This year, why not give yourself a gift – the gift of sanity! How? By minding your manners. According to etiquette expert Peggy Post, knowing how to respond to certain holiday scenarios with grace and tact can help keep your social stress to a minimum. Here’s what she suggests, courtesy of Woman’s Day magazine.

  • You invite relatives to stay with you, and they ask to bring their dog. Post says - speak up if you’d rather not have the animal at your place. Tell your guests, “We’re so glad you’re coming and we have a wonderful kennel nearby.” If there’s no kennel, look into boarding options at your local vet. Chances are they’ll leave their pet at home, rather than bring it along just to house it someplace else. Now, Post says if it’s your mom’s beloved dog that she takes everywhere, you probably shouldn’t object. Letting her bring her dog along may simply be the cost of keeping the peace.
  • Next holiday scenario: You go out to dinner, your guests order triple what you do – and want to split the bill. Post says to ask the server to split up the check. Tell your guests, “Thank you, but I insist on paying for my own meal.” The reality is – you can’t support other people’s eating and drinking, and you shouldn’t be expected to, or feel awkward about declining their suggestion.
  • You prefer to let only certain out-of-town family members crash at your home. Post says you need to have a logical cutoff, so decide who you’d rather not have stay over, and find a discreet way to send them elsewhere. For example, if your brother always launches into heavy political discussions, tell the family that you can only host mom and dad this year. If your mother tends to nit-pick your home, tell your parents that you’ve already agreed to host your sister and her husband. Have some nice, reasonably priced hotels picked out that you can suggest to them. There is one exception. Post says if someone in your family can’t afford a hotel, invite them to stay with you regardless. Even if they’re annoying, this act of kindness will go a lot farther in keeping the peace.