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!

 

 

 

 

Traditions and Casseroles


imageWhen I first started this blog, I tried to strictly stick with etiquette. My goal was to simplify etiquette so that everyone felt comfortable knowing and using it. However, as I’ve learned over the past several months, etiquette, particularly in the South, isn’t as “Emily Post” as I originally thought. So much of what we do and how we act hinges on the traditions that have been passed down to us from our parents and grandparents. Personally, I love this. It connects us with those we may have known only briefly before they passed away, as well as with those we may never have had a chance to meet.

In a world of political correctness that has stifled diversity, I crave uniqueness. I want traditions and cultures that make areas of the wonderful USA different and special. My goal for Etiquette by Emily in 2016 has been to incorporate traditions, tying them to etiquette and, in some cases, pointing out the differences. This is not stuffy etiquette. This is everyday etiquette – etiquette for everyone.

That being said, I want to showcase a tradition I have noticed dying off, save for within churches: bringing food for those who have had a significant life event take place.

Growing up, I think my mom took casseroles, breads, pies and more to people who had recently suffered a death in their family or celebrated a birth. In the South, we closely tie food to comfort (possibly too much so, but it’s not an area I’m willing to give up). A way to show love or appreciation is through food. Bringing food to someone eases some of the everyday burdens, allowing the recipient to focus on their new baby or on grieving. To be quite honest, it blesses the giver as much as the recipient.

This week I had the privilege of taking a casserole (recipe below) to a friend who had a baby a few weeks ago. It’s not the healthiest of casseroles, but it’s an easy, kid-friendly one that heats up well. Priorities. I remember after the births of my kids, the people who brought by food were eligible for sainthood, in my opinion. After nursing, burping, being spit up on and surviving on little-to-no sleep, cooking was the absolute last thing on my to-do list.

I want to make sure this tradition is continued, so I rounded up my kids, Katherine and Grant, and allowed them to “help” cook. Katherine stirred the cream of different things soups together, and Grant helped sprinkle in the garlic powder. It’s important they understand the importance behind this tradition. The recipe, which is not my own, also connects them with their grandmother. In a world where busyness is glorified, it’s good to step back and breathe to remember it’s not all about us. I hope you’ll consider continuing this tradition with me. It’s the perfect opportunity to get out that box of old recipes and cook up something delicious.

Chicken Noodle casserole:
12 ounce egg noodles, cooked per package
2 cans cream of anything soup (I usually use one cream of chicken and one cream of mushroom)
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
Dash of salt
3 cups cook, diced chicken
Mix everything up

Topping:
24 Ritz crackers
½ stick of butter, melted

Crush crackers on top. Drizzle butter over it all. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, and bake for 10 minutes more.

Memorial Day Etiquette and Traditions

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With Memorial Day quickly approaching (aside…how is it already May?!), I thought it would be fun to incorporate tradition and etiquette into one post. I have already done a general flag etiquette post, which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/Etiquettebyemily/photos/pb.736507106471120.-2207520000.1462835714./748407145281116/?type=3&theater. However, Memorial Day is a more solemn holiday, where we show our appreciation to those who have passed away either while serving our country or after doing so. Here are a couple of traditions I would encourage you to participate in to make the day even more meaningful. As with all traditions, this helps us link generations and helps maintain the importance of the holiday.

In 2000, Congress created the National Moment to make sure our troops are honored. At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, every American is asked to pause for just one minute to honor the fallen.

Memorial Day is the perfect day to fly the USA flag. If you have a flag pole that allows the flag to be at half mast, it should remain there until noon. If you have a stationary pole, displaying it normally is perfectly fine.

If you are at a Memorial Day parade or concert where the national anthem is being played, non-military should stand and place their hand over their heart. Military, uniformed and non-uniformed alike, may salute the flag, if they so choose.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 contained an amendment to allow un-uniformed servicemembers, military retirees, and veterans to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering, or passing of the U.S. flag.

A later amendment further authorized hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel. This was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct. 14, 2008 (http://www.military.com/flag-day/rules-for-saluting-us-flag.html).

I hope this Memorial Day you will consider some of these traditions and remember the true meaning behind the holiday. While some of us have the luxury of a day off from work, it is because of the men and women who have sacrificed for us and our country. God bless you all.

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Carnations and Corsages

imageSadly, corsages honoring someone are becoming a thing of the past. In an effort to promote traditions, I’m attempting to bring this particular one back! For starters, I love seeing the women in my church proudly wearing their corsages (on their left side). Growing up, I most often saw this on Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day. In an effort to showcase this tradition, I thought it would be a good idea to go over the different colored corsages in effort to highlight their meanings.

For a Mother’s Day corsage, the type of flower isn’t as important as the color of the flower. White signifies that their mother is deceased, red or pink signifies that their mother is alive. Yellow most often means that the person has lost a child. As you can see, the colors signify more about the person’s mother than themselves.

Likewise, if you are at a place (church comes to mind) where carnations are being passed out in honor of Mother’s Day, it is appropriate for all women to accept one. This is actually done in honor of your mother, not in honor of being a mother.

I would like to wish all mothers, aunts, grandmothers, step-mothers and female role models everywhere a very happy Mother’s Day! Maybe we’ll see corsages a little more this year. 😉

Baby Showers Vs. Baby Gifts

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A trend I’ve noticed is that people are willing to appreciate etiquette when it doesn’t interfere with their receiving of gifts. So, when it comes to having a second child, their appreciation of etiquette wanes. Ahh, to have or to not have. That is the question. Allow me to answer.

Truly, a shower for any child other than your first is inappropriate. “But every child should be celebrated.” Yes, they should. A common falsehood is that showers are for the child. They’re not. They’re for the parents, most often the mother in particular.

However, I recognize that people, for some reason, have stopped giving gifts unless there is a specific occasion to which one would bring a gift. This is beyond me, but at least I’ve found (humor me here) the root cause of second baby showers.

Normally I play nice. I try to allow for more gray areas than most. Showers are to “shower” the parents with attention and affection. You have them for the first major life change: i.e. a marriage (first time only here, people), becoming a parent (again, first time only). Even then, you are not entitled to being the guest of honor of any occasion at all. Hopefully, you have some sweet friends who are excited for you, though.

Yes, I realize that people now have divorce registries, but we’re trying to fight the good fight against entitled tackiness.

We’ve previously gone over appropriate occasions instead of a shower (sip and see, etc.), so I won’t rehash those here. Instead, allow me to drive a single point home: It is COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE to get people gifts FOR ANY REASON AT ALL. Honestly. If they’re having a second child, by all means, grab a sweet book and some diapers for the baby. If someone is simply having a bad day at work, feel free to bring them a cookie. Snickernoodle, preferably. My point is, a specific gathering does NOT need to happen to “allow” you to get someone a gift.

Maybe if this thought can penetrate peoples’ brains, we can finally rid ourselves of the subsequent baby and wedding showers…

Photo Credit: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/baby-child/baby-shower-ideas-and-gifts