Thursday, July 3, 2014

Family Etiquette and All It Implies, Pt. 2

Yes... You have to come with us! They've been married ten years and you're the anniversary gift. You're the only gift we could find of tin.


The observance of family festivals is a great bond of union when there are different ages and temperaments and interests represented in the family circle. In the home holidays, all meet on a common ground, and get once more into touch with each other. Yet the observance of such festivals should never be more elaboratethan the purse will justify, nor should it be allowed to become a burden upon any one, even the most willing. The festive spirit is lost if it becomes obligatory.
The observance of wedding anniversaries is usually an honored custom in the case of happy marriages, where children grow up who take delight in making much of the days which are sacred to their parents. Where this observance is not a matter of form or done with any ulterior motive, but is spontaneous and joyous, it adds much to the family happiness and strengthens the bonds, not only between parents but between parents and children.
It is customary to make gifts of the sort signified in the name of the anniversary, and much ingenuity can be exercised in carrying out the idea. The anniversaries are named as follows: 
At the end of the first year comes a cotton wedding; at the end of the second, a paper wedding; the third, a linen wedding; the fifth, a wooden; the tenth, a tin wedding; the fifteenth, a crystal; the twentieth, linen; the twenty-fifth, silver; the thirtieth, pearl; fortieth, ruby; fiftieth, a golden wedding; and the sixtieth, a diamondwedding. These anniversaries may be added to, as by celebrating a leather wedding the third year, instead of two of linen; a woolen one the seventh; and a china one the twelfth.
A birthday anniversary is a momentous event in the life of a child. Disregard of it is a heart-breaking slight. The celebrations of these events, even in families where they are numerous and resources few, can be made joyous if there is love enough to do it, even without money.

The Giving of Presents                                          

Guess who's coming as Lord Grantham's birthday present? Life holds too much of defeat for the average person, for its minor victories to be passed over in silence and indifference.
The members of a family who have each other's welfare at heart, often have the impulse to give each other something which they may know is needed or wanted. While this impulse should be cultivated even with the most limited means, and the sense of generosity preserved even among the poorest,—where, to be frank, it is more apt to be found than among the rich,—there should be no counting upon such presents, nor obligation to make them imposed. This destroys their value as expressions of affection, and makes the custom harmful. For that reason it is not well to adhere to times and seasons, but at any time when the right opportunity offers and the impulse moves, give the gift that one desires to give.

Where such an impulse is characteristic of a family, the members will naturally take pride in expressing in that way their appreciation of individual achievement, as when a member graduates from a high school or college, or attains his majority, or makes some special advance in any way. The spirit which welcomes achievement and recognizes it, becomes an incentive, perhaps the strongest there is, and surely the most noble, that of satisfying and pleasing a loved one. Life holds too much of defeat for the average person, for itsminor victories to be passed over in silence and indifference.

Intimate Friends

If one holds friends a little lower than one's family, and expends upon them effort to charm second only to the effort habitually given to those whom one loves, then intimacy becomes a privilege.
One's attitude toward intimate friends is either a pleasant memory or a sad revelation. If one holds them a little lower than one's family, and expends upon them effort to charm second only to the effort habitually given to those whom one loves, then intimacy becomes a privilege, no matter what the circumstances, and alifelong gratification and pleasure. If, however, one considers that intimate friends are entitled to less courtesy than the public, and are to be made to serve one's purpose more effectually than mere acquaintances do, then the burden of friendship is great, and soon dropped. 
Affection is not mercenary. One word in regard to the single monopolizing friendship. Many a marriage has been wrecked, and many a mother's friendship turned away, because some one friend, of about one's own age and tastes, of pronounced influence and exorbitant demands, has usurped, at first perhaps unconsciously but ever surely, the place inone's life, and at last in one's heart, that some member of the family should have taken.
Some people seem naturally predisposed to this sort of friendship, and as soon as the intellectual zest is gone from absorbing companionship with one person, they turn to another. One such instance showed through twenty years a series of such friendships on the part of a well-meaning but foolish woman, in which her husband figured briefly, passing on and off the stage as violently as, and even more speedily than, the other "friends." Too great familiarity with new acquaintances is impolite as well as unwise. It cannot fail of seeming forced, and even if the friendship is to be close and permanent, a hastily-laid foundation is never the most secure. One should never call a friend by his Christian name until he requests one to do so.

Illness in the Home

The well should make all wise sacrifices for the sake of the ill
Illness means that the order of the home life must be seriously disturbed. Consideration for the one who is ill,and effort to alleviate the suffering, should take the place of every other thought and ambition. It is necessary, of course, that the routine of living should be sufficiently preserved for the health of the others not to be affected, but matters of comfort and well-being for all take precedence of everything else. 
The well should make all wise sacrifices for the sake of the ill, such as being quiet about the house; never complaining at late or simple meals; setting aside personal plans and comfort in order to assist, if needed, in the care of the ill; looking out for the relief and comfort of the nurse, upon whom the major part of the responsibility rests; never grudging time or money in the effort to restore health; and, above all, making these sacrifices in the spirit of love and not in that of martyrdom.  
Many people, who make even unreasonable sacrifices for others in times of emergency, do it so ungraciously, that one does not feel that they are entitledto the thanks which they still actually deserve and should receive. 
Courtesy demands that the claims of the nurse and doctor be settled promptly and generously. They were prompt in meeting the emergency. There should be no delay in acknowledging the obligation to them, even though their promptness is looked upon, by them and by society, as part of their professional duty.

The convalescent takes such abnormally keen delight in being remembered, that it is obligatory upon the rest of his family and his friends not to forget him. Kindly messages should be frequent. Trifling gifts frequently are better than large gifts occasionally, unless the large gift is something greatly desired.

One should never fail to offer the easiest and best seat in the room to an invalid, an elderly person, or a lady.

Courtesy to Servants

The servant has every human right to civility...
It is safe to predict that, if the acumen of the business man, and the courtesy of the social leader and woman of true refinement were brought to bear upon the servant problem, that would soon assume a different aspect. 
If the consideration that would be shown an ailing guest were shown an ailing servant, service would be more generously and more faithfully rendered. The waitress at the table is entitled to courtesy, but not to apologetic efforts to diminish her task. Appreciation may be shown in a "Thank you," or, "If you please," but such notice of her should be unobtrusively spoken, soas not to interfere with the general conversation about the table. 
The servant has every human right to civility, and the withholding of wages is no more culpable, if more illegal, than is the withholding of civil treatment, and the infliction of the indignity of impatience and harsh and unmerited reproof. 
All servants need careful training.Neatness is the first requisite. The lack of it most seriously reflects upon the management of the household. Servants should be trained to answer the door-bell promptly, reply civilly to questions, and in all things represent their master and mistress in a dignified and courteous way. They should not admit one person whocalls socially, and deny another, unless under special and exceptional orders. They should not fail to deliver promptly all notes, messages, and cards which may be received. Verbal messages should be received and given with accuracy. 
The direct neglect of orders is unpardonable in an intelligent servant who has been well trained, and will not occur, even in the absence of the mistress, if the training has been explicit and complete and the servant is honorable,—as he should be in order to retain any position. A certain degree of initiative, too, should be cultivated in a servant who is given responsibility, so that he may meet an emergency with resourcefulness, in the absence of orders or specific instructions.The servant needs to respect his master and mistress.
The firm, strong, honest, and just control is respected by servants, and is much preferred to the irresolute one, even when the latter overflows frequently in lax kindness. Each man needs to be made to do his duty, and the power that forces him to do it should be gracious but must be firm.
To be familiar with servants is a fatal mistake, and eventually upsets and destroys all discipline. Servants should never be reproved in the presence of guests, or members of the family, or other servants, but should be talked with singly, and considerately, but plainly.

From Edith Ordway's 1918, "Etiquette of To-Day" 

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