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Holiday etiquette tips all Southerners should know

So should everyone else, for that matter

Good manners and proper etiquette are always important, but they’re especially crucial during the Christmas season. In-laws travel to town, Yuletide parties ensue, and there are countless opportunities to commit a major etiquette faux pas. But, fear not. Southern Living editor Betsy Cribb shares some of her tried and true holi-do’s and holi-don’ts this season.

To monogram or not to monogram

There’s an old saying, “If it ain’t moving, monogram it.” That is certainly not the case. If your hat has a pom-pom on top, we say skip the monogram — there’s already a lot going on. However, a monogramed Christmas ornament can be a thoughtful gift if you know the recipient is a fan of monograms.

» Here are the top trends for holiday home decorating this year

Social media etiquette

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It’s never a good idea to post photos of your Christmas presents online (unless it’s a puppy of course). Otherwise, it’s a bit, dare we say, tacky. Nobody is interested in seeing your new iPad, diamond earrings or Louis Vuitton bag. If you want to post a cute photo of your friends and family, it’s always a good practice to ask for permission. You wouldn’t want an unflattering photo of you roaming the internet; give your loved ones the same curtesy.

Holiday party invitations

You can decline a Christmas party invitation; you just have to do it nicely. Something along the lines of “hate that I can’t be there; hope you have a merry Christmas” is the perfect response. If you are invited by text message, a text message reply is perfectly acceptable. The same thing goes for email. But if you are sent a nice invitation in the mail, a phone call is the way to go.

» 6 essentials for an epic holiday party

Secret Santa and tacky Christmas sweaters

Christmas is one of the few times a year adults feel like they can throw a themed party, so just be a good sport and participate. When it comes to holiday gift-giving games, it’s important to stick to the set price limit. Otherwise, things will quickly get awkward.

Christmas card etiquette

Instagram is the lazy man’s way to send out a Christmas card. Don’t do that. Friends and family really appreciate a lovely Christmas card in their mailbox (especially when holiday bills are also piling up).

Holiday house guests

If you’re staying the night at a friend or family member’s house, it’s acceptable to ask for the Wi-Fi password (after visiting for a while). Be sure not to overstay your welcome. If the host or hostess is cleaning up, that’s usually a sign you should hit the road. And, showing up with a simple hostess gift is a nice gesture.

» 6 secrets to hosting holiday guests

Christmas gifts

Every now and then, you’ll get a gift you’re not very excited about. That is the time to pull a Meryl Streep and give the best acting performance of your life. Smile and say thank you. If someone gives you a present, and you didn’t get them anything, don’t make excuses. Simply graciously accept. Of course, it’s always smart to have a stash of wrapped, untagged presents for those situations.

» Six easy and elegant ways to decorate for the holidays

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