Newport Manners & Etiquette: Holiday Office Party Rules, Holiday Tipping, Mistletoe Kiss & Gifts
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Holiday Office Party Rules and Protocol for Professionals
Q. With the winner of the Time person of the year the collective of women who have spoken out and are still speaking out about sexual assault and harassment, I feel a certain chill has come over Christmastime merrymaking. Meanwhile predators are speaking up in denial sending a huge mixed message that some can get away with it while others cannot. What should we know when attending a Christmas office party? AD, Hoboken, NJ
A. Keep in mind the fact that the office holiday party is not the last time you will be seeing everyone in the office -- bright and early the following morning.
To play the game of office politics, you have to know the rules. To win respect you have to remember the protocol.
- dress appropriately, meaning dress festively.
- remember that the holiday party is ruled by the good manners of the office.
- have good hygiene, you're not off the grid.
- turn off your cellphone.
- keep track of your alcohol intake.
- behave in a professional manner at all times.
- keep the vibes convivial, it is not the time for petty grievances, revenge, gossip or political debate.
- never bring a plus-one, SO, or spouse unless the invitation specifies that you can bring a guest. Guests don't bring guests -- and remember even at an office party, you are a guest.
- be sure to wear your name tag on the right side, because it will be more visible.
- try to keep your glass in your left hand to allow your freed right hand to shake hands.
- remember that people will be watching and taking notes, which is why you keep your hands to yourself.
- before departing, thank your host.
- remember that you never want to be the last person standing.
- report any sexual assault to #MeToo or #BalanceTonPorc.
You must never
- miss the office party or arrive too late -- even if you have to pay a babysitter extra or miss finishing a report.
- grope, grab, slap on the back, kiss or hug, without saying, for instance, "Can I give you a hug?"
- talk and eat at the same time because food can go shooting out of your mouth.
- drink too much.
- discuss work matters, unless your boss asks you a direct question.
- make a fool of yourself.
- take a call, but you can look for messages and go outside the party to text or return the call.
- forget to thank the host.
A recent survey of 150 human resources representatives found that the number of office parties will be the same this year, however, only 47.8 percent of employers will be offering alcohol -- down from 62% in 2016.
- Holiday gatherings are taking a low-keyed turn toward focusing on team building such as volunteering to work on community projects. Others are limiting the amount of alcohol by providing no more than two tickets for alcohol cocktails.
Tips on Holiday Tipping
Q. I find the whole idea of tipping at Christmas confusing and bad ass difficult to figure out. There are people who support my life that I really need to tip because if they didn't like me, I would have to find someone else to do what they do so well. But there are those that you're stuck having to tip. Who do I tip and how much? HG, Miami, FL
A. It sounds as though you may have several categories where you tip individuals during the holidays. Remember that a tip is never necessary or required. Although some apartment buildings send residents a list of the building's employees, which you may want to acknowledge with the suggested tip, if you want continued good service throughout the year.
Housecleaners and housekeepers are the best compensated because they not only know your secrets and bad habits, but they pick up after you when you're too busy to do certain things for yourself. The median may be to tip $50, but you have to evaluate the tip by how many hours a month they spend taking care of your home. If you pay $15 an hour and she works for four hours a week, her Christmas tip should be at least $120, two weeks salary, for a year's worth of taking care of you.
- What does the service of a full time domestic, such as a nanny, personal caregiver, cook, butler, housekeeper, mean to you? It could be worth anywhere between a week and up to a month's salary, plus a small gift.
- Although, if you're just tipping because it is expected, apparently you can squeak by with a $50 holiday tip.
- When there is a long running history of care, loyalty and devotion, then $250 would be appropriate.
Dog Walker, Nanny and Caregiver, or any other daily domestic help, would receive, again, a tip equal to two weeks of salary.
Other professions typically receive a gift card for $20, or just that in cash.
Cash is always preferred. Gift cards are always appreciated, but if there is a problem with it or it has expired, then the worker is stuck in the embarrassing situation of having to explain that they were not able to use your gift card. Then you have to hem and haw and make good on the card or give cash to make up for the mishap.
Boxed and wrapped gifts are not so popular. Unless the worker has specifically asked for an electric tea pot, but when there is a problem returning the gift, the worker is put on the spot.
To get back to the cash, make the gift look nice and festive by placing the cash in a holiday card, with handwritten words of thanks.
At the end of the year, it is all about how dearly you appreciate the quality and frequency of the service, your relationship with the recipient, how long you've been using their service, and your budget.
- Then factor in your location, because workers commuting in dense urban locations are apt to have a more lengthy and expensive commute.
Also under consideration:
- Homemade gifts, such as propagated plants, baked goods, or homemade jam, are charming and show your sincere appreciation when your budget doesn't provide for end of the year tipping.
- Already readily tipping your hairdresser, manicurist, masseuse/masseur, or trainer per service? Then your holiday tip doesn't have to be as generous.
- Mail carrier, paper deliverer, garbage collectors, etc., who may or may not be the same person every day or week.
- Doormen and building janitors are usually tipped once a year by the resident and not on a daily basis
Handwritten notes of thanks are always appreciated no matter how generous the gift it accompanies. They show a lot of about your style and grace.
The haves and have nots at Christmas
Q. My mother, by proxy from my dad, makes all the decisions on gift giving. They have sixteen grandchildren, half of whom have working highly paid parents who can afford to shop to their heart's content.
Mom asks us two months in advance what Christmas gifts they should send our children. We let her know and send her the links. But often the toy, article of clothing, or book is SOLD OUT and mom goes off on her own sending gifts that they don't like. So when they ask the four-year-old grandchild, "Do you like your toy guitar," we're embarrassed. Point of fact, she didn't like it, we sent it back and found something else.
How can we help mom and dad spend their money more favorably?
HT, Peoria, IL
A. Try having each family send your parents a list of two presents for each child, with the links. If that doesn't work, it would be OK if your parents purchased each grandchild a gift card that works at a box/online store, such as Barnes & Noble that stocks books, CDs, and toys. The gift cards are sent to the parents who then attach the envelopes to the Christmas tree or put it in the Christmas stocking.
A. The tradition where any man is allowed to kiss any woman standing underneath the mistletoe stems from cultures that associated mistletoe with fertility and vitality. If a woman is unwittingly caught standing under the mistletoe, ask before you kiss.
The superstition is that it is bad luck to refuse to be kissed while standing under the mistletoe. If your mistletoe is live, and not plastic, with each kiss a berry is plucked from the mistletoe and when the mistletoe is bare of berries the kissing must stop.
Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners for her forthcoming book.
Related Slideshow: 50 Ways to Give in Central MA This Holiday Season - 2017
484 Main St., Worcester
United Way of Central Massachusetts helps many local organizations gain funding to help community efforts.
Each year they post a wish list for their organizations that easily allows you to choose where to donate or volunteer this holiday season.
Photo: United Way of Central Massachusetts
125 Providence Street, Worcester
For 100 years, the Girls Inc. of Worcester has aimed to dedicate themselves to empowering young women, ranging from ages 5 to 18 to achieve their goals and dreams. The organization supports these women to become healthy, educated, and independent figures.
Points of emphasis that are translated from Girls Inc. of Worcester faculty to its clients include, appropriate ways to confront challenges, resisting peer pressure, and viewing college as a tangible facet in their lives
120 Thomas Street, Worcester
Founded in 1891, VNA Care Network has helped people of all ages cope with illness or injury while living at home. Our exceptional visiting nurses; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; social workers; and other professionals have helped us earn accreditation by The Joint Commission.
335 Chandler Street, Worcester
Since 1878, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is dedicated to leadership in protecting and promoting the rights and well-being of children and families.
300 Barber Avenue, Worcester
Holy Trinity is a non-profit facility serving individuals who require a broad range of social, nursing and rehabilitation services in an atmosphere of quality care and Christian love, without regard to a person's race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, national origin, disability or Veteran's status.
222 Harrington Way, Worcester
We all know it as the EcoTarium and for all the fun and education.
Founded in 1825, the Worcester Natural History Society is a great place to play outside, play on the imagination playground and learn about the natural history of Worcester.
4 Mann Street, Worcester
Founded in 1973, The Bridge now serves over 1,200 individuals in residential and community settings.
Supports compassionate, evidence-based human services for those with mental health challenges, developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury and complex family problems.
321 Main Street, Worcester
Mechanics Hall is the premier event venue and concert hall in Central Massachusetts. Renowned for its elegance and sound qualities, the Hall's cultural significance, its stunning décor and architectural detail have earned it a listing on the National Register of Historic Places
81 Gold Star Boulevard, Worcester
The mission of the Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
65 Tainter Street, Worcester
The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester is to help youth develop the qualities needed to become responsible citizens and community leaders, through caring professional staff who forge relationships with our youth members and influence their ability to succeed in life.
10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA
The Jimmy Fund is always looking for people to donate blood and platelets for those undergoing cancer treatments and trauma victims.
You can also become a dedicated volunteer for Jimmy Funds many councils and promote their mission by hosting fundraising events.
Photo: The Jimmy Fund
100 Front St., Worcester, MA
Reliant Medical Group is an organization focused on improving the health and well-being of everyone in Central Massachusetts.
Donate to volunteer or participate in a 5k to help support the many other non-profits that they are engaged in.
Photo: Reliant Medical Group
85 Green St, Worcester, MA
AIDS Project Worcester provides housing for those who are HIV positive and in need of financial assistance.
They also provide educational services to teach the community about AIDS and STD prevention.
Volunteer to help with their educational outreach or donate to support their cause.
1152 Pleasant Street, Worcester
Donate your car or volunteer to help support families affected by childhood cancer at Why Me and Sherry's House.
You can even help provide a family with meals or emergency childcare during their hardship.
Photo: Why Me and Sherry's House
14 East Worcester St., Worcester, MA
Ascentria Care Alliance is one of the largest community service organizations in the area and allows you to reach out in many different ways.
Volunteer as a tutor or skills trainer to help members of your community reach their full potential.
Photo: Ascentria Care Alliance
629 Salisbury Street, Worcester
The Jewish HealthCare Center is one of New England’s most respected HealthCare facilities, providing innovative long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, hospice services, home care services, and Alzheimer’s care to the community since 1916.
10 Prince Place, Newburyport, MA
Fraxa Research Foundation is on a mission to help to find a cure for Fragile X - a disease that affects intellectual abilities, and makes sufferes hyperactive, hypersentitive to light and noise and prone to seizures.
You can donate or tribute a gift in honor of someone suffering from Fragile X.
Photo: Fraxa Research Foundation
2000 Century Dr., Worcester, MA
American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts is always looking for volunteers to donate blood, organize fundraisers, and donate non-monetary items like credit card rewards and goods.
The Red Cross prevents and relieves suffering to those in the community including military families in need.
One Clarks Hill, Framingham, MA
Advocates Inc. assists the disabled and elderly with home ownership and sustaining satisfying work and personal relationships.
Intern, or donate online when you do your personal shopping on Amazon, overtime you shop Advocates receives a percentage of your total purchase - making it easy to give and receive.
Photo: Advocates, Inc.
One Salem Square, Worcester
YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
766 Main St, Worcester
It is where the community comes together. The Y offers programs for youth development, to promote healthy living and to promote social reposibility.
Four locations throughout the region
Boroughs Family Branch
Central Community Branch
Greendale Family Branch
Montachusett Community Branch
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