Expressing Gratitude | Meredith Sweetpea


Growing up, I don’t remember being forced to write thank you notes, but I did anyway. Now, as an adult, Miss Meredith Sweetpea finds that it is more important than ever to graciously express gratitude.

Showing that you are grateful for something you’ve received, or a kindness or gift someone has bestowed upon you, can often be a several-step process.

Say Thank You

First, say “thank you” immediately upon receiving a gift. I have unfortunately witnessed people who, upon receiving a gift, state, “Thanks, but I don’t need this or want this. You’ll have to take it back.” Instead, they should have graciously accepted the gift for the gesture for which it was intended–to honor the recipient, perhaps for a birthday, holiday or special occasion. Simply said, a heartfelt “thank you” will honor the giver who took their time and effort to arrange a special treat just for you. You can always do with the gift what you want later on (donate it or regift it if you don’t want it, or use it or display it proudly.)

Send a Handwritten Note

A handwritten note does NOT mean an email or text–yes, even in today’s electronic times. It means writing words of gratitude on a piece of paper or card and putting it into an envelope that is mailed to the giver’s address, preferably their home address. I recently heard from someone who received a handwritten thank you note who said, “I was so surprised to receive a real letter in the mail. I so rarely get anything that’s not a bill or a solicitation anymore. It was so exciting!” This little gesture can mean so much to the person who took the time to arrange for your gift or service, and is a reminder they will often keep, display, and read again and again.

Tell Others

Spread even more love by telling the recipient later on how much you’re enjoying the gift and how you are using it. Also, glowingly tell others about the gift you received. Even if the gift-giver never hears you telling others, the pleasure you feel from recounting how you received this gift will bring you renewed joy each time you tell it.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Television personality and media mogul Oprah Winfrey swears that her gratitude journal has changed her outlook on life. Writing in it each evening, she recaps the things that happened during her day for which she is grateful. Singer/songwriter Willie Nelson said, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”

Keep your own gratitude journal and list at least 3 things each evening. At first, you may find it a struggle to find things to write. It is OK to put down things like, “I’m grateful because I felt energized today,” or “I’m grateful to receive a paycheck today.”

As time passes, you will start to notice more and more little things, and you will actually begin to change your mindset from feeling overwhelmed by life’s daily challenges to recognizing life’s little joys. Your entries might change to, “I’m grateful for the bird song I heard when I awoke this morning,” or “I’m grateful that the clerk at the grocery store complimented me on my new necklace.” Be open to whatever highlight enters your consciousness, from world events to the tiniest little spark in your daily life. Make these points the grace notes to the symphony of your day.

Why Should I Wear a Fascinator on the Right?


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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wears a fascinator.

A number of kind readers have been asking Miss Meredith Sweetpea lately why a fascinator is traditionally worn on the right-hand side of the head.

The custom runs far back into history to when women were generally accompanied by men when they walked down the street. Women of any stature would rarely have occasion to walk alone; she was escorted by her husband, or if single, her father or brother. And of course, both men and women always wore a hat whenever outdoors.

Wearing the Fascinator on the Right Made Perfect Sense

Men traditionally carried their weapon, such as a sword, on their left-hand side, so it made sense that when walking with a woman (when armed), she walk on his right-hand side. Even when men no longer carried swords, the tradition of putting the women on a man’s right continued.

Catherine-Duchess-of-Cambridge-wears-fascinator-on-right

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wears her fascinator on the right.

Another reason to put the women on a man’s right was to position the man between the woman and the street to help protect her fine skirts from becoming splashed by passing carriages or horses traversing the often-muddy roadways.

Therefore, in order to have conversation when walking down the street, a women would tilt her hat to the right to offer a better view of her face to her companion. This also prettily framed her face perfectly for flirting, which only added to her fascination. The pert angle of the hat took on the name “fascinator.”

Today’s milliners often design a fascinator to sit on the right-hand side, in keeping with tradition. But many fascinators are made to suit either side of the face, or to be worn in the center of the head at a slightly forward angle toward. Some people even prefer to wear their fascinator to cover the part in their hair, believing it more attractive worn that way.

There is no hard-and-fast rule about which side is the correct side to wear a fascinator. It is simply up to you to choose.

Woman are Always Right

The tradition of having the women walk on the inside of the man on the street carries on today with polite men and women. Remember the catchphrase, “Women are always right” and it will be easy to remember.

Read More About Fascinators

For more information about fascinators, read our other posts:

Find Your Perfect Fascinator

  • Do you have a fascinator? Browse more than a thousand darling Fascinators! You might just find one that’s perfect for your look.

 

How to Signal to the Waitstaff That You are Done Eating


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Fork and knife placement signaling the end of the meal – American style.

Miss Meredith Sweetpea had the rare pleasure of dining out this past weekend with a dear friend. We went to a local Italian restaurant, of the mid-range variety, nothing fancy.

This friend had plenty to talk about, and we were settling into a wonderful conversation as the courses began to arrive, but began to become annoyed by the constant interruption of the server. It seemed whenever we paused and put down our forks, and even while we were eating,  someone came over to grab the plate away–even though we obviously were not finished.

At first, the servers reached down to grab the plates and began to remove them without asking. We had to grab our plates back as they swooped past. After a few times of this, they at least began to ask if we were done yet. In addition, at two times, the managers stopped by our table to see how things were going. They too, grabbed at our plates.

At first, we laughed about the constant interruptions. Then they began to irritate us. What then should have been an enjoyable time out together, was spoiled. We took the rest of our meals to go. Continue reading

The Real Test of Good Manners | Meredith Sweetpea | Manners Quotes


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“The real test of good manners is to be able to put up with bad manners pleasantly.”

–Khalil Gibran

Socially Speaking about Politics


talking-politicsHere in America you can’t get away from talk about politics. It’s everywhere: on the media, in the workplace, and around the dinner table. 2016 is a highly-charged election year.

All this talk about politics, however, leads Miss Meredith Sweetpea to consider the social rule that politics is one of those subjects not to be discussed in polite social conversation. So how do we talk about it…if we must? Here are several rules to keep in mind:

  1. Keep the conversation light. Don’t get into heavy discussions about whose opinion is right or wrong, or let the conversation escalate into a confrontation.
  2. Respect other people’s opinions. People look at issues through their own backgrounds, experiences and filters, which are always different than your own. Listen respectfully to their opinions and ask why they feel the way they do. It is always enlightening to hear how differently others view the same situations.
  3. Don’t accuse anyone. Just because you are adamant about your own viewpoint doesn’t mean that other people’s views are wrong. Don’t tell them they should feel or think (or vote) the way you do. They are allowed their own choices.
  4. Change the subject. If you are engaging in a lovely dinner party and talk of politics arises, politely change the subject to something more pleasant, like the taste of the butternut squash soup.

In years like this, you simply cannot avoid talking about politics. What you can do is control how and when you do.

 

 

Show Your Patriotism Through Proper Etiquette


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Statue of Francis Scott Key at Fort McHenry

Patriotism is defined by Wikipedia as the “emotional attachment to a nation which an individual recognizes as their homeland.” It can also indicate one’s love, support and defense of one’s country, and loyalty to it.

In the United States, certain rules of etiquette apply to patriotism, namely in respect to the National Flag and the Star Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. As examples, the Flag Code, adopted in 1923, stated that people who are not current members of the Armed Forces or veterans to face the flag with their right hands over their heart, and current Olympic recommendations state that military personnel should salute the flag and maintain that posture throughout the playing of the National Anthem.

Most of us, including Miss Meredith Sweetpea, learned about patriotism and its etiquette in grammar school. But it is always good to have a reminder.

United States Patriotism Etiquette

  1. Everyone (old and young) should stand and remain standing during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.
  2. One should not chew gum, smoke or eat during the singing or playing of the National Anthem.
  3. Continue reading

How to Be a Gracious Holiday Guest | Meredith Sweetpea | Manners & Etiquette


holiday-party-guestsNow that the holidays are upon us and we’re invited to many festive occasions, it is good to remember that even during this time of revelry that manners matter.  It behooves you to be a good guest, whether you are attending a social function or a business one.  Here are some tips that will make you a favorite guest.

Get there on time

It is not fashionable to be late for a holiday party, no matter what you’ve heard. Respect your host and their schedule by arriving at the designated hour.

RSVP

Upon receiving an invitation, respond with your answer on whether or not you will attend. The host needs a correct count in order to provide the appropriate refreshments and accommodations. If later you cannot attend, please contact your host as soon as you know and apologize that you cannot attend. It is not necessary to explain why.

Dress appropriately

The holiday party is generally a bit fancier than usual, however, your invitation should indicate if there is a particular dress code (black tie, costume, etc.). In any case, make an effort to look festive. Put on your holiday sweater, glittery jacket, or holiday tie. It’s a holiday celebration!

Enjoy what your host has planned

Many hosts and hostesses create themes, or include games or requests of their guests. Play along rather than sit in the corner. It will be fun and you’ll add to the festive spirit for both yourself and the group.

Don’t bring uninvited guests

Most hostesses carefully plan who will attend their events and your invitation should indicate whether you are invited individually or you are allowed to bring a guest (or plus one). It is permissible to ask the hostess’s permission to bring a guest if one is not specifically indicated, but abide by her ruling.

Bring a gift

It is good manners not to arrive empty-handed. However, don’t expect your host or hostess to use your gift at the party. They have planned the menu and wine list. Make the gift something they can set aside for their own use later on.  Fancy chocolates, a flowering plant or a handmade item make appropriate gifts.

Miss Meredith Sweetpea loves holiday parties. It’s the time to share with friends, look back on the year that was, and build excitement for the new year to come.

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