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Savvy Etiquette Tip Archive

Invitation Etiquette:
Whether it is to a wedding, a dinner party, shower or gala event, an invitation comes with a responsibility...RSVPing.

RSVP is French and meaning “Répondez, s’il vous plaît,” or, “Please reply.” This little code has been around for a long time and it’s definitely telling you that your hosts want to know if you are attending. Reply promptly, within a day or two of receiving an invitation.

These are the things that NEED to be included in your invitation:
  • Name of host(s) or sponsors
  • Establish the purpose of the party/event (Inviting to a wedding? Announcing a graduation? Just a casual get-together?)
  • Name of honoree (bride and groom, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, graduate, OR event...Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, etc.)
  • Day/Date
  • Time (at six o'clock in the evening)
  • Name of Place (First Congregational Church)
  • Location of Place
  • Ask several friends to read it for mistakes! 
When to send out the invitation?

Party invitations for informal events like birthday parties or barbecues should be sent out a month to three weeks in advance. For little kids, two weeks is fine. For weddings, anniversary parties and more formal events, six to eight weeks is the norm.

Is it a family event or adults only?

This is one of the decisions you have to make when you send out your invites. Sometimes this decision is easier than others. Anytime we have a BBQ or similar venue, we always invite the whole family (this is our prerogative). But, for example, for my husband's promotion party, we wanted adults only. We wanted to feel like we could celebrate as much (or little) as possible, without a bunch of little eyes on us. SO, how do you address this?

In formal invitation etiquette, you know who is invited by how the invitation is addressed. For a wedding, you might address it to Mr. and Mrs. Smith (only the couples) or if the whole family is invited, you mention all members by name, or just by Smith Family (depending on the etiquette expert you ask).

What is universal, is that mentioning "No children" or "Adults only" is considered I agree with this? Not always. If I'm inviting the whole family, I ALWAYS mention it in the invite: "Please bring your whole family as we hit the pinata during our annual Cinco de Mayo fiesta."

Because, I do always mention the whole family when they are invited, if it's not on the invite, most of my friends know not to bring the kids. I also plan "adult only" functions in the evening. My kids go to bed at 7. If my event starts after that, it's adult only, and this is universal. If you receive an invite for anything after 7pm, and it doesn't specifically mention kids, sorry they are not invited. If people ask to bring their children even after receiving their invitation, it's best to be as direct as possible, saying that your events plans really do not include children.

There is always the family who brings their kids. Case and point, my DH's (darling husband) boss brought his kids to the aforementioned promotion party. So, what do you do? You are polite. Everyone is welcomed, but do know it's not your responsibility to be their babysitter. 

Thank You Notes:
A thank you note is an expression of appreciation for a thoughtful act, expression, or gift. But the potential formality of this thought can be intimidating. Many people think that the wording has to be perfect, and this causes so much anxiety that the notes are never sent. Before all the other rules, just remember that an imperfect note that comes with heartfelt sentiment is better than a perfect note that was never written.
Here are some tips:
Send your thank you notes as quickly as possible.
Always make specific reference to the gift that is the subject of the note, such as "Thank you so much for the blue sweater. How did you know that was my favorite color?"
Always send notes in the following situations:
  • Wedding gifts.
  • For sympathy letters, flowers, or mass cards.
  • To the hostess after a party that was hosted in your honor.
  • For bridal or baby shower gifts.
  • For gifts that were received by mail.
  • After being entertained by your boss.
  • Gifts received during a hospital stay.
  • After being hosted as a house guest for one or more nights (unless it's a close relative or friend who is doing the hosting).
  • For notes or gifts of congratulations.
Shoes or no shoes?  That is the question!

I will be the first to admit, we are a shoe-free house.  I take my shoes off at people's homes, and my family and guest are asked to take their shoes off in my home.  My kids are so trained, that sometimes when we are in department stores, I find them taking off their shoes.  So, what do you do if you would like your guests to remove their shoes?  Remember this:

A hostess is within her rights to ask guests to remove their shoes — especially if it's snowing or raining outside. If it makes you uncomfortable (as a guest), bring an extra pair of your own shoes so you won't have to go barefoot. Personally, as a hostess, I have a basket of slippers at my front door so that I can offer them up.  I have women's sizes and men's sizes.

That said, a good hostess should be flexible. If she doesn't know her guests well or is having a big party, she should suspend the no-shoes rule, at least for one night.

Tip:  Where do I get my slippers?  Most of them I have gotten at hotels.  You know the ones that are plastic wrapped for your enjoyment?  Take them home with you.  Hotels do not charge for the slippers (I always check with housekeeping).  (Don't take the robes, they do charge for those LOL).

And, look what I found at (my favorite shopping site)...
Please Remove Your Shoes - Black/White (6") at

Attire guide:

My husband and I just received an invitation to a reception, and thought this was the perfect time to go over attire. We have all been there. We have received an invitation mentioning what to wear. Whether it's Black Tie or Beach Casual, there has been a time where we wonder, "what is that?" It's also VERY important to know as the hostess what you are asking of your guests. If you are going to throw a backyard BBQ or cocktail party, and specify a wardrobe, you need to know what you are asking of your guests.

Attire Guide: Beach Casual to White Tie
 White Tie
  • Black tailcoat, matching pants
  • white wing-collared shirt with stiff front
  • white vest
  • white bow tie
  • white or gray gloves
  • black patent shoes and black dress socks
  • Formal (floor length) evening gown
 Black Tie
  • Black tuxedo jacket and matching pants
    formal white shirt
  • black bow tie (silk, shiny satin or twill)
  • black cummerbund to match tie, or a vest
  • black patent shoes and black dress socks
  • no gloves.
  • In summer or on a cruise: white dinner jacket, black tuxedo pants plus other black tie wardrobe.
  • Formal (floor length) evening gown or short, dressy cocktail dress
 Black Tie
  • Either a tuxedo (see 'Black Tie' above) or
  • dark suit, white shirt and conservative tie
  • Formal (floor length) evening gown or
  • short, dressy cocktail dress or
  • dressy separates
 Black Tie
  • Tuxedo combined with trendy or whimsical items, such as a black shirt or a matching colored or patterned bow tie and cummerbund
  • black shiny patent or dressy black leather shoes and black socks
  • Formal (floor length) evening gown or
  • short, dressy cocktail dress or
    dressy separates or
  • any of the above accessorized with such items as a colorful shawl or colorful jewelry
  • Dark, business suit
  • matching vest (optional)
  • white shirt
  • conservative tie
  • dressy leather shoes and dress (dark) socks
  • Short afternoon or cocktail dress or
  • long dressy skirt and top
  • Seasonal sport coat or blazer in color of choice and slacks
  • open-collar shirt or
  • shirt and "festive" or holiday-themed tie
  • Short cocktail dress or
  • long dressy skirt and top or
  • dressy pants outfit
  • Seasonal sport coat or blazer and slacks
  • open-collar shirt
  • Street length dress or
  • skirt and dressy top or
  • dressy pants outfit
  • Seasonal sport coat or blazer with slacks or khakis
  • open-collar shirt
  • Skirt, khakis or slacks
  • open-collar shirt, knit shirt or sweater
    (no spaghetti straps or low cut)
  • Khakis or clean, pressed jeans
  • plain tee shirt (no slogans), polo shirt or
  • casual button-down shirt
  • Khakis or clean, pressed jeans
  • plain tee shirt (no slogans), polo shirt or
  • casual button-down shirt
  • Khakis or shorts (cargo or Bermuda)
  • knit or polo shirt
  • sport jacket (optional) or sweater
  • Sundress, khakis or shorts (cargo or Bermuda)
  • open-collar, knit, or polo shirt
  • lightweight jacket or sweater

My child received duplicate gifts. Can I ask other parents for the receipts so I can exchange them?

Not really. Practical parents may include a gift receipt with the package. If you know the person well you may be able to discuss it without offending her, but it's better to err on the side of politeness. Many stores will accept a return for store credit without a receipt, so try that first. But if that doesn't work, stash it on the shelf for a spare in case the first one breaks or to give at another child's birthday.

WHAT, you can do that?
The short answer is, yes. Remember once a gift is given, it's yours to do what you want. That being said, I always stick a post-it note on the duplicate gift of who gave it. Because, even though it is your gift now, you don't want to give it back to the same family who gave it to you...oops.

Remember, if you do exchange a present without the gift-giver's knowledge, be sure your child mentions the original gift in the thank-you note.

Be a Savvy Conversationalist

To go along with the Mom's Night Out, I wanted to provide some conversation pointers and etiquette. Everyone has been in a situation at one point or another where they unknowingly put their own foot in their mouth. If you get some moms together, particularly if some do not know each other very well, this probably will happen :)!

Avoid embarrassing snafus like asking when someone's due date is when they're not even pregnant (...just did this the other day with my youngest son's preschool teacher...NOT fun) or giving off hostile body language (yikes!) by following simple conversation tips.

It's normal to get a little nervous when you're mingling. I get nervous even when I know everyone, manage my sweaty palms when there is a new mom around. Try to incorporate some of the "DOs" and avoid the "DONT's" to ensure that you will make a good impression on the guests.

Ask how old someone is

Dominate the conversation

Talk nonstop about yourself

Look around the room while in a conversation

Make eye contact


Ask open-ended questions

Ask about their interests

Be engaging

Keeping this all in mind, you will do great!

When to arrive at a party?

Quick question: The invite says 8 P.M. What time should you arrive?

Guests should arrive within fifteen minutes of the time on the invitation. You may see else where that it is OK at informal events that guests can arrive up to thirty minutes after the party officially begins. Although this may be true and falls under the purview of etiquette, being a punctual person, I'm not a huge fan of this rule.

Savvy Tip:
Proper party etiquette dictates that you should never arrive early, unless the host has specifically asked you to do so. Otherwise, you could end up being in the way instead of a help.

What do you do when your guests (or your neighbor's guests) cross the neighbor line?

Whether it's your neighbors blocking your driveway, or the festivities begin to cruise over the boundary line what can you do?

Smart neighbors know that the best way to avoid complaints is to invite neighbors to the festivities! If yours don't alert you, call the day after their fete and say, "Some of your guests used our driveway last night. We couldn't get out but didn't want to interrupt your fun. Next time, could you please remind your visitors to park in the street?" If you get blocked in again anyway, notify your neighbor right away that you need to have the cars moved so you can get out. If the party resulted in property damage, approach your neighbor and politely mention, "The people at your party did some damage to our lawn -- I'm hoping we can come up with a fair way to fix the situation." Ideally, they'll offer to pay for repair work or offer another reasonable solution.

As a hostess know that it is your responsibility to be a good neighbor. Let your neighbors know when you are going to have a party, and send an invite, if appropriate. Remind guests of where they are expected to park, and if you notice that they are blocking someone's drive, politely ask them to move it. If you notice that your guest have drifted onto your neighbor's property, politely explain the boundaries, and ask they remain in your yard. If damage has occurred, it is your responsibility to go to your neighbors, apologize, and offer to fix any damage (if that's what is needed). If it's something minor, you may just want to offer up your son's lawn services for the summer (he needs extra cash anyway, right). Remember to be courteous and polite.

Easter Egg Hunt Etiquette

It's always good to set a few ground rules before you start the hunt to ensure things are kept fair. Try the following:
  • Create a base and ask each child to return to it once they have collected a certain number of eggs (i.e. 5 eggs). They should stay there until all the children have returned before setting out again. That way you can ensure one kids doesn't get all the eggs, while the smallest or shyest get none.
  • If you have a large group of children, pair the younger ones up with the older ones. Small children can be overwhelmed by older kids so it works better if they can work in teams.
  • Rules on candy consumption are essential (unless you want a garden/house full of hyper children!) so make sure they have a clear understanding of how much they can eat. A few eggs once the hunt has finished is perfectly acceptable and the rest can be taken home for them to eat over the Easter holidays.
  • Overall, an Easter egg hunt should be fun and enjoyable for everyone so set rules you know will work according to the ages and needs of the children involved. Just simple things like sharing, taking turns and being patient can make all the difference to how things run. 
Easter Hat Etiquette
Easter hats were once a rite of spring to Christians throughout the land.

Today, the only people you’re likely to see dressed up in Easter hats in the United States are little girls and Southern women. It’s a tradition that has sadly fallen by the wayside, but one that still brings a smile to my face whenever I see a woman who takes the time to get “all decked out” in her Easter best.

If you’re thinking about your holiday ensemble and are considering wearing an Easter hat this year, here are some tips to keep in mind as you search for that “perfect” hat:

1. Formal hats can be expensive, so look for one that you can wear multiple times in order to justify the expense. Opt for a classic shape to which you can add embellishments (ribbons, scarf, a brooch) and consider wearing it for Mother’s Day, weddings, and the like.

2. The hat does not have to match the color of your Easter dress or suit exactly, but it should have some color or embellishment that mixes and matches with your ensemble. It should always be in the same mood as your clothes.

3. If your hat is elaborate, your clothes should be simple. If your clothes are elaborate, your hat should be simple. The hat should finish the ensemble, not compete against it for attention.

4. A lady adds embellishment to the right side of her hat band; a gentleman adds it to the left.

5. Easter hat brims may be small or wide. However, etiquette does dictate that you should keep your hat on while in church (and while eating Easter brunch at a restaurant), consider those who will be seated behind you when making your selection.

6. Daytime hats should be removed at dusk. Evening hats may be worn with evening attire throughout the night.

7. Always store elaborate hats in hat boxes to keep them dust-free and in correct shape. If your hat does get misshapen or damaged, take it to a professional for repair.

Have fun! You’ll wonder why women don’t wear hats more often! 

Party Favor Etiquette
Party favors are very special in that they are an unspoken way for the hostess to express gratitude to the guests. With this is mind, you must be careful to properly communicate your appreciation. When following the proper protocol, your guests are sure to appreciate the time that you invested in presenting them with a unique and special party favor to remember the special day. Stay tuned to the blog and we will provide some ideas for your Cinco De Mayo fiesta!


  • Do coordinate your favors with the overall theme of your event or party.
  • Do set a budget for your party favors and stick as best you can.
  • Do provide a favor for every single guest.
  • Do incorporate the favors into your party decorating if possible.
  • Do have few extra emergency favors just in case some get damaged during preparation, the party, or for a few unexpected (but still welcomed) guests
  • Do choose a party favor that is unisex.
  • Do plan ahead on how you will present these unique favors to your guests.
  • Do select a favor that you yourself would enjoy receiving.
  • Do select a favor that is special and that reflects the appreciation you have for your guests.


  • Don’t choose a favor that goes against the theme of your special event.
  • Don’t be afraid to choose a less expensive favor if the one that you really wanted is too expensive for your budget.
  • Don’t give a favor for each couple to share (if they choose as they are leaving, that THEY only want one, that's fine).
  • Don’t order just enough favors for each invited guest.
  • Don’t give a favor to a guest if it is damaged in any way or dirty.
  • Don’t choose a favor that is gender specific. (Unless it's a Princes Party!)
  • Don’t forget to designate a special place to set your party favors so that your guests will be sure to receive them. If the favors are incorporated into the decorations, make sure to spread the word, that they are for the taking at the end of the party.
Party lameness...
It's something we all fear, whether we're hosting or attending. Sometimes it can't be helped. Someone leaves the cake out in the rain; dancing on the ceiling goes horribly awry. You just go with it as best you can. But when the party is tanking because some guests are being antisocial or rude, we find it especially annoying.
The good thing is, it's usually fixable. Here are our best tricks for navigating choppy party waters.
The situation: AWWWkward or dull conversation.
The solution: Get out of it with a short-and-sweet "Excuse me. Nice talking to you." Making up an excuse could get you caught in a lie, and it leaves you open to a repeat bore-formance by the same person later. If you see them again, just smile and keep moving.
The situation: Making introductions.
The solution: If you know you're going to be introducing people, some pre-party prepwork will keep you from watching conversations spiral downhill. Before the party, come up with a few interesting facts about each person, as well as some topics they have in common with other guests. And be sure to know the names of spouses or dates so you're not left with the "Mike aaaaaand [awkward silence]" moment.
The sitch: Rude questions or comments.
The solution: Give a funny response or a quick "No comment" and let it slide. Rudey McCreep was either clueless or trying to provoke you, and either way, an argument just isn't worth your time. And it's really not worth wrecking the party for the people around you. This one goes out to you, lady at a party who said to me, "Wow, your sweater is so ... green." 

Tackling Teacher Gifts

It's that time of the year where parents let out a collective groan--and I'm not talking about when the kids will be home for 8-12 looooong weeks. I'm talking about the annual agony of teacher gifts.

If your child is in preschool or elementary school, then you know what I'm talking about. You’re likely in one of these two situations. You've got an over-anxious classroom parent who has just started sending secretive messages home in backpack mail about chipping in for the teacher gift, and she hasn’t given you a lot of time to think about how much you want to contribute. Or, you're anxious all on your own because you have no idea what to buy the person who spends six hours or more a day educating your child, and since no one has reached out about a collective gift for Mrs. Smith, you’re going to have to do some solo shopping.

Fret no more. We’ll help you navigate the etiquette of teacher gifts and come up with ideas that are appropriate, based on your child’s age, and her teachers likes and dislikes. This information should put your mind at ease:


How about giving their teachers and the classroom aides each a gift certificate for a manicure? These teachers are using their hands all day long, either changing diapers or doing hands-on projects, and they could use the pampering. At most strip-mall manicure shops, you can treat a teacher (or anyone else, for that matter) to a manicure for less than $20.


While preschool or nursery school teachers might enjoy a manicure as well, how about a book to read or a gift certificate to a local bookstore. Either way, each gift would come with a personal note. For the book, I might write, “I thought this book was such a great page-turner that I wanted to share a copy with you, in hopes that you would enjoy it as much. Happy reading!” With the gift certificate, I would write in the card something like this: "I hope you can use this gift certificate to buy that book you've been dying to read."


Now that my children are in elementary school, I’ve expanded my teacher gift repertoire. I still love the notion of a gift certificate to a bookstore—especially if I can support a local business. However, these days I might choose a gift card to the local coffee shop instead, whether it’s a chain like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, or the mom and pop “Higher Groundz” near to the school. This is an especially relevant gift if I've run into one of my children's teachers there in the morning, when I stop in to get my daily java. Then I know for sure that they’ll love and use this gift on their morning coffee run.

Another gift idea is a bit of a twist on the traditional, and I can thank my son's first grade teacher for inspiring me to give this kind of gift. Believe it or not, on open house, she talked about, of all things, teacher gifts. She told the parents straight out not to plan on getting her any gifts at the holidays. "I've been teaching for 30 years and really don't need anything," she said. What she did need, though, were new board games for the classroom—games that the children could use during indoor recess. She then pulled out a Sorry! board held together with duct tape to prove her point.

That year our family bought a new Sorry! game for the classroom, and I believe many other families selected the gift of board games as well. This is a good gift idea this year if you discover that your child's teachers isn't a coffee drinker.

In middle school, I've been told that we'll finally be off of the teacher-gift hook (is this right, Jo?). Parents with older children have told me you don't give teacher gifts anymore.

You are correct, Shelley. My only exception: I have a special needs child. I always give the special needs teachers gifts—even in high school. They NEVER get the thanks that they deserve. -- Jo


BBQing Tips

-Tell your guests in advance where the washrooms are and where they can go to get out of the heat.

- (After grilling) place the food on the buffet table and cover with an insect cover or tin foil to keep unwanted bugs away from the food.

- If you don't have enough seating for everyone, lay out big blankets on the grass.

- Make sure you have gas in the grill or enough charcoal. You don't want to have to make a trip to the store in the middle of the BBQ.

- To make sure food stays fresh, try and keep everything inside the refrigerator until you actually start grilling.

- To avoid having half-empty cups littering your yard, buy large coolers and fill with ice. Place cans directly on the ice.

- Make sure you have garbage cans all over the yard, to encourage guests to dump their finished plates before they blow away. 

Pot Luck Etiquette

1) What the heck is that, anyway?
Not all potlucks are amongst friends. Office parties are often prone to potlucks. It is nice etiquette to include alongside your dish an index card indicating what the dish is and what ingredients are in it. This will save you having to repeat over and over again, "No, there is no dairy in the salad dressing." If there is a dish that is totally foreign to you or grosses you out by sight, smell or taste, (yes I'm going to say it) don't say, "Yuck, what the hell is that slop?" You could be talking to the cook.

2) Cook for 10. This is a confusing point about potlucks. If 20 people are invited to a function and they each bring a dish that will feed 20, chances are there will be lots of leftovers. There does not have to be enough for everyone. At pot lucks, most people take smaller portions because they want to try a little of everything
3) Be ready-to-serve. Whatever you bring to the potluck, make sure it is ready to go. You should not need to heat stuff up upon arrival or do much by way of assembly. It is also nice if you bring your own serving utensil so that the hostess is not sent scrambling to the kitchen last minute.

4) Be clean. (Again, yes I'm going to say it) When cooking for others, don't let your dog lick the ladle or your kid sneeze into the pot. Be mindful of the fact that cooking is an act of love and that the consciousness in which you cook, as well as the environment in which the food is prepared.
5) Be on time! Potlucks depend on guests arriving *with their dish* in a timely fashion. No one can eat if the food is not there and your contribution does count. If you tend to run late, bring dessert. But even then, don't show up at a ridiculous hour. It's just plain rude.

6) Don't be a pig! As with any party where eating is involved, there are often ample leftovers involved. This does not mean you should bring your tupperware with you and pile up a container to take home so that you do not have to cook for the week. If you are invited by the host or the maker of the leftovers to take stuff home, by all means do. But even then, demonstrate some restraint. The common potluck etiquette is that people take home whatever they prepared unless they invite the guests to have a share of the leftovers.

7) Chips? You dip! While it is true that not everyone considers themselves a cook, it is also true that some potluck sub-cultures do not consider a jar of pickles or six packs of soda a bona-fide participatory item to set on the table. While some people may welcome your tub of chocolate covered Bavarian pretzels from Costco, others may prefer food which involved a little more of your heart and soul. If you do not cook, ask the hostess if you may bring the plates and cups or check out the vibe you get when you offer to bring the chips and sour cream. It may be okay. Otherwise, consider bringing a platter of raw veggies, fruit salad or cheese and grapes (you can get pre-made plates at your local grocery store, or you can have the deli make one up for you). Potlucks often lack something green.
8) Be a host, not a parasite. By throwing a potluck party, that does not mean you are off the hook food-wise. The host should not rely on the guests to cater the party. These preparations should add fun and life to the event, and not be too much of a stress on the guests. You should have at least a main dish prepared in abundance for everyone in attendance.

10) Be realistic. Depending on the crowd you run with, your guests may not have enough cash flow to cook something decent for 10. Remember, there is a recession going on. As the hostess, it is a nice gesture to either let guests know they do not need to bring a gift or in exchange for your guests' generosity, hit them with a sweet party favor. As the potluck attendee, make sure you do not feel as though your wallet has been violated; nothing ruins the party spirit more than a disgruntled guest.

Outdoor Entertaining Etiquette

If you have enough outdoor space you can create a separate lounge area as well as a cooking/dining area. Then you can be really comfy after the meal is finished.
Always ensure you have sufficient lighting and this includes pathways and stairs. You don't want grandma falling down that 2 inch step, just because it's not well identified (this actually happened to our had safety tape out the next day; it probably would have been better if it was out a day earlier).
If you have any outdoor lighting that is connected to a motion sensor you may want to disable it for the party, otherwise it will become annoying. (Or entertaining, watching everyone wave their arms in the air to turn it on again...your choice LOL).
Use heavy tablecloth pegs to hold down the edges of your tablecloths. These are available quite cheaply at places like Target, Williams-Sonoma, etc.

Flag Etiquette

Wow, I thought this would be straight forward, and for the most part it is. I'm going to provide the quick and easy tips to keep in mind during a BBQ. I found these tips on where you can go for the complete guide to displaying your flag.

Both Jo and I take flag etiquette very seriously. Our father was a military man, Jo's DH is in the armed forces, and my DH is a veteran and still serves our government.

Here are the simple tips to keep in mind this 4th of July:

- The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top. Also, the flag should not be used as a table cloth.

- Do not display the flag in inclement weather.

- Display the flag only between sunrise and sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs. The flag may be displayed for twenty-four hours if illuminated in darkness.
- Whether displaying the flag vertically or horizontally, make sure the canton of stars is visible on the upper left-hand side.
- Do not let the flag touch the ground.
- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- Before flying a flag at half-staff, hoist to its peak for an instant before lowering it.
- When flags of states, cities, or localities are flown on the same halyard with the United States flag, the national flag should always be at the top. No other flag should be placed above, or if on the same level, to the flag's right.
- When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they should be flown from separate staffs of equal height. The flags should be of approximately equal size.
- When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle, the canton should be placed at the peak of the staff.
- When not on display, the flag should be respectfully folded into a triangle, symbolizing the tricorn hats worn by colonial soldiers in the Revolutionary War.

Vacation Etiquette
Depending on where you live, it might be common to either invite your child's friend to vacation with you or your child may be invited to join a friend on vacation. My friend has an only child, so her daughter is always allowed to bring a friend. If you find yourself in a similar situation just keep the following in mind.

  • When another family invites your child to go on vacation with them,they assume all of the costs. A polite parent should ask if there is anything that they may contribute toward the trip or hotel rooms. This will (or should be) refused, but it's all part of the dance between civil and considerate people.
  • Your child should take, in addition to extra spending money, enough money to treat the family to lunch one day. If the child is too young to handle the money, put it in an envelope and say "We appreciate you letting Sarah see Colonial Williamsburg. Mr. Jones and I would like it very much if you let us see to your bill for lunch on one of the days." They will appreciate the gesture.  Follow this up with a thank you note from the child after the trip saying how much s/he enjoyed it and you will have done everything you need to do!
  • If you are the family inviting a friend along, keep in mind all the above. You should assume all costs of having the extra "family member" for the vacation. Also, we like to dance around the "let me pay, no let me pay, no let me pay" game. If your guest wants to pay for a lunch, let them. They are truly grateful for your generosity, so let them show it.
School Etiquette

Teaching kids etiquette in the home is hard enough, but it's even tougher to help them be on their best behavior when they're at school. There are many situations at school that require good etiquette, and teaching children proper manners can help them and their classmates have an enjoyable learning experience.

Classroom Respect

The classroom should be a safe and comfortable environment in which to learn. Kids can contribute by following common courtesies such as not speaking when others are speaking, not whispering and not passing notes or other objects. Kids should also respect other people's opinions and not criticize or make light of another student's shortcomings in the classroom, such as getting an answer wrong. 

The Holiday Party Season is upon us. Whether you are the hostess or the guest, here are 4 quick, simple etiquette rules to keep in mind!

1. Welcoming your guest:A good hostess welcomes each guest with a smile and a warm greeting. Show the guest where to put their coats and personal items, and offer drinks within the first few minutes of their arrival. Never drink too much before guest arrive and during the event; you need to be in control.

2. A Proper Setting:
If you are having a sit down dinner, a good hostess should know how to set a table. When it comes to flatware, the best tip to remember is "outside in." (You've all seen Pretty Women, right?) The utensils are placed in order to which they will be used, starting with the outermost side of the dinner plate and moving in as the meal progresses.

3. The Art of Being Gracious: 
A good hostess should always be calm throughout the evening, so the guests feel comfortable and at ease. If a guest spill red wine on your white rug, simply pass it off as an all-too-often accident and return to your conversation. Should the guest offer to pay for the cleaning bill, thank them but politely decline. Remember graciousness looks good on everyone.

4. The Fond Farewell:Traditionally, the guests start leaving a party about an hour after dinner has finished. A hostess should see them to the door, keeping the goodbyes sincere, but brief. If a guest has had too much to drink, handle the situation as discreetly as possible. Never ask lingering guests to leave; once you are no longer offering drinks, the remaining guests will depart soon thereafter.

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