Up your thank-you note game with these tips from Lizzie Post! She explains why we still need handwritten thank-you notes, and who should get one and when. And, the all important part: What to say.
Don’t want to be known as the world’s most obnoxious fan? Here are a few good-sport guidelines for your next trip to the stadium:
- Be patient as you walk to your seat, taking care not to jostle or shove anyone. Walk slowly with the crowd, not through it, when arriving or leaving.
- When vendors come hawking sodas or snacks in the stands, raise your arm to signal that you wish to purchase something rather than shouting, “Over here!”
- When a large group of spectators rises and blocks your view, go with the flow and stand. If only one or two people are standing in front of you, be polite: “Get down in front!” will likely raise hackles, while “Would you mind sitting so that we can see?” usually won’t.
- Watch your language. Obscenities in public are by nature offensive, no matter how free-spirited the atmosphere. Remember, referees and coaches are people, too! Avoid being downright nasty or rude if you disagree with a call or play.
- Cheer your heart out when your team is playing well, but don’t be so loud or engage in so much horseplay that your behavior becomes obnoxious.
- At events where extreme concentration is necessary, (golf tournaments, tennis matches, billiards, or even chess) respect the competitors’ need for quiet.
As they have in every culture from the beginning of time, the rituals observed after the death of a loved one or friend salve our grief. However, the traditions of these rituals have changed. More and more of today’s families are deciding what the nature of a funeral service should be, then taking an active part in planning it. If some things about funerals and mourning have changed, others have stayed the same: the ways to go about notifying others of the death and the particulars of the funeral, enlisting the participants, and offering and accepting condolences. Below you will find a quick guide to preparing a funeral.
As difficult as it may be, informing others of the death is the first duty of the bereaved. It starts with telling family members, then proceeds to the practical—notifying the funeral home, the clergy, and the newspaper (where you can write about the death of the loved one in the obituaries section).
Shortly after the death, the immediate family will usually make arrangements for the service with a funeral director, who will assist them in putting all the pieces together to create the service they have in mind. Other decisions include:
- Clothing for burial: Traditions have changed so that the deceased may be dressed in clothing that he or she would have desired, such as a uniform or a favorite brightly colored dress.
- Pallbearers: If the coffin will be carried during the funeral, the family of the deceased asks close friends, relatives, and sometimes coworkers or business associates to be pallbearers.
- Ushers: The family also chooses the men and women who will serve as ushers. The ushers will try to seat guests according to the closeness of their relationship to the family.
- Bulletins: The cover of a bulletin is imprinted with the name of the deceased and often his birth and death dates; a photograph of the person in his prime is also a nice tradition. Inside is listed the order of service and information.
- Eulogies: Family members or friends can be asked to deliver a eulogy. Because an officiant or two will be speaking, the number of eulogists should usually be kept to two or three.
- Honorariums: Because customs differ, rely on your funeral director to suggest the proper honorarium, if any. The check is presented after the funeral, either by you or the funeral director. Accompanying the check with a personal note of thanks will express your appreciation all the more. The organist who plays at the funeral service could also be due an honorarium.
- The monument: Choose the monument with care. Something simple and straightforward is often preferable to an ornate stone with sentimental carvings.
The Golden Rule works for parents, too
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive has to do with the concern parents have that their kids will be influenced by poor behavior on the part of celebrities, sports heroes, teachers, or even family and neighbors. Yet kids consistently tell me that they learn about respect and consideration– how you show it and how others show it to you—at home from their parents.
The behavior of celebrities, sports heroes, teachers, or even family and neighbors actually validates what they learn at home – both by commission and omission. When your child sees that pitcher spit on the mound, he doesn’t really think that makes it okay to spit unless you’ve told him it’s okay. He may try spitting, but he knows it’s probably not okay. The same is true about the language he will use. He may try out using this word or that, but he knows when it is contrary to the values you have taught.
The main thing you can do is apply The Golden Rule of Parenting. Always be the kind of person you want your kids to be. So, if you want your kids to be respectful, considerate, and honest, you have to be respectful, considerate, and honest. And, then you may expect that behavior from your kids. Set some consequences to deal with those times they choose to try on contrary behaviors. When it’s needed, you have to follow through with the consequences, so be sure they are something you can live with also. And, be patient—as they mature and take on manners as their own (not just because Mom says so) you will see the very behaviors you value emerge.
Cindy Post Senning give some tips on how to prepare your children for the most common etiquette challenges around the holidays. Enjoy, and happy holidays!
Show up with something in hand
Houseguests are expected to give a thank-you gift to the host either on arrival, during their stay, or sent afterwards. Some houseguests prefer to say thank you by treating their host or hosts to dinner out during their stay, or by buying groceries and making dinner one night. For gifts, something along the lines of a good bottle of wine or a nice bouquet of flowers is sufficient for an overnight stay, while a longer stay may require something more. Here are some gift ideas:
- The latest best-selling book
- Hand towels or beach towels
- Packages of cocktail napkins (upgrade: have then monogrammed with the host’s initials)
- A movie package, with popcorn kernels, a popcorn bowl, and popular DVDs
- Bottle of the host’s favorite wine or alcohol
- Board games or jigsaw puzzles
- Two or three unusual kitchen utensils, or a set of nice nesting bowls
- For a golfer, a dozen golf balls
- Gourmet foods
- Picture frame with a picture taken during your visit (sent later)
- Candles and informal candlesticks
- Houseplant in a decorative pot
Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post’s Great Get-Togethers, shows how she sets up her guest room for a friend’s visit. Enjoy!
And where on earth did the tuxedo come from anyway? Who created this getup, and why do guys still wear it to formal events?
Tuxedos likely got their name from Tuxedo Park, the first planned residential community in New York. Incidentally, Emily Post’s father was the architect of Tuxedo Park, and although she did not give the tuxedo it’s name, she did grow up spending her summers there.
The story has it that one evening Griswold Lorillard, son of the founder of Tuxedo Park, came up with the idea to wear a short black jacket without tails. The new fashion was a hit. When male guests would come and stay with families in Tuxedo Park, they were intrigued by the jackets the men wore and would return to places such as New York City and ask their tailors to make them a jacket “like the ones worn in Tuxedo.” Ironically, the tuxedo was originally considered an informal dinner jacket (because of its short tails), and yet now it is the most formal attire for men to wear.