Thursday Tales and Traditions

Tonight I’ll have the opportunity to speak at my alma mater, Texas A&M University-Commerce. This is where I met my husband. This is where my parents met. And this is where my grandfather attended to start this legacy. I hope that one day my kids will have the opportunity to walk the grounds as students, too. While the name has changed multiple times (originally East Texas Normal College, which was a teachers’ college), the traditions have remained the same.

TAMUC isn’t a very large school. There are around 15,000, which is a size I absolutely love. I felt like we knew nearly everyone. I had the opportunity to be involved as much as I wanted. The bar is set high for all students there, and it’s constantly being destroyed. The Lions are the 2017 Divion II National Champions. That’s wonderful in and of itself. However, the school has numerous sporting teams ranked in the top 10. They excel academically, too. To say I’m honored to be chosen to speak on business etiquette at this school is a vast understatement.

I always lead any speaking engagement with the statement that I teach Southern etiquette. What is so different about Southern etiquette? Well, white after Labor Day or before Easter is a primary difference. Another difference is that in business etiquette, women remain the “more important person,” all other things equal. Southern etiquette also places a much higher emphasis on tradition.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you know a new royal baby has been born. Even as an American I love this. It reminded me of one of my favorite Southern etiquette books, though. A Southern Belle Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.

This book was full of both facts and fun. It’s really one of my staples. There is a follow up, though it’s a bit harder to find and is usually more expensive. It is New Times In The Old South: Or Why Scarlett’s in Therapy & Tara’s Going Condo.
Readers, this is where I need your help. I have recently run across A Southern Belle Primer: Or Why Paris Hilton Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma. I’m curious as to whether it’s simply a name update or if the book has actually changed.

Just for fun, the book I’ve recently purchased is: The Southerner’s Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life.
If you haven’t read it, Garden & Gun was introduced to me by one of my Southern Belle friends, Chaney. I have been addicted ever since! I hope y’all enjoy these books! If you’ve already read any of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂 As always, thank you for reading!

 

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Graduation Registries and What the Experts Think

Each year it seems like people find more and more ways to register for events and milestones. Way back in 2015 we covered why baby showers are intended to be for the parents and, thus, thrown on the occasion of the birth of parents’ first child.

Just because the option to register is there doesn’t mean you must accept.

Retail stores exist by making money. Registries allow the customer to select for himself or herself items they would like to receive. Once the items are marked and the registry distributed, purchases of those items is all too easy, resulting in profits for the retail store.

Aside from the common baby shower and wedding registries, I’ve now seen graduation, divorce and first home registries. It seems like the expectation has been set that people believe themselves of not only deserving of a gift for any and every occasion, but they also seem to believe they have the right to dictate what people give.

We are not entitled to have other people support our lifestyle.

Registries have not always been common. For two occasions, I believe it to be perfectly acceptable to have a registry: your wedding/wedding shower and your baby shower.

Never, though, should the registry be on the actual inviation. Additionally, even with a registry, people are welcome to give anything they wish, and all gifts are deserving of a thank you note.

When you have a registry, it’s important to not only have a wide range of costs for the items, which allows people to pick their price point, but it’s important to keep in mind the tone of the registry.

I’ve seen registries that have a preface of something like, “Thanks for viewing our online registry! We aren’t into ‘stuff,’ so check out what you can get us!” This is usually followed by “Buy a portion of the newlyweds’ couple massage” that offers a way to purchase said gift in $50 increments. There is no personalization to this, and the message is cold.

I know there will be plenty of opinions on this, but I believe it’s important to pay attention to not only what we’re saying but how we’re saying it.

Here’s a quick link to further explain why graduation registries are a no-no.

“When I hear people are creating registries for high school graduation, I hear ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme,’ as opposed to congratulations,” said Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of  Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition (Emily Post’s Etiquette). “They are absolutely not appropriate.”

Ms. Post, I agree. Thank you for reading!

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Being a Hostess vs. Having People Over

New post, as promised! 🙂

Something has been on my mind, as I’ve engrossed myself recently in Southern movies like Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That is, the difference between being a hostess and simply having people over. Believe me, there IS a difference.

To start, I’m blessed with lots of wonderful Southern, hospitable friends. My friend, Kayla, is the epitome of class. If you haven’t checked out her blog, At Home with Kayla Price, you definitely need to. It’s wonderful and can be found at kaylaprice.com. She covers everything from making cloth napkins to toilet paper!

My wonderful friend, Dusty, makes everyone feel at home immediately. She never acts as though anything burdens her and goes out of her way to make sure you have everything you could want or need. Absolutely love her. Truly, she’s someone I felt sad about not having in my life for longer the moment I met her. She’s that wonderful.

I, of course, have more friends than I could possibly list, and I’m grateful for all of them. Today, though, as I write, I’m remembering a recent visit with a good friend, Sharla. She is someone who always comes to mind when I think of being a hostess. She is perfect when it comes to details. We often visit with her and her family, as our two older kids are good friends (as are the adults and younger kiddos, too), and she makes every impromptu visit seem like she’s planned it for months. She knows the difference between having people over versus being a hostess, and she excels at the latter.

When you just have people over, they can feel slightly unwelcome. They are there to do what you want and are not treated as guests. Here is the ugly truth: being a hostess is hard. It means your guests gets the larger piece of pie, and the good toy goes to them first. This is NOT to say guests can’t or shouldn’t help prepare a meal, etc. It means they’re helping you, not acting as your inferior.

Even in the closest of relationships, where both or all parties feel comfortable enough to makes oneself at home, you can be a hostess by making your visitors feel like guests, not a burden.

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A few “extras” if you want to take the occasion from “having people over” to “hostessing”:

  1. Have their favorite drink on hand, if you know someone is coming over
  2. Have a stash of quickly prepared appetizers – crackers, canned olives, canned chip dips, etc. It may not be glamorous, but it will mean a lot.
  3. Offer your guests to come inside in a warm manner
  4. Have a clean guest restroom – this is an easy way to make it seem like guests are always welcome
  5. Thank your guest for coming over. Let them know you appreciate their time spent with you.
  6. Follow the Golden Rule

Thank you for reading! I’d love to know what you’d like to know more about. Please feel free to request topics!