Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Vistor's Guide

Guide To Welcome Christmas Visits

I thought I'd write up a list of suggestions which I feel would help everyone around the holidays. This list of suggestions is the result of years of experience of either having visitors over for the holidays, or in being a visitor myself. So here goes - JeromeProphet's Christmas Visitor's Guide.

Call Ahead - preferably earlier rather than later. Calling up at the last moment or actually showing up on someone's door unannounced is a really big no-no. Show your host some common courtesy around the holidays. Christmas can be a stressful and demanding day, and showing up unexpectedly can create havoc.

Stay Polite - If you're visiting try not to make smart remarks about your host's Christmas tree, or holiday decorations. Try not to make jokes at the expense of your host either. Don't turn your visit into a sit down comedy routine, or a "roast the host" event - it leaves a bad and lasting impression. Your host may smile and laugh at your snide remarks, but probably only out of politeness.

Reciprocity - Ask yourself if you ever invite your host over for the holidays. If you don't then there's probably an issue that your host is painfully aware of too.

Be Honest - If you find yourself feeling like you have to visit, then don't. Your host will know if you really don't want to be there. Breezing in, and out of a visit just for politeness sake is both apparent, and insulting.

Don't Be A Pig - Leave some food for your host after you leave. Just because they offer you the tray doesn't mean you have to empty it.

Don't Be A Drunk - This applies for how you show up, and how you leave. Don't show up at your host's door drunk, or even tipsy, And don't stumble out drunk either. If you're inebriated then you're more likely to be rude - no matter how funny you think you are. And if leave drunk you probably overstayed your visit, and probably broke every rule in this list I've prepared. Additionally, drinking and driving is against the law.

Don't Overstay Your Visit - Around the holidays your host probably has many places to go, people to see, and things to do - it can't all be about you. Remember that your host might have attended church the night before, or woke up early to open presents.

Keep Your Promises - If you say you'll visit then do. Sneaking into town, and visiting one friend and not another usually gets around - and if you promised a visit and blow it off under such conditions - it makes you look discourteous and contemptible - a big no-no around the holidays.

Be Consistent - Don't "play friends" up until November each year only to find yourself looking for a way to get a good feud started so as to eek out yet another year without having to do an invite for the holidays. Sure by February you'll be on "good" terms with your "friend" again, but after a few years it become painfully obvious what the truth of the relationship is. This includes the "Holiday Disappearance Act". If you're in touch with a "friend" ten months out of the year, but find yourself just "too busy" to send an invite, or to return that RSVP - it's obvious - there's a problem.

Holidays create false expectations and demands for how people are supposed to act. After watching hundreds of hours of holiday programs, and holiday commercials, most people feel that at the very least they are required to visit, or take on visitors. This ritual, while intended to reaffirm familial bonds and ties of friendship can create stress, and sometimes do more harm to relationships than good.

How do you tell an old and beloved "friend" that he's obnoxious and you use him only because you're bored, or tell your neighbor that he's a loudmouth drunk at parties, or tell an Uncle that you don't like him because he fondled your cousin? How do you tell your "old buddy" that he's below you socially, and that your old friendship now makes you look bad in front of your wife, and new friends? How do you confess that your husband can't stand her husband? How do you explain that you feel disgusted that your friend has gained weight, and that you're ashamed of him? How do you tell the truth about the way you feel, when you feel guilty about how you feel - especially during the holidays?

Relationships which may have hung by a thread for decades can be put into danger due to the expectation that those relationships be more than they'll ever be.

The bit tongue, the tense smile, the rushed glass of wine may work well in the short run, but without some rules guiding how hosts and visitors should behave feelings can get hurt, and territory can be invaded leading to regrets.

The key to JeromeProphet's Christmas Visit Rules is politeness. The Golden Rule is at the heart of politeness. When hosting and visiting for the holidays ask how you would want to be treated if you were in the other guy's shoes? Would you want someone to show up announced? Would you want someone to make snide remarks at your expense in your own living room? The answers are obvious.

Being a good host or visitor is all about respect. If you don't have it, then don't try and fake it.

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