Ten Commandments for Christmas Manners

Recent news reports show a growing problem among Christmas shoppers. The Grinch in us seems to come out. Whether it’s using pepper spray to get a desired product or problems at the office Christmas party, we need to get ourselves back under control. Here are a few tips to help us put the fun back in our holidays.

Don’t Hog the Treats: Along with this, let me add “don’t double dip.” There seems to be someone at every party that stands next to the best food(s) being served and eating large portions of it. This isn’t good for the party, the Christmas spirit or the waist line.

Driving: While many people drive like maniacs all year long, the holiday season seems to multiply their numbers exponentially. Speeding, cutting people off and turning right from the left hand turn lane are dangerous. They are also very poor manners. Remember what you were taught in Driver’s Ed so that you don’t add to the mayhem this Christmas.

Language: The language I prefer to hear at Christmas is along the lines of Jingle Bells and Oh, Holy Night. It is not “Oh, Holy ****. Swearing is unpleasant no matter what time of year, but it seems to be either a lot more prevalent or a whole lot louder between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please, watch what comes out of your mouth.

Listen: This goes back to the parties. It’s ok to tell a story or two, but it’s also important to actually listen to what other people are saying. Even I find myself occasionally plotting what I’m going to say next without really hearing what the other person is saying. You (and I) may miss something wonderful by doing that.

Parking Lots: The only place wilder than Toys R Us at this time of year is any retail parking lot. It’s not just the malls, it’s at the grocery store and the bank as well. Blocking lanes, taking up more than one spot to prevent door dings, honking, cursing and even speeding are all common. They’re not only impolite, some of them are dangerous.

Regifting: I see nothing wrong with this practice, but a few rules have to apply. First off, unless it’s a family joke, there are some things that just shouldn’t be regifted. Grandma’s 1951 batch of fruit cake is among them. Also, make sure that the party you got the gift from doesn’t find out that you gave it to someone else. It’s also wise to remember who gave it to you so you don’t give it back to that person. I’ve had that happen to me more than once.

Short Supply: There may be a limited supply of the most sought after gifts. Pepper spraying people to make sure you get one is not good manners. Nor is stealing it after someone bought it. If you can’t get one, it will not be the end of the world. I know this from experience.

Take the Keys: If someone has had too much to drink, don’t let them drive. Take the keys and arrange for them to have a ride home. You might be the person they would have killed.

Waiting in Line: Yes, lines are long at this time of year. Instead of feeling frustrated or venting your anger, start a friendly conversation with someone either in front or behind you. The time will pass more easily and you may brighten someone’s day.

Watch the Booze: Don’t drink and drive. If someone takes your keys and provides you a ride home, thank them. Call Tipsy Toe if you have to, but don’t drink and drive.

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