Holiday Etiquette

The holidays are high time. Between happy hours, holiday parties, and company parties the list is endless in how to celebrate it. One of the things we must tackle today is holiday etiquette.

Invites and the NO Game

We know that for most of us we are going to get swamped by so many invitations. Keep in mind that you have to understand that not all invitations will be a go. I used to be the type that felt like I had to spread myself thin trying to accommodate everyone’s event. That is not the case now. Between working, my family, blogging, friends, it is impossible to be everywhere at the same time. For that my NO muscles gets worked extra during this time of the year. I get so many people caught in their feelings but what I remember most is that others will do the same so I have to take care of me and mine. Do Not feel obligated to attend all events. Do you know how much it cost? You may need an outfit, transportation, a hostess gift, a regular gift depending on the event, babysitter if you have kids like me and everyone wanting no kids to be included, and just man hours to juggle it all, someone is definitely getting a NO. I have the holidays to prepare for on top of all of that and my own traditions to uphold too. Juggle but don’t break or break the bank attempting to be something to the very folks that wouldn’t extend themselves to you.

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Gifts, Gifts, Gifts

I love giving gifts. However instead of buying for everyone I find ways to one cut my cost. I stick to my budget and I always come under it. I hate attempting to feel as if I am overspending. I have goal and none of those goals will be accomplished if I am feeling guilty and having to recover after the Holidays from spending too much. There are ways to get around the whole spending too much. Instead of attempting to give each kid a gift in the family, make family baskets, filled with holiday classic movies, popcorn, candy, etc.  What you have created is a great family day in. The snow is going to come and that is the gift that keeps on giving especially where little kids are concerned. I also like to give the gift of entertainment. I can get families with children a gift card to an activity that I know they would love. Trust me with 3 kids of my own, someone paying for my kids on activities they know I am already going to attend is a savings. I also elect not to do gifts. If I am meeting up with friends, having dinner or drinks, sometimes just the gift of time is priceless. This means that us getting together and me spending time brunching, etc is a gift in itself. I have one friend that we meet up New Years Eve and do an early dinner.

Dranks, Pour it Up!

Be careful who you are around and the company you are keeping as you indulge. If you are at a company event, be smart. Have a drink or two but never more than that if you know that you are the type that has loose lips or will behave out of character. Worst than a one night stand walk of shame is the walk in shame the day or weekend after the holiday party where you got a little too loose. Don’t let this be you. Get a Uber or Lyft or have a designated driver. Do not drink buzzed or drunk. Trust me the price is more than you are willing and can afford. The most devastating time is having someone die at the hands of a drunk driver and around the holidays. Be careful.  Limit the amount of drinking you plan on enjoying. Make sure that you know your limit. Do not test your limit in a mixed crowd.

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Pot Lucky Unlucky Moments

Please do not be a hero making a new dish to bring to the potluck and it’s a meal that hasn’t been approved. This is not the time to flex. Opt to bring the adult juice or at least something that is edible. Also if you have pets, for the sake of all of those involved even if you think it’s a great idea to have your cat or dog in your kitchen, leave them out while you cook for others. This is an issue as to why I always ask, who made that? Why? Everyone ain’t as clean and pet hair in my food is not what I call a Holly Jolly Time. Please practice hand washing and make sure you aren’t cross-contaminating with the food or cooking utensils either. How you cook is just important to what you bring to the potluck.

This is a small list. Like I could have included re-gifting items you don’t want. If you plan on doing so, make sure it’s at least a gift thar a person would actually like. Don’t give gloves just for the sake of not having a gift. Put some thought. Gift like you would want to be gifted. There are so many price points to keep in mind. If you are attending an event, attempt to go to the event. I have had times when emergencies have come, but be sure that you aren’t RSVP to something you have no plans on coming. Also be sure to limit your drinks. Nothing is worst than having to figure out as a hostess how to get your guest home.  Be considerate of others. They may have said no to your invitation because it’s too much for them. They may not want to come or they may just been bombarded by so many invites that it could be too much for them to handle.

Have some fun. Show holiday spirit but be considerate of others around you!

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What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

It’s a Process!

I can’t say that I have been my usual on top self.  I have had bursts of my normal self but since the passing of my mother in law, life hasn’t been the same.  One thing I can say is that children really keep you grounded when you are dealing with a tragedy.  My kids are brutally honest.  I guess I can’t complain about that part.  My son specifically have been very vocal about what he thinks is right in regard to his “mom-mom.:  I know this is all apart of the process.  My kids have asked things like “did the doctors kill their mom-mom?” I have had to be honest and of course say no but attempt to paint the picture we kept them from and allow it to make sense.  I told them they can ask questions any time they want to.  They can have moments of sadness, cry, or even be angry.  My son is the one I am watching very closely.  They all had different relationships but since he’s my husband’s mini me I saw how his mom-mom gravitated towards him more.  He feels the pain a lot more openly than my oldest daughter.  So I find ways to meet them both at their need.

The hardest part is watching my husband struggle.  He is getting more sleep now but in the beginning he wasn’t.  He has had a cold for weeks now and it’s really just due to his immune system being compromised.  How can he fight off this cold when his own personal defenses are not where they need to be?  His emotions are ranging from sadness to clueless.  As a wife who hasn’t lost a parent there’s no words that can make this better. I just listen.  I don’t offer advice.  I don’t try to fix, I just listen. Nothing I will say will make anything right.  I make sure he eats.  He rests. He is not overwhelmed.  Right now that may means me be the primary parent in many aspects.  He has spoken to his mom everyday of his life.  He looks at his phone often times and I can tell he is still waiting for a call that will never happen.   It breaks my heart.  I sometimes find myself taking calls with my mom and dad when I am not around him.  I do feel a slight guilt that they are still here and she’s not.  He has told me that I don’t have to do that but a part of me is still struggling.

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My own emotions are all over the place.  I have videos of her in her last days and moments that still sting.  I was told that the videos and pictures would give me peace but I can’t feel that feeling all the way yet. I do have peace that she is no longer suffering but selfishly I want her to tell my kids give “mom-mom a hug.”  Tomorrow is grandparents day at my kids daycare.  My parents live almost 2 hours away and work.  So we have asked her best friend of over 40 years and aunt (she married my mother in law’s brother) to step in.  I know that will enjoy the time with them but it still makes me upset that their grandparents aren’t there.  However life is about making the best and I don’t know of someone who is better to step in then her best friend.

I just got the Christmas tree up this weekend.  Yes I know it was before Thanksgiving but the reality is that our house needed an extra dose of joy.  I allowed the kids to do whatever they wanted to do to their tree.  I usually do.  There will be a time when they are too big to want to participate in these activities.  The one thing that the passing of my mother in law isn’t just the cliché that time is short its to love and show love with everything I have. I have thought about what my last moments will be.  What stories will my children share? Will they remember the time I invested, the love I have shown, the cookies we make, the fun holidays we make and we celebrate them ALL.  That means more to me than what others outside of my home think of me. I am not perfect but each day I find myself asking myself what I can do to make sure that my kids are solid individuals.

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I am more interested in making sure that every time they leave my presence that I was loving towards them even though parenting means I have to be stern.  I can love with a strong hand and still be gentle enough to apologize when I miss the mark with them and smart enough to shower them with kisses.  As the holidays draw near, and we surround ourselves with loved ones, my husband’s mom will not be in attendance.  I won’t be able to hear her ask me if I am going to smile today.  I won’t hear her ask me a thousand things to get her, go to the store, or help her in the kitchen.  I can still hold on to the warm memories, keep the not so pleasant ones in mind, and love on her grandbabies and make sure her son is okay as well.  I hope that as you all convene with your family that you remember to make each interaction meaningful.  Do not take for granted that you will have a re-do.  Life is about living and living the best life you can.  Love intentionally.  Do not slack due to what others seem to give you.  When you love it’s already a risk.  Choose to take the risk to love passionately.  When you leave your loved one especially if you’re in marriage or committed relationship make sure you have no regrets because an argument can be just that an argument.  We all have them but I make sure that my last moments are not filled with words that don’t matter.  Be clear even when solutions aren’t found that the general love is still there.

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You may not be dealing with a loved one’s death.  You could be dealing with frustration, an end of a relationship, etc.  Whatever it is that you are going trough make sure you take the time to be clear in your actions.  You don’t need to add-on to the situation. Life will unfold.  You can make sure that you find your joy and if it’s no there create it.  I have found ways in these last few weeks to take care of me while I take care of those in my home.  It can be things like a little me time, relaxing, delegating and allowing others to assist. Either way the process will not be up and have happy tones all the time.  However when I can get those happy moments I have learned to take them.  I have also learned to shut the world out too.  I have probably shut my phone off more in the last few weeks than I have ever had in the past.  The reason is simple, I can’t help me while everyone is in my ear.

Slipless Generation

Now I know before I even continue that I will get some flack about this blog.  I feel you should wear whatever you want.  The only momma I am to is my 3 little bundles of joy.  So for that reason alone let me make that disclaimer clear.  However, this is a generation that shows it all.  Now I am no prude but let me say there have been a full ensembles that make me do second takes.

I know I am showing my age here with this one but I can’t be the only one who remembers having to wear a slip under their dresses?  My parents were raised in the church and not having on a slip is like a curse unto God himself.  So I remember many a day my parents would send me back home no lie from church if they could see through my clothes.  I remember taking that walk of shame many a day because let’s be honest, as a teenager I thought no big deal right?  In the eyes of my parents and the church mothers I was dead wrong.  Now as a mom I look for dresses that have a little slip built-in.  Not just because I’m following my parents’ footsteps but just because I really want to make sure nobody can see anything.  I get it mom and dad I get it.  However let’s flash forward from the early 80’s and 90’s (insert cough) to the present where slips are not only optional but in style.

Most red carpets that you see have women gladly showing more and more skin.  Like I said I’m not prude.  I’m not wearing a choir robe to the beach.  Sorry church mothers, you were right holiness or hell but I choose to wear appropriate swim clothes to swim in instead of the shorts and t-shirts, smock and then a bathing suit under all of that.  So not for nothing no digs on anyone but some of the dresses even everyday dresses that are being worn is on team too much.  Now I get it sometimes with dresses slips actually draw more attention, but unless you wanted us to see the message call me on your butt because you wore printed panties instead of a good solid pair to blend in with your dress, than okay.  It appears that some grown women are forgetting the undergarment rules.

Shout out to Girl behind the blog on the following article:

http://www.bornelectric.ca/2013/02/the-skinny-on-skivvies-5-crucial-rules.html

Now I get that its socially acceptable to wear things with the bra showing which goes against the list that girl behind the blog gives, but let me say one rule that will never change, let the bra straps be clean.  Nothing is worst than seeing off white straps that weren’t meant to be off white or straps that look dingy because you are either one too lazy to care about what you got on, or at best didn’t do the wash in over 2 weeks.  Like momma said always wear clean undergarments in case you are ever in an accident.  Well it’s an accident to come out the house in dirty undergarments no matter how you slice it.  So please ladies I get it, skin is in but we got to do better to wear the right things at the right time.  Sorry nothing underneath doesn’t work all the time just because Rihanna gave you a past.  She didn’t, trust and believe me.

 

Girlfriend Only Parties

Good morning and hope you are having a great day. If you live in the northeast especially around New York and upwards be careful as it looks to be a storm brewing.

Today’s trend for the holidays are girlfriend only holiday parties.  In  the days when women seem to claw at each other I have to say I def give my  seal of approval.

If you read my blogs I definitely want you to take a sense of women empowerment as well as a no-nonsense guide to life.  However a part of being women is to have nurturing friendships that feed your soul.

I’m not talking about freenmies but true to life girlfriends who sit with you in hard times, feed you if you hungry, cut tires for and with you (figuratively maybe) and are just there for every one of life’s challenges.

Girlfriend parties are a place where you invite those supportive women together and have good food and fellowship and make it a girls event only.

During the holidays there will be plenty of couple parties and I love the idea of a ladies only event where marital status and kids don’t matter.  A place to laugh and share that secret language that only you and your girlfriends understand.  It could also be a place where if you and your girlfriends reconnect.

These parties can be as big and as small as you would like.  Maybe make it a sleepover where you don’t even have to spend the night but just some cute pj’s, lingerie, and all of the naughty food you will complain about eating the next day.

Another idea is to have a wine and dine where you get and everyone brings their best comfort food and a bottle of wine and sit at a friend’s home and kick back and talk.  Another idea is to maybe incorporate beauty and fashion and sip and chat.  There are many people who are stylists or makeup artist that have skills and do home drop-ins that could be invited and paid to supply an evening of flare and fun.

If you are like me and your girlfriends are out-of-town then you can plan ahead and maybe find a place that’s mutual for gathering and with some tools like Groupon etc you could make it a weekend or a wonderful overnight trip to make memories and connect.

Reconnect and build lasting relationships.  If you say we’ll I don’t have any friends well….then it’s time to make yourself friendly and build and then you too can experience the joys of real sisterhoods.  Happy holidays and ladies enjoy each other.
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