Your Ultimate Festive Etiquette Guide

The festive season is just around the corner and I’m excited. After all, it’s about sharing love, expressing our gratitude and showing your kindness to others — the very embodiment of etiquette!



1. Show love, gratitude and kindness to your loved ones. 

Improve your communication skills by giving positive feedbacks backed by real, meaningful reasons. You should include an explanation of why you love them, why you enjoy spending time with them. How to start? Whether in writing or verbal form, do go along the lines of “I admire you because you always bake up a delightful storm for Christmas,” or “I love you because you are always attentive to our children.” Do this, and your loved ones will, in turn, be fulfilled with gratitude towards you.

2. Stay in the now.

Enjoy the present moment with the people around you, without reiterating the past or predicting the future. Live the moment, and enjoy!

3. Listen more than you usually do.

Pay close attention to what your loved ones have to say. Practice proactive listening, ask questions about them and try not to be the centre of attention all the time. A back-and-forth dialogue and witty banter work well to infuse the holiday air with reverie!

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4. Play up your signature style.

Set up nice tables for Christmas and decorate your Christmas tree with your own unique creativity. Remember to include your signature style in everything you touch. Ideas top of my head: folded napkins, choice of ribbons, hand-written or hand-drawn table displays. An assortment of memorable trinkets is always worth more than a pile of new and expensive adornments. These are personal elements that let your loved ones know, in glimpses, that you care.

5. Remember that joy begets joy. 

Be positive and cheerful. Always tuck difficult conversations into later pockets of time; there is  a time and place for everything! The thing about joy is the gateway to positive vibes and happiness! Most important of all: show respect to others. Avoid gossip at all cost; the only thing that should be big and juicy is your Christmas roast.



1. Be late.

This is a big, big one. It’s not cool to show up late for Christmas parties, dinners, and events — not the ones that others have taken the time to host, and certainly not your own! Remember, you can really improve your life with punctuality. Respect people so they can respect you.

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2. Keep your phone at the dinner table.

Parking your phone for all to see as rude as answering your phone calls at the dinner table, if not ruder, as it implies that you are willing to be distracted from the festive communality. Leave your gadget in your clutch bag or, if you really must, in your pocket. Inform your host in advance if you’re waiting for an important or emergency phone call during the evening. When it rings, excuse yourself and take the call in another room.

3. Start sitting or eating before the host says you can.

Etiquette is always about honouring cues and timelines. Wait for your host to give a signal before you start indulging in the banquet feast before you. The host is, after all, the orchestra leader!


4. Say ‘bon appétit’ before you eat.

Believe it or not, the French don’t even use it in France. It may be a popularised expression used by the rest of the world, but we ourselves don’t, as it is considered a faux pas in fine dining settings. Saying the phrase is… akin to wishing your stomach to be stuffed to the brim with food (a big no-no). 

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5. Send text messages to say thank you.

Always express your gratitude to the party host in person, or write them a ‘thank you’ note in your handwriting. This rule applies to your loved ones, who would want to hear you say it, not type it!