with a smile and a matter-of-fact tone, let the person know you’re not interested.
- Enjoy the food. People work hard to prepare or arrange for the meal, and it’s not in the holiday spirit to make negative comments that embarrass or make others feel bad about their efforts. It’s always gracious to compliment the chef, and if you don’t care for the taste, find something nice to say about the presentation.
- Regift. If someone gives you something you can’t use or don’t care for, it’s okay to regift it later, as long as you follow these regifting guidelines. To prevent the disaster of regifting to the original gifter or to someone in the same social circle, attach a note with the original giver’s name when you store it in your home.
- Spend appropriately. Yes, Mom would love that designer handbag, but she loves you even more to keep you out of holiday debt. Before you start shopping, plan a budget, write a shopping list, and stick to it. While there might be temptations, try to keep your emotions in check and avoid impulse buys. It’s the thought that counts, not the dollar amount.
- Keep realistic expectations. With the holidays come (often impossibly lofty) expectations from you and yours. Instead of clinging to strict expectations, which can only disappoint you, try to relax and allow whatever unfolds to surprise you. You might find that happens exceeds even your wildest—if not your planned—expectations!
Wishing you a fabulous and festive holiday season!