FAQ’S About Holiday Etiquette

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The holidays are here! This is the busiest time of the year for most of us, personally and professionally. For me, November and December are the months when I am inundated with questions from individuals, like you, my subscribers; free-lance writers; and reporters for print publications, television and radio. In this issue of the newsletter, I decided to share with you some of the most frequently-asked questions I receive about holiday etiquette.


1. I really don’t want to go to the office party. Do I have to?

Yes. If you value your job, you need to go and not just to make a cameo appearance. Stay long enough to circulate and speak to as many people as you can, especially the boss. If you aren’t there long enough to be noticed, you might as well have stayed home.

2. I love the office party and I am usually the last to leave. Is that bad?

There is no need to feel guilty about enjoying the party, but try to avoid the reputation for being the person who doesn’t know when to go home. Pay attention to the time on your invitation. If it says, “Six to eight o’clock,” make sure you are no where to be found when the big hand is on the “12” and the little hand is on the “8.”


1. Is it appropriate to include my business card with holiday cards to my clients?

I don’t think so. Holiday cards are a good marketing tool and a nice way to let your clients know that you appreciate them, but don’t make your intentions obvious and self-serving by including your business card.

2. Is it necessary to sign my name by hand when I already paid extra to have it printed on my greeting card?

Absolutely. Otherwise your carefully-selected quality card will come across as impersonal and perfunctory.


1. There are a few people in my office to whom I’d like to give a gift this time of the year. I can’t afford to give gifts to everybody and I honestly don’t want to. How should I handle my dilemma?

If you don’t plan to give gifts to everyone, choose a time and place away from the office to present your gifts. You are not going to win friends or influence co-workers by being obviously selective.

2. What’s the rule for giving your boss a holiday gift? Sometimes it seems as if I am trying to curry favor-or in the modern vernacular, suck up to the boss.

The boss is the one who should be giving the gifts to the employees. There are two ways to handle this. The first is to have everyone contribute a small amount to purchase one gift from all. Depending on the number of employees, a dollar or two can go a long way.

Your second option is to give your boss an inexpensive gift like jams, jellies, coffees, teas, a holiday plant or flowers. This way you acknowledge your boss without spending your entire year-end bonus to say, “Remember me?”

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

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