I find the whole idea of tipping at Christmas confusing and bad ass difficult to figure out. There are people who support my life that I really need to tip because if they didn’t like me, I would have to find someone else to do what they do so well. But there are those that you’re stuck having to tip.
Who do I tip and how much?
–HG, Miami, FL
- What does the service of a full time domestic, such as a nanny, personal caregiver, cook, butler, housekeeper, mean to you? It could be worth anywhere between a week and up to a month's salary, plus a small gift.
- Although, if you're just tipping because it is expected, apparently you can squeak by with a $50 holiday tip.
- When there is a long running history of care, loyalty and devotion, then $250 would be appropriate.
- Then factor in your location, because workers commuting in dense urban locations are apt to have a more lengthy and expensive commute.
- Homemade gifts, such as propagated plants, baked goods, or homemade jam, are charming and show your sincere appreciation when your budget doesn't provide for end of the year tipping.
- Already readily tipping your hairdresser, manicurist, masseuse/masseur, or trainer per service? Then your holiday tip doesn't have to be as generous.
- Mail carrier, paper deliverer, garbage collectors, etc., who may or may not be the same person every day or week.
- Doormen and building janitors are usually tipped once a year by the resident and not on a daily basis
About the current rules for holiday office parties.
With the winner of the Time magazine person of the year the collective of women who have spoken out and are still speaking out about sexual assault and harassment, I feel a certain chill has come over Christmastime merrymaking.
Meanwhile predators are speaking up in denial sending a huge mixed message that some can get away with it while others cannot. What should we know when attending a Christmas office party?
–AD, Hoboken, NJ
- dress appropriately, meaning dress festively.
- remember that the holiday party is ruled by the good manners of the office.
- have good hygiene, you're not off the grid.
- turn off your cellphone.
- keep track of your alcohol intake.
- behave in a professional manner at all times.
- keep the vibes convivial, it is not the time for petty grievances, revenge, gossip or political debate.
- never bring a plus-one, SO, or spouse unless the invitation specifies that you can bring a guest. Guests don't bring guests -- and remember even at an office party, you are a guest.
- be sure to wear your name tag on the right side, because it will be more visible.
- try to keep your glass in your left hand to allow your freed right hand to shake hands.
- remember that people will be watching and taking notes, which is why you keep your hands to yourself.
- before departing, thank your host.
- remember that you never want to be the last person standing.
- report any sexual assault to #MeToo or #BalanceTonPorc.
- miss the office party or arrive too late -- even if you have to pay a babysitter extra or miss finishing a report.
- grope, grab, slap on the back, kiss or hug, without saying, for instance, "Can I give you a hug?"
- talk and eat at the same time because food can go shooting out of your mouth.
- drink too much.
- discuss work matters, unless your boss asks you a direct question.
- make a fool of yourself.
- take a call, but you can look for messages and go outside the party to text or return the call.
- forget to thank the host.
- Holiday gatherings are taking a low-keyed turn toward focusing on team building such as volunteering to work on community projects.
- Others are limiting the amount of alcohol by providing no more than two tickets for alcohol cocktails.
#Me Too #BalanceTonPorc
–The Third Dad, Manhattan
- Stretch out your arm first to shake hands.
- If your step-son is sporting a smile, and is genuinely warm and happy to see you, try the less intimate half-hug (where you reach one arm around his shoulders, rather than both arms -- as though you're posing for a photo).
- Then there's the bro-hug that is especially quick and physically reserved. It's the hug that made Obama so popular.
- Whichever, don't linger. Let go.
- Let him know what to expect.
- Say something like this, "Your dad's been looking forward to your visit. He won't be back until late tonight, so we'll order pizza and hang out watching TV until he gets home. He'll be happy to see you."
- Don't ask him a lot of questions.
- Don't ask him to made any decisions aside from what he likes on his pizza.
- Make it clear that he and his dad will be sharing a room. Show him his room and suggest that he choose either bed.
- During the course of his visit, facilitate having father and son spending blocks of time together alone.
- Don't let the worst outcome be that your step-son becomes depressed. A morose fourteen-year-old is hard to get to know.
- If he touches his ears, he doesn't like what you're saying.
- If he places his hands near his eyes, he doesn't like what he's seeing.
- If his hands are on his forehead, nose or chin, he's either contemplating his life or wondering where to the find the cookies and milk.
–Elizabeth, West Hartford, CT
For approximately fifty dollars what should I give as a Secret Santa present to my administrative assistant, who also receives a Christmas bonus from the company?
–Lewis, Chicago, ILL
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Why does Prince Harry’s wife-to-be, Meghan Markle, have to curtsy to baby Princess Charlotte, Prince William’s daughter?
There is something wrong with that picture. Charlotte is like two-years-old. Shouldn’t Prince William or the queen give Meghan permission to treat the two-year-old as a toddler? Not good for the kid. No wonder the royals are so screwed up!
–SS, Raleigh, NC
- They're magnetic and very affectionate in public, unlike William and Kate on display after their engagement was announced. Meghan is charming, with a delightfully genuine smile. Leaning into him as she does she shows tender affection in her respect for him.
- The uncanny thing is the way Meghan shows great charm in public churning up memories of Princess Diana.
What can we do about our new neighbors who smoke? By the way, don’t they know smoking kills. They’re night birds that smoke out on our adjacent balconies late into the night! We can’t open our windows without smelling tobacco smoke.
–TY, West Pam Beach, FL
- On average, smoking kills 1,200 smokers every day.
- Every year, more people die from smoking than murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car accidents, and alcohol combined.
- Smoking causes heart disease, emphysema, acute myeloid leukemia, and cancer of the mouth, esophagus, larynx, lung, stomach, kidney, bladder, and pancreas.
- Smoking also causes reduced fertility, low birthweight in newborns, and cancer of the cervix.
–GD, Newport Beach, CA
My physics teacher treats me differently than the other girls. There are only three of us girls in the class. He embarrasses me when he favors me. Sometimes he puts his hand on my back, shoulder, arm or hand and it totally makes me feel really uncomfortable. It freaks me out. The other two girls giggle and tease me about him and that really annoys me.
It’s an advanced class and I cannot drop out half way through the year. What should I do? I have nobody to talk to.
- I want you to be very brave.
- It would be best to have a buddy who could hang out at the door and listen to you, but if that's not going to happen, be extra brave.
- Ask him to please stop touching you.
- Try to look him in the eye as you say, "Please don't annoy me because it is very awkward for me."
- Add, "You're the teacher, I'm the student. You're not supposed to be showing favoritism toward me in any way."
- Then walk out.
- This is not up for discussion.
As a guest, do I toast the hostess and host on behalf of our side of the family? We’re having a holiday dinner at the home of our daughter-in-law’s parents for the first time. I don’t know what’s expected.
Does it matter whether my wife gives the host or do I have to? Public speaking is not my thing and under pressure I’m apt to stutter.
–JW, Providence, RI
- Make your toast as brief as possible.
- Only a sentence or two is needed at a holiday dinner.
- Rehearse your two or three sentences in the mirror ahead of time.
- Make eye contact with those assembled but certainly don't stare at the same the person the whole time.
- Handle nerves and don't fiddle with the hand that isn't holding your glass.
- You don't have to be a storyteller. Give a natural toast that sounds as though you sincerely appreciate spending time with all who have come together to celebrate...
- The important thing about giving a toast is to look at her or him to reply in gratitude.
Hold the glass by the stem
while you make your toast.
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–RK, Newport, RI
- Leave it at that.
- No lies (the Plans could be that you hadn't really planned on having them to visit).
- If she asks why not? Say, "It is not a good time for us to have houseguests."
- Should she persist. say, "Xmas week is not a good time to visit."
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So I have the ring and I’m asking her parents for my girlfriend’s hand in marriage over the holidays. Mainly because it’s so awkward having to answer the same questions every year from her family about when we’re getting married and where would we like to get married, etc. The pressure is ridiculous, but we’ve so busy.
We want to get married and now that my girlfriend’s finishing up her dissertation, it seems like a sane time for the long-overdue engagement announcement. How can I make asking her fun?
- You want all the siblings and their families to find out at the same time.
- While trimming the tree Christmas eve, have her discover the ring as an ornament hanging from the tree.
- What could be more fun than ice skating at night? Skate out into the center of the rink and get down on your knee right there to propose to her. Hopefully, it will be gently snowing.
- Personally, I always thought being proposed to in the shower would be very sexy, but you wouldn't want the wrapped ring box soaking wet.
- Be creative, but don't get too cute -- too cute could be a turn off. It would be one thing if he was a pastry chef, another if his mother made the pie.
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I’ve never entertained for a major holiday and I think I’m in way over my head. Can you give me some tips on how to make my first foray a success?
–LB, Portland, OR
- Choosing the date: Better yet, say that you're thinking of one or two dates, and ask which would work best for them.
- Personalize your invitation to reflect the season, occasion, or place (location) where you're holding your party.
- Mix and match, invite a diversity of friends: Choose from varying ages and different backgrounds -- people whom you know from the most important arenas of your life.
- Delegate: They say they want to help, so let them bring appetizers, play bartend and bring a bag of ice, light the candles and/or fireplace, pass canapés, etc.
- Keep a list of who is doing or bringing what.
- Have backups: start bagging ice cubes into your freezer, stocking up on nuts, olives, and cheese and crackers to put out. If the friend who is bringing the appetizers is late, at least you'll have snacks for your guests.
- If you don't cook, investigate ahead of time where you can buy prepared foods, which you can always personalize with parsley and colorful garnish. Nobody cares if you've bought the gluten-free apple crisp because you're serving it with really good vanilla ice-cream.
- Don't experiment when hosting. Use your tried and true recipes.
- Clean out the fridge to make room for the turkey and trimmings. You need icepacks and a cooler to keep everything that needs to be kept cool. Such as wine, beer, the uncooked turkey.
- Cook the turkey or ham the day before.
- Set the dinner table and children's table (if you're having enough kids) ahead of time..
- Chill the wine and beer. Figure out if you need coolers.
- Ask someone else to make an appetizer.
- Encourage kids to be creative by making decorative place cards.
My question is about how to go about reporting sexual harassment at work.
How do I go about reporting sexual abuse at my office without getting fired or sidelined?
I feel so powerless as to how to handle this. If I report the incident to HR, everyone will know. I’ll be a pariah. People will stare at me and avoid me. I’ll feel so uncomfortable that I’ll probably quit.
- It's extremely important that you document the harassment in order to have an accurate record of exactly what is (or was) going on when and where.
- The app Blind lets employees at more than a hundred companies, including Facebook, Google, Uber, Airbnb and Amazon, sign up through their work email to chat about sexual harassment in a way that prevents the person from being specifically identified by name. Whether they are a victim or uncertain as to what is considered sexual harassment, or simply have witnessed it as a bystander, they have a voice.
- Additionally, the online how-to guide to handling sexual harassment at work called Betterbrave has had over 300,000 visits since its launch last summer. It's an excellent resource providing, tools, and employment lawyers to targets, whether you have a fear of retaliation or distrust HR.
Accepting A Compliment