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8 Traditional Holiday Etiquette Rules Experts Say No Longer Apply

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and traditions. However, as times change, so do our customs and social norms. Many traditional holiday etiquette rules that were once considered essential are now seen as outdated or unnecessary. Let’s take a look at eight of these rules that experts say no longer apply.

1. Sending Handwritten Thank-You Notes

While sending handwritten thank-you notes was once a standard practice, many experts now agree that it’s more important to express gratitude in a timely manner, regardless of the format. A sincere email or phone call can be just as meaningful as a handwritten note, especially in today’s digital age.


2. Bringing a Hostess Gift

While bringing a hostess gift is still a thoughtful gesture, it’s no longer considered mandatory. Many hosts appreciate the gesture but understand that guests may have other priorities or may simply forget. A thank-you note or small token of appreciation after the event can be just as meaningful.


3. Dressing Formally for Dinner

In the past, formal attire was often expected for holiday dinners and gatherings. However, today’s holiday celebrations are more relaxed, and guests are encouraged to dress comfortably and appropriately for the occasion. Casual attire is often acceptable, as long as it is respectful and in good taste.


4. Waiting for the Host to Start Eating

In the past, it was considered polite to wait for the host to start eating before beginning your meal. However, experts now agree that it’s acceptable to start eating when your food is served, especially in large gatherings where it may be difficult to coordinate everyone’s meal times.

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5. Not Discussing Controversial Topics

While it’s still important to be respectful of others’ opinions, experts now encourage open and honest communication, even about controversial topics. It’s okay to discuss politics, religion, or other sensitive subjects as long as everyone remains respectful and considerate of differing viewpoints.


6. Serving a Formal Sit-Down Dinner

While a formal sit-down dinner was once the norm for holiday gatherings, many experts now advocate for more relaxed and informal dining experiences. Buffet-style or potluck dinners allow guests to mingle and serve themselves, creating a more casual and social atmosphere.


7. Hosting Separate Tables for Adults and Children

In the past, it was common for holiday hosts to set up separate tables for adults and children. However, experts now recommend mixing generations at the dinner table to encourage conversation and create a more inclusive atmosphere. This allows everyone to participate in the holiday festivities together.


8. Following Strict Gift-Giving Etiquette

While gift-giving is a common holiday tradition, experts now suggest focusing more on the thought behind the gift rather than following strict etiquette rules. It’s okay to give gifts of varying values and to prioritize meaningful gestures over extravagant spending.

In conclusion, while many traditional holiday etiquette rules are still important, experts agree that some of these rules have become outdated or no longer apply in today’s society. By being mindful of these changes, we can ensure that our holiday celebrations are enjoyable and inclusive for everyone.

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