Diane Gottsman: Holiday Etiquette

Whether you are invited to a party with family and friends or are welcoming them into your home for the holidays, these tips will ensure everyone feels appreciated this celebratory season. Our etiquette expert Diane Gottsman lets us in on her dos and don’ts of a Holiday Stay.


There really is no place like home for the holidays. If you are entertaining holiday houseguests, create an inviting guest room. Fill the space with practical conveniences and luxurious features to ensure you have provided all the essentials and more.

Start with basics like clean linens, comfortable pillows, and fresh blankets. Beautiful, fluffy towels in the guest bath also add a welcome touch, along with a tray or a basket of toiletries, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, body and face wash, and unscented lotion.

Focus on ambience for a cozy space where your guests can truly relax. Fresh flowers or holiday greenery and thoughtful amenities like a basket with an assortment of updated magazines, healthy snacks, and freshly baked cookies add lovely touches. 

Few things feel as decadent as a hot, steaming cup of gourmet coffee, cocoa, or Chai tea. A good host knows the importance of a fully stocked shelf of coffee, creamer, sweeteners, and pretty mugs and spoons. A comfortable chair, a reading light, and a small table near a window provide a pleasant place to enjoy a warm drink, read a magazine, and cover up with a blanket while looking out at the surroundings.Diane-Blog

Dos and Don’ts of a Holiday Stay

Do unplug from technology during family time and holiday visits. Disconnecting for even a short period, during mealtime or while playing a board game, will allow you to reconnect without added distractions.

Don’t overschedule. Plan some downtime where you can truly unwind. Whether you are a host or a guest, this relieves the pressure of nonstop entertainment.

Do let the little things roll right off your back. Anticipate that a nosy relative might once again ask you about a touchy subject. Be prepared with a friendly response. Remember that the annual holiday visit is not the time to have a heated debate.

Don’t forget to include the children. It’s easy for the adults to get caught up in conversation, so make an effort to work everyone into the dialogue when you’re all together.

Do enjoy the holidays. The best gift you can give yourself and your family is time. Shop early, stay up late, enjoy old movies, visit with family and good friends, and make some new holiday memories.

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette and modern manners expert, television personality, accomplished speaker, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Dianes timely advice has been featured on several national television shows such as The Today ShowHLN Headline News, and CBS Sunday Morning. She is a Huffington Post blogger, and her own popular blog, dianegottsman.com, was named by Forbes as one of “The 100 Best Websites for Women, 2013.”