Culling The Christmas Card List

It happens every year! The subject of the etiquette of culling the Christmas Card list. Specifically,  the protocol to choosing who gets the boot.

Well, of course there is a protocol (in my humble opinion)

When I was growing up, I often heard my grandmother and mother say that the best way to reduce the number of names on the Christmas Card list was to keep track of who one sent cards the year before and if they did not sent one back, they were stricken from the list and blackballed from holiday greetings. This has been the technique that I’ve used in my adult life. I remember one fine Yuletide when I had mailed out 121 holiday greetings only to receive 28 back. Needless to say, that year was a huge cull!

“But, dear Lady, ” you may ask, “what if I strike someone from my list who will be offended?” If they send you a card, send one to them. But, it has become increasingly more obvious that people WANT to cut down on their lists. So they will probably not be offended.

Best Card Sending Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

The Bane of “Have a Good One”

I caused a little stir among my friends when I expressed my feelings on this topic. I’m sure that more people are going to disagree with me on this subject. I complained that one my biggest pet peeves is being told to HAVE A GOOD ONE. Everywhere you go from the bank to Burger King to the grocery store to the doctor’s office, when you thank the person taking your money more often than not they tell you to “Have a good one!”

Have a good what exactly????

Drink of water? Vacation? Marathon? Oh….you mean DAY!!!! At first I thought this might be a regional thing peculiar to New England and then she discovered on her travels that this seemed to be prevalent everywhere.

Some might ask: What’s the big deal? I refuse to say Have a Good One because it sounds vulgar…this ‘good one’ can be any number of unsavory things. To be clear…I am as much against ordering someone to Have a Good Day. I much prefer the kindly and mannerly Hungarian custom that Lord Hooper-Brackett explained to me of wishing someone a good day: “I wish you a good day”. That sounds much more civilized.

I know that manners change, but I still can’t help longing for the days before “Have a good one” became the norm.

Wishing You All A Good Day,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

The Surprise Party

Ahhhh I was asked how mannerly it is to plan a surprise party for someone that has stated they do not want one.

My very short answer: It isn’t. At all.

If the person of honor has made it very clear that they do not wish to be surprised, you do not surprise them. EVER. Not for the fun of it or to make everyone happy or because it would be a great thing to see their shocked face. The celebration is not for you. And you will risk seriously making your loved-one upset if you go ahead and plan such a function against their wishes.

The only time that a surprise party is warranted is when you know with absolute certainty that they enjoy surprises or have expressed the desire to one day have a surprise party. I would like to state for the record that in no circumstance would I want a surprise party and would probably lose all sense of decorum if I walked into one thrown in her honor.

Take into consideration these points:

The surprisee may not be properly dressed for a party

The surprisee may not have had their makeup, nails, or hair done and these things may be of the utmost importance to them (I attended a surprise party of a friend who entered her home after digging in her flower beds and covered in dirt…her husband was banished to the couch for a month after this incident)

The surprisee might be feeling unwell

The surprisee might just want to avoid people because they are a curmudgeon (and that’s OK!)

Best Surprise Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Basic Manners for Children

At a recent tea-time my friends and I had a conversation about Children’s Manners. While some of my friends felt that children (and people in general) have gotten much ruder lately, the general consensus is that the wee little ones take well to manners and etiquette if you teach them early. I have compiled a list of basic manners that I feel all children over the age of five can practice:

-to say hello pleasantly to people they meet and to look people in the eye when speaking

-to speak when spoken to

-to get along with their siblings, cousins, and other children

-to show respect for older people

-to say “Thank you”, “Please,” “I’m sorry”, “Excuse me”

-to not interrupt others while they are speaking

-to remember the basic etiquette rule of never calling attention to oneself and to not raise merry hell, scream, or otherwise cavort in public.

-to shake hands

-to respect the property of others and not touch or play with other people’s things unless invited to do so

-to respect the privacy of others

These are the basic building blocks of etiquette that every  child needs. More instruction in this fine art and we can change the world!

Best Etiquette Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Dinner Vs. Supper

My circle of friends is known for chatting about a variety of subjects and at tea recently, a lively discussion ensued on using the words Dinner and Supper. They asked me my thoughts on the matter (bless them!)

I believe that the heaviest meal of the day is properly called Dinner, whether this large meal takes place at the noon hour or in the evening. There are locales whose inhabitants use these words interchangeably to describe the evening meal. The word dinner on its own does not indicate the time of day of the meal, only that it is the largest meal of the day. In truth, I have not heard the word Supper being used very often lately.

Do I feel that you will be judged harshly for mixing the two words? No.

To add some flair to my own speech (and to pay homage to her wonderful French teacher) I like to refer to her meals using the French phrases: petit dejeuner for breakfast, dejeuner for lunch and diner for dinner. Or she merely uses the generic repas to describe a meal. When in doubt, give things a little French flair and you will always sound correct!

Jusqu’à la prochaine fois, (Until Next Time!)

The Lady Hooper-Brackett