My Top 5 Christmas Party Hostess Gifts

Hi, everyone! Happy December 13th. Quick note: The Twelve Days of Christmas start on December 25th, not today! 😉

Today I wanted to give you a few hints for Christmas party hostess gifts. Here are my top 5 gifts!

Josh Cabernet Sauvignon. I love the flavor, and it’s moderately priced at around $13 a bottle. The label, however, is very clean looking, and I feel like it tastes comperable to higher priced bottles. Don’t forget, though, that when you give a bottle of wine, you’re giving it for your hosts to consume at a later date.Kind of along those lines are these adorable and very functional glass markers.

These Wine Glass Markers with Colorful and Stylish Design – Set of 6 (Pineapple) are perfect because they can be used on stemless glasses, too.

I also LOVE these cute cocktail napkins. I always have several sets, usually Southern themed, in my hostess basket at home. If the person(s) you’re visiting enjoy cooking, I always recommend theseGrand’aroma Bruschetta,garlic, Basil, Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 8.5-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4). Garlic is my favorite one for everyday cooking, but they’re all delicious and add a new level of flavor to your meals.

Honestly, my last favorite pick is a giftcard to a local coffee shop. I know giftcards are very debateable, but I have noticed that the majority of people enjoy coffee. If they don’t, they enjoy tea or soda or the sweets coffee shops have.

I hope you have enjoyed this list, and I’d love to hear what your top picks are, too! Thank you for reading!

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My Favorite Etiquette Books

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I’ve had a few reader questions on which etiquette books are my favorite. In truth, I’m careful recommending etiquette books because, unfortunately, not all actually follow etiquette. Some of the newer ones are more of a “hey, let’s just do whatever we want, regardless of how we come across to others” feel. That is not remotely how I want to come across. However, I do have a couple I tend to lean on more than others, so I wanted to share those with you today. Emily Post’s Etiquette, 19th Edition: Manners for Today (Emily’s Post’s Etiquette) is a good standby. While it isn’t written by Emily Post any longer, as she is deceased, I still turn to it for table settings and other areas of etiquette that don’t fluctuate as much. However, I have found it isn’t as traditional as it once was. If you don’t want to spend $25 on a book, Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition (Emily Post’s Etiquette) is nearly $10 less. Very little has changed between the two.

Another etiquette expert I really enjoy is Amy Vanderbilt. This book, The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette, 50th Anniversay Edition, is very user-friendly, and she gose into a little more of upscale situations than Emily Post does.

Regardless, I think you’ll find either book easy to understand and use! Thank you for reading!

In Defense of Trick-or-Treating

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Halloween! Also, Happy All Saints’ Day!

Our family enjoyed Halloween this year a lot. Garrett was Patrick Bateman from American Psycho {and not Dexter, as everyone thought he was 🙂 }, I was a black cat, Katherine was Minnie Mouse, and Grant was Leonardo (I think….blue ninja turtle).

For Katherine’s first Halloween, she was a black cat who was terrified of Minnie (me). We’ve come a long way, baby. My parents were both penguins, and they truly waddled due to the design of their costumes! It is the funniest thing ever.

One thing I noticed, though, was the rarity of porch lights in our area. We live in a very residential area, but most people (even those who decorated) didn’t participate in Trick-or-Treat. My theory? Truck-or-Treat. I understand the reasoning behind it. However, I think the “risk” associated with traditional trick-or-treating is grossly exaggerated due to social media. Social media usually exaggerates (or blatantly makes up) most things. I get it. Sensationalism sales. However, common sense should rule. Don’t trick-or-treat at shady places. Halloween, though, is about so much more than candy (to me, at least). I love the experience of going out. The excitement of the unknown.

As a kid growing up in the country, trick-or-treating consisted of going to family members’ homes. I longed for the experience my dad talked of from when he was a kid growing up in Irving.

Halloween also, in my opinion, can be a way we finally meet our neighbors. How many of us can name by name the people who live near us? What a great opportunity to meet someone new.

I am so thankful and proud to live where we do. I love having easy access to Brookshire’s and the library, as well as having friends who live a block from us.

When we first moved into our home, I was beyond excited about the mail slot on the door. It seemed to urban to me.

This post is not about bashing trunk-or-treats. I just think that traditional, old-fashioned trick-or-treating has a lot more to offer than meets the eye, and I would encourage anyone who is home next Halloween to consider flipping on your light and seeing who you might meet.

 

Regional Dialect With My Daughter

Ok, how about a funny post for Halloween?!

We all know that dialect, like etiquette, is very regional. I was raised in East Texas by an East Texan who was raised by East Texans and so on. Seriously, our roots here are deep. However, my cute hubby made his way here from California when he was 11. In recent times he’s said “y’all” instead of “you guys.” Our daughter, though, says “y’all guys,” and it couldn’t crack me up more if she tried. Sweet girl is a prime example of mixing regional dialects.

This is what I find so fascinating about etiquette, as well. The mixing of it and the product of “new” etiquette. I’ve never known of a situation when even Emily Post herself simply decided on something new being etiquette. Rather, she would look at the current culture and evaluate whether or not something still applied in that area. People move in. People leave. Lots of external factors are at play when defining the culture of an area. To me, that’s what makes etiquette beautiful, as well.

Fun fact: It’s y’all, not ya’ll. Y’all is a contraction for you all, so the apostrophe goes where the letters are removed.

All Hallows’ Eve – Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a very safe and happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Y’all know I love holidays in general, but the magic of Halloween has always placed it at the top. I also love that it kind of “kicks off” the other holidays of this time of year, making it even more special to me.

So, for today, I’m here to give a brief history of Halloween, as well as a few traditions!

“Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.”

Following Halloween is All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd.

 

Now for some traditions!Soul Cakes

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead.

In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.

In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.)

Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband.

Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.