Answering the important holiday etiquette questions

The holidays are filled with happiness, cheer and sometimes complications, but there are important questions that need to be answered: Should I go to the office Christmas party? Do I need to buy my co-worker a gift? Etiquette expert, "Mister Manners" himself Thomas Farley has a few tips on what to do.

Do I have to go to my office Christmas party?

We definitely had a break or respite the last few years because of the pandemic from the dreaded office holiday party this year, but they are definitely back. And with this time off, our social skills are definitely going to be a little bit rusty. But my number one tip for anybody who has an office holiday party, please GO (and) Don't skip the party, you're going to be seen as a non-team player if you are a no show for your office holiday party. Doesn't mean you have to be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave, put in your face time, see the powers that be, have your team see you, and then you can make an exit.

Do I have to get my co-worker a gift?

Here's the interesting thing, although people may feel obligated to buy a present for their boss, unless this is an annual habit that, you all are in the groove of doing. The only gift giving that really typically should happen in an office setting is that the boss especially if the boss (of) a small team should be getting some sort of gift for the team members on their team, not the other way around. So you are not currying favor with your boss by buying them a wonderful present.

What about tipping this year with inflation concerns?

We're all dealing with the stress of inflation right now. Everything's costing more money. If you have it within your means, and you may not, but if you have it within your means, I highly recommend that wherever you traditionally tip the service workers in your life. So, we're talking the nanny dog walker, the hairstylist, the doorman, if you have a doorman in your building, whatever you've traditionally tipped them, you're going to add the rate of inflation on top of what you gave last year or in previous years. Now, if you don't have that means, that's OK too. But it doesn't simply mean that you duck those individuals for the next three months, because you're too embarrassed to face them because you're not hitting them. Rather, I would have a face to face conversation with them, I would still give them a card where you express your gratitude. Give them a small token of gifts, a baked item, or a pair of gloves, something that shows at least the appreciation, and I would explain to them this does not at all represent my feelings about the service you've delivered to me all year. Finances are really tight for me. I'm hoping for better times next year. In the meantime, this is a thank you, I'd like to give you.

How about re-gifting?

I'm a fan of r- gifting as long as it's done not as an act of desperation or cheapness but rather that you're doing it strategically and thoughtfully. So, you're not going to re-gift something within the same gifting circle where the person who gave it to you is going to see someone else opening it as if it was coming from you. You're going to make sure you rewrap it with fresh brand new. And you definitely want to make sure that this gift doesn't have any backstory that you can't rightfully own. So, if this is some beautiful souvenir your friend brought you from their trip to Peru, and you've never been to Peru, you don't want to be giving this gift as if you have because you don't own that backstory. But as long as you're giving it to someone that you think will appreciate it immensely more than you do that it's more suitable for them than it was for you, then I think re-gifting is a great way to go.