Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Holiday dinners


Cynthia, I was wondering, when inviting people or relatives over for Thanksgiving or Christmas, when should you extend the invite.
I have a complicated family but I just to invited 8 days prior to the holiday. I feel this is a last minute invite. Am I wrong to think this? My husband and I felt like we were not going to be invited to any family gathering so made plans with some friends. Now the invite came and I don't feel as though we can go with family because of the alternate plans.
Thank you

Dear Lisa:
Invitations for special occasions should be made three or more weeks ahead of the event. However, your relatives who invited you to Thanksgiving dinner may not have made decisions about hosting until late so the invitation was offered much closer to the date.  That excuse aside, if you have already made plans with friends, you should be polite and keep those plans.  Your friends are counting on you to be with them.  

The only invitations you can control are the ones you extend to others.  

I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner - I am sure you will since you will be with people who are happy for your company and that is something to be truly thankful for in celebration of the day.

Additionally, regarding Christmas celebrations in a few weeks, you may want to reach out to a close relative and ask if the family will be celebrating together in some manner or consider hosting a celebration at your home.  This way you can make plans earlier to be together if that is what you want.  Just don't ask for an invitation - that would be rude.  Just say that you are making plans for you and your husband.

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Cynthia W. Lett


Proper manners with friends,family,colleagues,neighbors and everyone else you know.


I have been an etiquette expert teaching and consulting on the subject worldwide since 1983. I started and serve as the Executive Director of the International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals and am considered a leader in the field of etiquette and protocol training and execution. I edited "Etiquette for Dummies" and have recently written "Lett's Talk - Everyday Etiquette Dilemmas and What to Do about Them". My book, "That's So Annoying:An Etiquette Expert on the World's Most Irritating Habits And What To Do About Them" was published in 2009 and is available wherever books are sold. I taught the Business Protocol class to Master's level students at the George Washington University, Washington, DC for seven years I served as Chief of Protocol for MCI Telecommunications for three years.

International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals, ASTD, PCMA, National Speakers Association

I have been quoted over 700 times in the past 5 years worldwide. Publications include Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, NY Times, Washington Business Journal, USA Today, Associated Press, London Times, Newsweek Japan edition, Newsweek US edition and many many more.

I am a Certified Etiquette Professional (CEP) and Certified Protocol Professional (CPP) earned by examination through ISPEP. I have a Master's degree in hospitality law and undergrad degrees in Restaurant & Hotel Management and Public Relations/Interpersonal Communications from Purdue University.

Awards and Honors
Who's Who Worldwide,Who's Who of American Women, Distinguished Darden Professor (Purdue University).

Past/Present Clients
World Bank, United Nations,US Dept. of State, US. Dept. of the Army, Pentagon, Barclays Global Investors,Accenture,Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, The White House, Dept. of State, AT&T,Bank of America,American Association of Clinical Pharmacies,Ritz Carlton Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels,Starwood Hotels,and many more.

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