Which Way The Sheets Go

My goodness. It would be wonderful if I have realized earlier this week that my scheduled posts did not, in fact, post. Oh well, kiddos are down for the night, so I *think* I have it sorted now. I apologize for the delay!

Hi, everyone!! I hope, if you’re local, you’re enjoying the etiquette snippets on KSST. I’m enjoying making them.

We have recently had a couple of ladies clean our home for us. While I know that nothing will ever been the way I do it, I’m just so happy to not be the one doing it. We previously had a lady who cleaned our home, but she moved away. This was someone who was like family to us. I grew up with her cleaning my parents’ home. While we were very happy for her and her family, I also wasn’t eager to allow just anyone into our humble abode.

Through the recommendation of a friend, we found someone wonderful who does a great job. She also now clean my parents’ home. Truly the only quirk I’ve noticed is that when making the beds, she puts the pattern face up. Now, this is truly minor, but I thought it would be a good opportunity for the etiquette of bed making for those who may also not know.

When you are making a bed, the pattern on the top sheet should be placed down, toward the mattress (bottom or fitted sheet). Why? It is so that they the covers are turned down, the pattern is seen. Otherwise, the blank side would be seen. What about white sheets? The seam should be seen on top when initially making the bed. Again, the finished edges will be shown once the sheets are turned down.

Pottery Barn does the best job, in my experience, of encouraging this practice. Some lesser quality sheets we’ve gotten from Target end up with the pattern upside down when implemented this way.

So, questions for the day: Did you already know this etiquette guidance? Do you go by it?

Thank you for reading!

Dining Etiquette Q&A – The Charger Plate

Most of the time, my etiquette email, etiquettebyemily@gmail.com, is fairly light on the inbox side. However, a few times throughout the week, I’ll have a reader’s question waiting to be answered. Today is such an occasion!

The charger plate – How do you use it? When do you remove it? Do you eat off of it?

Ok, first things first. You never eat directly off of the charger plate. When you remove it is quite dependent on what course you begin with. The charger may remain in place until the entrée course PLATE is finished.

Traditionally, the charger dictated the width of a place setting. Since plates were oftentimes dishesfrom the kitchen and then brought out, the charger helped the host know where to set the flatware, glassware, etc.

Personal story: The year from Christmas Eve I decided to tackle the Feast of the Seven Fishes. However, after our Candlelight Service, which went nearly an hour and a half, we didn’t have much time to stuff our pieholes (classy, huh?) before heading off to Midnight Mass. Instead of attempting to wash the salad/dessert plates or soup bowls between courses, I decided to serve everything off of the entrée plate – the main plate, that is.

In some restaurants, they will occasionally remove the charger completely before you begin the meal. That’s perfectly acceptable. The only rule with chargers is they MUST be removed by the time the dessert plate hits the table.

Here is my favorite etiquette expert’s take on formal table settings. I’ve used this guide regularly, and it always comes in handy! http://emilypost.com/advice/formal-place-setting/ Note: For the most formal of meals, salad is served after the main course, so the salad fork is closer to the plate than the dinner fork. Also, in this illustration it is mentioned that the napkin can go under the forks is space is very tight. In her earlier books, this was a major no-no for Mrs. Post. It just shows how etiquette changes over time!

Thank you for reading!!

 

2017 Announcement #1

Happy New Year! I am so excited about some of the blog changes coming in 2017, and I hope you will be, too!

I feel like I need to make a confession. I am not prim and proper. I simply have a love of all things etiquette. I’m going to take the easy way out and blame it on being a Gemini. 😉 However, to be more authentic, I am adding a series on Everything Emily. I want y’all to see a real life and how etiquette is brought into it. I want to promote etiquette for everyone, and that means showing y’all the times I fail miserably at it. Do I dream of having a perfectly clean house, a guest book ready and waiting by the door and non-sticky kids? You betcha. Do I have any of that? Excuse me while I go laugh for about six hours. Nope. Not even close.

I expect my kids to be polite. I want them to grow up having etiquette as part of their everyday life, but I struggle with the middle ground. I know the implications of not following etiquette too well to just let things always slide. But I also understand the importance of living in the moment. Let me be as clear as I can be. Having kids jump in mud puddle is NOT against etiquette. Co-sleeping, bottle feeding, nursing, cry-it-out – whatever your parenting choice may be – is NOT against etiquette.

Etiquette is simply the bringing together of cultural and societal norms. It varies by region, which is why I state I teach Southern etiquette. It varies by country. I love this so much about etiquette. I don’t want so much sameness in the world that we lose our core values – the same values that make up our etiquette.

If you’re using etiquette to put others down, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re using etiquette to feel superior, you’re doing it wrong. NOTHING about etiquette would ever approve this. Etiquette is about feeling comfortable in any situation, but more than that, etiquette is about making OTHERS feel comfortable in any situation. You may absolutely guide someone if they are breeching etiquette, but if you’re doing it correctly, they’ll never know you did it.

Everything Emily will post weekly. I’m not sure of the day, yet, but I will let y’all know!

Announcement #2 sneak peek. Are y’all following my #southerngracesocialclub? If not, you should. 😉

 

The Two Epiphanies

Today I had an epiphany. Not like the one that will take place on January 6th. The lower-case kind. Ironically, it had to do with the 12 days of Christmas. A little backstory on me. Growing up, my dad was Catholic, and my mom was United Methodist. We’ll just say “Methodist” for short. We’d attend Mass at 9am, head to eat breakfast, then go to Wesley for the 11am service. Suffice it to say, I got a double dose. Most Sundays, the readings were similar, if not the same, at both churches. Until I was about ten or so, I thought boys were Catholics and girls were Methodists. I don’t know. I just did.

When I was 14, I made the decision to join the United Methodist Church. Prior to this conviction, though, I spent a lot of time researching the different denominations, including others I wasn’t raised with. During this time, I really explored the different seasons of the church. If you haven’t been able to tell, I absolutely love traditions, and the seasons of the church are quite traditional.

While I had always known that the Christmas season starts on December 25th and lasts for the next 12 days, I had NO idea (truly, no idea until this morning), that this wasn’t common knowledge. So, I decided to dedicate today’s blog to being the 10th day of Christmas and to promote the idea of traditions and celebration of Christmas.

My husband and I haven’t taken down our Christmas decorations. Now you know we’re not lazy (at least not about this). We just are choosing to celebrate all 12 days of Christmas. If you choose to not, that’s completely ok. I just posted the meme as a humorous aside. 🙂

So, a little 12 days of Christmas etiquette and traditions.

  • Traditionally, the tree and nativity scene remain until Epiphany. We elect to keep all of our decorations up since we keep our decorations in the attic. One trip is much better for me. 🙂
  • On the Twelfth Night, there are oftentimes parties to celebrate Christmas.
  • Each day of Christmas represents a day honoring or remembering different people/events. Several of the days honor a saint.
  • Here is another reference for your convenience! http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/12daysofchristmas.shtml 

Thank you for reading and Merry Christmas!

I truly did not know that people thought the 12 days of Christmas started BEFORE Christmas day instead of beginning on Christmas day, as is correct. I wouldn’t have known people did not know when the 12 days began if I hadn’t wished someone a Merry Christmas today. Please email me any etiquette question you’d like explained! 🙂 etiquettebyemily@gmail.com

Also, I know the dessert forks are facing the incorrect position. 🙂 My daughter helped set the table, and I didn’t catch the mistake until after the picture had been taken.

     

 

 

Re-gifting Etiquette

Happy New Year’s Eve (and 7th day of Christmas)! By now you may have sorted through the myriad of gifts you received. Some you may care for more than others. So, what is a good Southern Belle to do with the gifts she doesn’t exactly care for? I’m glad you asked, and I’m here to help.

First and foremost, regardless of how much you like a gift, it is worthy of a thank you note. Yes, I know that traditional etiquette says that if you thanked the gift giver in person, you are exempt from having to write a note. That’s just not commonly practiced in the South. Here, if you receive something, you send a note UNLESS the gift itself was a thank you gift.

Secondly, you are free to re-gift, provided a few rules are followed. When you are re-gifting, you should carefully considering to whom you will give the gift. You don’t want the future recipient to be put in a position of re-gifting it yet again. Try your best to make sure it will be appreciated by its future owner. If you can’t think of anyone who would want/like the gift, return it if you know where it was purchased. If not, donate it to a good cause.

When re-gifting, try your absolute best to make sure the original gifter does not find out about said re-gift. It was undoubtedly hurt his or her feelings. For example, if it was given to you by your mom, do not re-gift it to your brother.

For this rule, I speak from personal experience: Do not re-gift in the same bag you received the item in unless you’ve double-checked for name tags that could be a dead giveaway to the item being a re-gift.

Now for an aside: My car stays a wreck. I don’t know why. I feel like I continuously clean it out, but with two kids, stuff keeps getting shoved back in. I’m also in several clubs and organizations, so I have notes, minutes, etc. floating around always. This year, I gave my sister-in-law a gift I purchased for her. Read – not a re-gift. Anyhow, I’m pretty sure one of my Dial Study Club thank you notes somehow made its way into the bag, so she likely thought it was a re-gift. This is why I prefer to use wrapping paper. It’s much harder for inanimate objects to work its way into that.

Ok, back to the actual story. Regarding name tags – making sure bags are clear of old name tags is a good rule of thumb, even if the actual gift is not a re-gift. I cannot bring myself to throw out perfectly good gift bags that were briefly used. I cannot tell you the last time I re-gifted anything, but I CAN tell you it’s difficult when a bag says it’s to both my aunt and my mom. Mommy brain.

There you have it! A few, simple re-gifting guidelines to consider when sending gifts to a new home.

Note: My friend, Kayla Price Mitchell, who has the blog At Home With Kayla Price, and I both had similar blogging stories. I’ve linked hers here for you to check out, as well! Great minds. 😉