A Chance of Showers: Baby Showers and who can organize them

Q: Is it okay for my sister to throw me a baby shower? My mother insists that it is tacky for a relative to throw the party (it looks like the family is asking for gifts), but my sister and I both think this is an out-dated notion. My sister has asked around and all of her friends agree that it’s a common practice for sisters to throw a shower. Who is right?

A: Traditionally, close friends, cousins, aunts, sisters-in-law, or coworkers of the mother-to-be hosted baby showers.  Because gifts are central to showers, hosting as a member of the honoree’s (or husband’s) immediate family appeared self-serving.  But times have changed, and today it is appropriate for anyone to host a baby shower as long as there’s a legitimate reason.  For example, some parents-to-be live far from their hometowns, and their mothers and siblings may want to host a shower so that longtime friends can attend.

The Shoes stop here: How to accept the ‘no shoes’ policy

Q. I was recently in the home of close friends who announced they were going to start the ‘no shoes allowed in the home’ rule soon. I was surprised and commented ‘you aren’t serious, are you?’ They indeed are. I have always considered that rule to be downright rude and believe it communicates to the guest that the homeowners possessions are more important than they. I do not think it is hospitable. It’s their home so I guess they can do what they wish, but is there any way I can communicate my opinion without being rude? Is it rude to choose not to comply?

A. In some cultures it would be rude not to take off your shoes when entering a home.  Your friends may have very good reasons for deciding no more shoes.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that they consider their possessions more important than their friends.  It is their home and they do have the right to make rules concerning it; so next time you visit take along a pair of slipper socks and enjoy yourself.

Fork it Over! The Two different ways to hold utensils and silver ware

Q: My husband is right-handed. After he cuts his food, he picks up his food with his left hand because his fork is already in that hand. I always thought it was proper to change your fork into your right hand after cutting each piece. Please help-

A: There are two ways of holding and using utensils, the Continental style, and American style. American style is where the knife is held in the right hand to cut, with the fork in the left hand holding the food being cut. The knife is then put down and the fork is transferred to the right hand. The bite of food is put on the fork which is raised to the mouth, tines up. Continental style is where the knife continues to be held in the right hand, and the fork is raised to the mouth in the left hand, tines down, as it was held to cut the food.

Proper Traveler: How to Show Respect during National Anthems

Q. I’m planning to visit Russia next spring and may attend an event where the Russian national anthem might be played. What is the proper etiquette for a foreigner in such a situation? I certainly don’t want to offend anyone, but I am an American.

A. The etiquette would be similar to that of a foreigner in this country: While the anthem is being played, you should remove any sport cap and stand respectfully. You could also check with the local American Embassy for further information.

Double the Tax, Carry the 3: Holiday Tipping Etiquette

Etiquette BitesTM are quick video tips on Etiquette, Lifestyle, and Relationships from The Emily Post Institute. Each bite features a Post family author offering words of advice in their area of expertise. In two minutes or less, Etiquette Bites provide the knowledge you need to mind your manners in a variety of everyday situations.

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In this bite, etiquette expert Peter Post talks holiday tipping etiquette: who to tip and how much.

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