Saturday, January 7, 2017

Etiquette and Gifts

"So it happens every year — Always has as yet — Such a lot of things we want. And so few we get. Always happens, always will; Don't know who's to blame. Wish you all a very Merry Christmas, just the same."

I'LL change that to "Hope you all have had a very merry Christmas just the same" and make it my day after Christmas wish for you people. I also have a few days' after Christmas thoughts for you. Trust you didn't work so hard and get so tired and fussed over the holiday and that all you want to do is to forget the whole thing. If you did you'd better stop here. I've given you fair warning. 

In the first place, why isn't it a crackerjack idea to notice what people say they wished they'd have given them and jot it down for next year's use? Just now it doesn't seem possible that there is another Christmas coming, but truly there is, and one when you will be quite as glad to know just the right thing to give folks as you would have been this year. 

Another thing —if it doesn't seem to you now as if you would ever forget what you gave each friend, but unless you jot down a list, just as sure as next Christmas comes 'round, you will be wondering whether it was to Louise or Mary you gave the hatpin, and whether it was Eleanor or Katherine you presented with a lace jabot. Why, it won't take you 10 minutes to jot down a memorandum of your Christmas giving. Do it on the train or trolley car— do it in the time you wait for the potatoes to boil, but anyhow you do it — do it now. 

Wonder if there are many people who dislike as vigorously as I do the expressions "I think I fared well." "I think you did finely," as applied to Christmas giving. I know there must be a good many people who don't, by the frequency with which I hear these or similar expressions used. Seems to me it is a terrible testimony to the commercial spirit we are allowing to infest our Christmas. Try not to think things like these. Try not to say them, and above all be sure not to say them before children.  

Speaking of this matter, what do you suppose I heard yesterday afternoon? Two children boasting to each other about the sum total of the value of the gifts they had received. One reckoned the love of her friends and relatives at $25. The other boasted of $32 worth of affection. Wasn't that unpleasant? What were their mothers thinking of? 

Just one thing more — I have been asked if it is necessary to acknowledge Christmas cards. That, like so many similar etiquette questions, can be answered in just four words — "Not necessary but courteous." – Ruth Cameron, 1910

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia