More Etiquette Tips for...                                                   

There are certain things you need to know to make life easier and happier. Please check here regularly for updated and relevant etiquette tips. 

Christmas is a time of goodwill and giving, and to celebrate with family and friends, not about spending vast amounts of money in an effort to outdo and impress. So having a good time with people you care is the most important. 

 

But how well you know about Christmas and how to behave like a lady or gentleman, in another word, do you know the traditions and proper etiquette? So brew yourself a pot of scented tea, and read through the following. 

The first Christmast card was introduced by an English business man named Henry Cole in 1843. With internet today and in the name of Going Green, people now usually send E-cards. But nothing can replace the feeling of receiving a paper card. So spend some time and write a card to the loved ones and those who are important to you. Buying cards from charities is a good idea, you help people and send goodwill and love. 

The tradition of gifts started with three wise men who gave frankincense, gold and myrrh to baby Jesus. Gift-giving in Christmas was introduced to Europe and America after 19th century. With the story of Santa Claus and an retailing phenomenon, giving-gift has since then become one of the central focuses of Christmas traditions. 

 

We all did it, lets admit. Re-gifting is common but there are certain rules you need to know. Firstly, you don't regift things you don't like or don't want. Rather, you can give them to charities. You only regift things you don't need. Secondly, you need to erase evidence, such as your name, the sent-from tag to avoid embarrassment before you send them to someone else. Finanlly, send the gifts to another circle of friends, and re-wrap them. 

Christmas tree was from Germany. People had the tradition of bringing an evergreen tree into the house in winter. The German also decorated the tree with tinsel, fruits, paper figures and sweets. Martin Luther, he once put candles in the tree, as a sign of welcoming Jesus and light into his house.  It was introduced to the UK after German Prince Albert married Queen Victoria. Today people decorate the tree with all kinds of things. The star on top represents the star that led the three wise men to the stable in Bethlehem. 

 

The wreath tradition was from Roman when people used it as a sign of vicotry and celebration. Now it is hung on the front door to encourage happiness and good fortune in the New Year. Both Christmas tree and wreath symbolize strength of life overcoming the forces of winter, giving people hope. 

The North American mistletoe has red berries while Europe's colour is white. Legend has it that the ancient Greek used it as aphrodisiac. Ancient Britons took it as magical powers to bring good luck and ward off evil. In fact the most commonly use in continental Europe is to help relieve blood pressure and circulatory problems.

 

Proper Etiquette for Kissing under the mistletoe

* Women standing underneath a hanging mistletoe should not refuse a kiss.

* The man can only kiss a woman on the cheek and remove a berry from the sprig. Once

    the berries are gone, so does the kissing!

*If a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe,   it is interpreted as a prediction

   of  happiness, long life  and a promise to marry.

                        Etiquette for Christmas Dinner 

Dinner Invitation R.S.V.P.  This is a French phrase, "répondez, s'il vous plaît," means "please reply." Once you receive the invitation, it is good mannered to reply within 48 hours. If you can't decide at the time you are to inform the host that you will confirm  before certain date. If you are not able to come please do not ignore it. Simply thank the host and explain why. 

 

Dress Code should be on the invitation.  If you are still not clear you should call and find out, because you wouldn't want to stand out for a wrong reason. 

 

Dietary should be mentioned in the invitation, you shall notify the host if you have issues such as vegetarian, allergic, religion, etc. It is not proper to produce a long list of food you don't like or don't eat. A good host will carefully plan the menu which is balanced and accommodates most of the guests. 

 

Time of Arrival is very important. As guest, you can only arrival on time or be a bit late no more than 15 minute. It is considered rude if you arrive early for a family dinner unless you are asked to. The guests should wait for the signal of the host/hostess to enter the dining room to sit down. 

 

Thank-You Note is a must after the dinner, usually no later than 48 hours. A hand-written one is ideal but nowadays text and email are accepted. Apart from thanking for the hospitality, one shall always mention one of the good things. Remember to keep it short and nice. 

It is the time of the year that colleagues gather in a more casual and relaxed atmosphere. You might meet your boss's boss and get noticed. So take it as a time to network and look for opportunity of promotion, and maybe romance. 

 

Do arrive on time and dress up appropriately. Carefully select proper attire so that you make good impression and stand out. A smart person will use the party to present him/herself in the best possible light. If the party is optional, still try to make an appereance. 

 

Food is secondary so you eat before going. Always hold your drink and paper napkin in the left hand, so you can shake hand with other people with a dry warm right hand. Know your limit and don't drink too much, or you would regret things you said and done. 

 

Prepare small talks carefully if you aim to meet and impress the management, rather than just going to bond with your colleauges. But note that don't trap them in very long conversation, 15 minute is fine. 

 

Always stay for a good amount of time, which is not to leave too early. Some people have spent a lot of time and energy planning it. If it is a sit-down dinner and you really have to go due to other commitment, better do it after the main course is served. There is an unwritten rule of staying for at least one hour. 

 

Find out who or which department has planned and organized it and send them a thank-you note. Don't forget to follow up if you have met some new people and talked to the higher up. 

Celebrating the New Year 2018

The tickets for the New Year Eve Firework are always sold out early. But this year you can view the 360 degree video in the latest version of Chrome, Firefox or Opera. If you are viewing on iOS or Android mobile, watch in the YouTube app.

Celebrating the eve at home while watching firework live broadcasting is a good choice. You might be invited to a New Year party . Here are some tips that you need to know. Let's hope for a better, peaceful year of 2017.  

  • Pour the drinks (champagne, wines....) a few minutes before the count down. Prepare juice, giner ale or other sparkling drinks for non-drinkers. 
  • The host / hostess should initiate the toast, asking other people to raise their glasses, saying Happy New Year
  • When toast, it is good to raise your glass to eye level and take one sip. You don't have to clink glasses with everyone if it is a big group. 

Chinese New Year Celebration in the UK 

Lunar New Year, the most important festive for the Chinese, is celebrated in central London every year. British people are impressed and amazed by this zealous, extravagant celebration, a feast mixed with tradition, superstition and wishes. British and foreigners are also seen in this street carnival, joining the dragon and lion dances or group practising kungfu nearby China Town.

 

The Chinese New Year arrives on 28th  January 2017. Traditionally the celebration lasts 15 days with the last day – 11th February, Yuanxiao as the Chinese Valentine’s day.  

 

If you are joining some Chinese friends to celebrate, or invited to share a New Year’s Eve meal, these are some tips for you to know.

 

The festival starts right off with using Chinese phonetic sound to express goodwill and bless people. Wishing and blessing people with good words is utmost seriousness. The number 8, is considered as good luck and prosperity. The number 9 means everlasting. Funny enough for Chinese, number 13 is a lucky number while number 4 should be avoided.  The other widely used word is ‘fish’. The phonetic sound of fish in Chinese sounds like ‘plentiful’ or ‘with surplus’, representing a lifetime full of abundance or business with surplus.

 

The colour of the New Year is mainly red. This colour is really overwhelming so you would see it everywhere. Avoid black and white during this period, they are the colour for funerals and moaning. If anyone gives your children small red packs with money in, receive them with joy. This is a traditional way for the elders to bless children.

 

Dumpling is the main dish for the dinner, a time for family reunion and friends gathering. Eating is a VERY BIG ISSUE. You certainly don’t want to embarrass yourself or  ‘bring bad luck’ to the host family. Here are some Dos and Don’ts for Chinese table manners:

  • Do not sit down until the host does or she/he asks you to do so.
  • The most senior person will be the first one to be served food, by the younger.
  • If the meal is in a restaurant, make sure the dishes are ordered in even number. Odd number means bad luck and it is traditionally for funeral meal.
  • It is polite to pour tea for people sitting around you.
  • Slurping soup means you enjoy it and this is a way to please the host / cook.
  • Try to use chopsticks rather than asking for fork and knife as soon as you sit down. Other guests are happy to teach you, a good ice-breaking.
  • It is considered good manner to offer and serve other people food. So if you are offered food, accept it with thanks. It is rude to refuse. 
  • Do not point at anyone with chopsticks and do not stick them upright in a rice bowl.
  • Other must-have food is chicken and fish for the meal. Never flip a fish over, this indicates bad luck.
  • Never split the bill with the host, but try to offer sharing it somehow. 

It is Valentine's Day !

It is Valentine’s Day.  For some people it is exciting and a day to look forward to. But for some it could be dreadful and a reminder of sadness or embarrassment.

 

There are quite a few factors you will need to consider when sending gifts and cards. It could be tricky sometimes. One thing to remember is that, this is not the only day you show love and kindness to people. There are more Valentine’s Days in a year to celebrate with your loved one.

 

Following are some tips, with Dos and Don’ts for this special day.

  1. If you are secretly in love with someone, and not sure if she/he feels the same way, a box of chocolate or a card will do the work – by sending holiday wishes. You may also find out by asking the person if anything has been planned for the day, that you would like to ask her/him to join a ‘group activity’ or to ‘go to a party’.
  2. If you have just started seeing someone recently, again no expensive gift. Chocolate and flowers are good enough. Expensive gifts and words like ‘the most important person in my life’, ‘ the love of my life’, ‘my forever love’ should be avoided. Because you don’t know how the other person feels and this can cause embarrassment or might scare them away.
  3. Many people like to propose in Valentine’s Day, but you need to be sure that a ‘Yes’ is the answer. Do not break up in this day, unless you want to leave an unpleasant holiday reminder to the person in his/her life.
  4. For new relationships, you can refresh your feelings by  meeting at some venues that you first met or introduced. Be creative so car park, café, corner shop, bus and tube stations, etc., could become romantic venues.
  5. If you are in long-term relationship or married,  there are more choices in what you do to please.  Simple or extravagant gifts, theatre, dinner, a holiday, a course, a beauty treatment …… that anything will do. It is again, good to be creative. Do or send something that will remind those sweet moments.  And you can melt that person’s heart by recreating some special scenes. That is called romantic – you are caring and thoughtful.

Regardless of the time and years a couple have been together, it is always good to let the holiday refresh the love and memories.

 

Tips for Barbecue Party

As the summer begins to really heat up, people like to heat up the barbecue too. In summer, it is really fun to gather friends and family for a barbecue party in the garden under the sun, or even under the stars. But there are certain things you need to know for a enjoyable and successful barbecue party, without disrupting and annoying your neighbours. 

Planning 

Provide enough comfortable seats and shade for guests. Ensure that the barbecue is lit and ready before guests arrive. Inform your neighbour of your party or even invite them, to avoid complaint, because sometimes the smoke and aroma could '' suffocate'' them. 

Food and Drink 

Prepare enough chilled water and drinks to keep your guests hydrated, that is plentiful supply of drinks. Adjust and well balance the food choice for the guests (vegetarian and meat eaters). 

Other Logistics 

You'll need napkins, paper plates, cups, and cutlery. And you need music! Good choice of music will make your party more successful. But the volume of music should not be too loud. 

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