Holiday Etiquette Tips

Posted on Dec 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

Holiday Etiquette Tips

tipping_uber The holiday season is upon us, so below are the top 5 holiday etiquette tips.

  1. 1.  Tipping Etiquette
  • Prioritize your most important service providers. Give to those people who really make your life easier and better like, for example, your trusted babysitter, the house keeper, and the kids’ bus driver.
  • Handmade gifts or treats. If you cannot afford to give everyone a monetary gift, a plate full of holiday cookies or candy is a low-cost way to express your appreciation.
  • A note should accompany any tip. Your message doesn’t have to be elaborate, but should include a couple of sentences thanking the person for his or her good work and wishing them a happy holiday.

2. Gifting Etiquette

  • Send thank-you note. Ensure that if you (or your children) receive a gift in the mail that you/they promptly send a hand-written thank you note to tell the person (a) that you received it, and (b) that you truly enjoy and appreciate the gift.
  • Set family expectations up-front. Talk to your family about who will be buying what for whom this holiday season. Some families only buy gifts for the children, some keep gifts below a certain dollar value, others pick names from a hat. Whatever your family does decide before it’s too late and someone’s feelings get hurt and a family “issue” develops.


3.  Airplane Etiquette

  • Keep your voice down. Don’t talk too loudly in public spaces like the waiting area or in the plane. Also, keep the volume of your headphones down so your seatmate can’t also hear the music.
  • Don’t take up more space than you really need. Like in the airport terminal, don’t lay your stuff all over while others have no room to sit.

4.  Dining Etiquette

  • Know hosting responsibilities. If you’re hosting a meal, you may ask people to not bring their cell phone to the table. If you typically pray before a meal, but not sure if your guests do, you may still ask people to pray with you as it’s your home. If you’re in someone else’s house, you would just pray silently and not ask your host to pray if that is not something they usually do.
  • Know your table manners. Pass food to the right. Pass salt and pepper together. Put napkin in your lap. No elbows or arms should rest on the table. Either use continental style of eating or American, but not both. Make conversation with those seated to your right, left and across from you.

5.  Show Gratitude

  • Help others. Find a way as a family to help others in need during the holiday season. Donate toys, food, or give money to a charity as a gift to someone. Every family member can do something to help someone else during the holiday season.

Hope these holiday etiquette tips will help you reduce some of the stress the holidays can bring.

Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays,


Tipping Etiquette – Tips to Show Gratitude

Posted on Nov 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Tipping Etiquette

Tipping Etiquette

A Consumer Reports holiday tipping poll finds that fewer than 1 in 4 of us pony up for a monetary thank-you to our mail carrier, lawn crew or garbage collector. However, the holiday season is the time to show our appreciation to the service people who make our life better.

Click HERE to watch this great and quick WCNC News segment on Tipping Etiquette!

Below is some holiday etiquette tipping advice from etiquette expert, Aimee Symington, of Davidson.

  • Prioritize your most important service providers. If someone’s work makes your life dramatically better, that person should be at the top of your holiday tipping list. The trusted housecleaner, the hairdresser who fits you in at the last minute and the baby sitter who always does a great job tending your kids should get more of your holiday tipping resources than service providers you use infrequently.
  • Don’t skimp on your employees. If you have household workers, such as a nanny, a housekeeper or a caretaker for an elderly relative, the holiday bonus is often considered part of the employee’s compensation.
  • It’s OK to consider need. The lower-paid the worker, the more holiday tips are likely to be appreciated — and the bigger impact your gift can have. Your tip to a manicurist or gardener may be a bigger deal than the same-sized token to a package-delivery person.
  • If you tip generously all year, you can skimp a bit. A smaller tip or a modest gift at the holidays is fine.
  • A note should accompany any tip. Your message doesn’t have to be elaborate, but should include a couple of sentences thanking the person for his or her good work and wishing a happy holiday.
  • Handmade gifts or treats. If you cannot afford to give everyone a monetary gift, a plate full of holiday cookies or candy is a low-cost way to express your appreciation.

Below are rough guidelines and tipping etiquette standards you can adapt to your budget and local custom:

Recipient Guideline
Babysitter One evening’s pay, plus a gift from your child
Barber Cost of one haircut
Beauty salon staff Half the cost of one haircut
Bus Driver $10 individual or more for collective gift from group
Day care provider A gift from you, or $25 to $70, plus a gift from your child
Dog walker Up to one week’s pay or a gift
Garage attendants $10 to $30 or a small gift
Gardeners $20 to $50 each
Handyman $15 to $40
Housekeeper Up to one week’s pay and/or a small gift
Live-in help One week to one month’s pay, plus a gift from you
Mail carrier Gift worth less than $20; no cash, check or gift cards
Massage therapist Up to the cost of one session or a gift
Nanny or au pair One week’s pay, plus a gift from your child
Newspaper deliverer $10 to $30 or a small gift
Package deliverer Small gift in the $10-$20 range
Personal trainer Up to the cost of one session or a gift
Personal caregiver One week to one month’s salary or a gift
Pet groomer Up to the cost of one session or a gift
Teachers A small gift or note from you, plus a small gift from your child
Trash collectors $10 – $30 each


Cotillion in Charlotte for 5th and 6th Graders

Posted on Nov 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

cotillion in charlotte



Teaching children to have self-confidence in social situations, to show respect and kindness to others when in person and online, and to have nice table manners is essential, but let’s face it, teaching these life skills isn’t easy!

Impressions: The Modern Cotillion for a New Generation is a new interactive cotillion in Charlotte area that teaches children all of the etiquette, manners, and social skills they need to know, without all of the “old-fashioned” stuff that’s  outdated in today’s modern and digital world.

Through the use of multi-media, games, groups activities and a class party, 5th and 6th graders will learn how to:

  • Have confident greeting and conversation skills
  • Set the table and have polite table manners
  • Be a polite host and guest, and a good friend
  • Have nice manners and respect when using a cell phone & social media
  • Dance the Shag and Waltz

The final cotillion in Charlotte will culminate in a party with parents attending to dance with their son/daughter.


CLASSES: Every child will attend all three classes.

DATES: February 25, March 4, and March 11 of 2018. The sign-up only says February 25th, but you will be signing up for all THREE classes.

TIME: The 5th grade class will be held from 1:00 – 2:45. The 6th grade class will be held from 3:30 – 5:15.

COST: The price is $180 per person to be paid upon registration by Pay Pal or credit card. Cancellation with refund will only be given before January 25th.

LOCATION: At the Sweet Magnolia Estate located at 10101 Bailey Road, Cornelius, NC 28031.

ATTIRE: The first two classes are “dressy casual” which means no t-shirts, running shoes, or   shorts.  The class on March 1th will be formal for the dance party. Boys should wear a jacket, button down shirt, tie and dress pants. Girls should wear a dress or skirt/blouse.

PROVIDED: Each participant will receive a comprehensive binder of information to use and keep, handouts, prizes, snacks and beverages for all classes.

CLASS SIZE: Each class will be limited to 20 girls and 20 boys. Classes will fill up quickly so please register early.

INSTRUCTOR: The cotillion in Charlotte area is taught by Aimee Symington, CEO of Finesse Worldwide, international etiquette expert, creator of nationally-selling Blunders® board game and products, NBC and Fox News manners’ expert, blogger, and national magazine contributor.

Enroll your children today and empower them with the knowledge and ability to make the right choices in social settings now and in the future.

Questions? Email or call Aimee Symington at or 704-564-6502 if you have questions about the cotillion in Charlotte.


Civility. Learn Fundamentals to Make More Money and Earn More Respect

Posted on May 18, 2017 in Uncategorized



Do you take the time to smile at people when you pass them in the hall, and say “hello” to those you work with? Do you show respect and kindness in all of your personal and online interactions?

If you do that’s wonderful, but unfortunately, it’s rare. According to the 2016 Civility Survey, 95 percent of people think we have a civility problem in America.

It’s also disheartening to know that 40 percent of people think that “nice guys finish last”, and that they can’t be nice if they want others to respect them. This can’t be more wrong! In fact, being uncivil to others costs you status, power, and advancement, and when you show kindness and respect, you are viewed as being a better leader and more competent at your job.

In Christine Porath’s new book, “Mastering Civility,” she shares groundbreaking research that proves the unwavering connection between having the ability to lift people up (being civil and polite to others) to being personally more successful and increasing corporate profits.

The fundamentals of civility and having polite etiquette are simple, and easy to pass along to our children.


People will be more inclined to trust you, follow you, and support you when you use the “magic words.”


Use it to build rapport, put people at ease, and inspire others. We appear more likable and courteous and are perceived as more competent when we smile. It also has the power to make others more effective.


The Center for Creative Leadership found that the most successful executives have positive relationships with their subordinates. Reach out to people and get to know those whom you work with, those on your floor, the security guard, and others whom you see everyday. Remember that your children are watching your interactions.

LISTNIt signals caring, commitment and connection. We don’t connect by passively hearing. Make eye contact. Ask clarifying questions. Don’t text or be online when talking with others in person. And listen to your children. Take time to put down your phone or tablet when they have questions and want to talk.

“Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” – Michael Jordan

Civility Isn’t Just for the Workplace

It’s also critical that we raise polite and respectful children. One of the most effective ways to do this is to role model for our children how to behave in a civil and polite way.

Not being rude isn’t the same as being civil.

Let’s say you see an elderly person putting groceries in her car. Not being rude is that you would not say something mean to her. But, being civil and a great role model for your kids, would be to ask if you could help her load the bags into her car. It’s things you can do in simple ways to show others respect and kindness.

Also, after teaching your children how to show respect and kindness to adults and peers, recognize and praise them when they do something well.

For more information about business and social etiquette please go to my website

Graduation Etiquette for Grads and Friends

Posted on Apr 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Graduation Etiquette

Graduation etiquette






If you have a high school or college graduate, or you have been invited to a graduation ceremony or party, here are some graduation etiquette tips to help you make your best impression.

Q – When and to whom do you send graduation invitations?

  • The graduate should give those to the closest family members as soon as possible (3-4 weeks for in-town guests and 6 weeks for out of town guests).
  • If you receive a graduation invitation, you should RSVP immediately so the graduate can give the invitation to someone else.
  • Also, if you receive an invitation, you should still send a gift even if you can’t make it to the ceremony or party.

Q – When and to whom do you send a graduation announcement?

  • These may be sent before the graduation, but it is even better to send them after the graduation.
  • Those receiving an announcement are not obligated to send a gift, but it is nice to at least send a card congratulating the graduate.

Q – When and to whom do you send a graduation party invitation?

  • Send the party invitation 3-4 weeks for those in-town, and 6 weeks for guests from out of town.
  • A formal paper invitation is best for this formal occasion, but if money is an issue, you may use an electronic invitation instead where people even RSVP online.

Q: How much should you spend on a graduation gift?

  • Spend or give what you feel comfortable giving. It will also depend on how close you are to the graduate as you will want to give more for a family member or close friend.
  • For a high school graduation gift you would give a minimum of $25 and for college $50 would be the minimum.
  • Buy gift applicable to what they will be doing after graduation.

Q – How should I behave during the graduation ceremony?

  • Be respectful of those around you (ex, don’t stand up and video tape blocking others’ view)
  • Put your cell phone on vibrate during the ceremony and restrain from posting anything negative (or unflattering pictures) about the event on Facebook or Twitter
  • Don’t yell or be really loud when they are calling your graduate’s name because it means others might not hear the name of the next person called.

Graduation etiquette







Q – How should I behave if I’m attending a graduation party?

  • RSVP on time.
  • Behave yourself and don’t drink too much.
  • Know your table manners (buffet tips & basics like elbows off table).
  • Bring a hostess gift.
  • Bring something for the graduate (gift and/or card).
  • Understand that the graduate cannot just hang out with his/her friends, but should in fact talk to all of the guests especially those coming in from out of town.

Q – When should the graduate open gifts and thank people for the gifts.

  • Unless a guest has requested that the graduate open his/her gift in person, it’s best for the graduate to spend time mingling with the guests and then open the gifts later when everyone is gone.
  • Within a month, the graduate should send a hand-written thank you note for all gifts received. A “thank you” email or text is not appropriate.

New Baby Etiquette

Posted on Mar 27, 2017 in Uncategorized


New Baby Etiquette

I was in labor for 25 hours. Most of our friends figured when I went into the hospital at 7:00 AM on Thursday morning, that I would have the baby sometime that day. It was a good assumption, but they were wrong. It was 8:00 AM on Friday when my little stubborn princess was born. Then two short hours later, before I even had the chance to brush my tangled, knotted hair,  two well-meaning neighbors came to the hospital for a visit. Needless to say, I was not ready to entertain anyone but this new little person I had just brought into the world.

When someone has a baby, whether it’s your sister, neighbor, or daughter’s gymnastics’ coach, it’s important to know how you can truly help her and her family, and not do anything to make her life more difficult. Below are some new baby etiquette tips.


  • Offer your help before the baby is even born. This is especially true for someone who’s close to you. Tell her that when she goes into the hospital that you can take care of her other children, her pets, or even just watch things at the house. Telling her that she can call you when she goes into labor, even if it’s in the middle of the night, is also an amazing gift.


  • Set up or participate in a “Take Them A Meal” website. If she knows that she will not have to worry about cooking dinner for a week or so after the baby is born that will be a huge relief. This also prevents everyone from brining the same dish, and overlapping dinners. Click HERE for some good recipes.


  • Give the family space when home from the  hospital. Unless you are immediate family, there is no need to go to the hospital or to their house within a week or two after the baby is born. The parents need time to adjust, and to literally live in their pajamas if they want, without feeling like they have to entertain.



  • Give them a gift without a gift receipt. As wonderful as you think the Diaper Genie is, you have no idea if they already have 3 of them! Parents can also receive too many clothes of one size and may need to exchange the cute outfit you gave them for a larger size.


  • Be too hands on with the baby. It’s not a good idea to visit the newborn and bring along your kids and have everyone want to hold and touch the baby. If you really want to hold the baby (but please not your kids) make sure you wash your hands first and keep your mouth (germs) away from the baby in case you might have a cold brewing.

new baby etiquette

  • Forget to offer help during the first six months. Chances are the baby, and therefore the mom, will not be getting a full night’s sleep, so occasionally offer your help or even another meal to give the mom a little break. You can even help by offering to drive her other children to practices or school, or pick up some groceries for her when you’re out.


Hope these new baby etiquette tips were helpful. If you have any etiquette questions please email me at, or go to my website for information and videos on etiquette for adults and children.

Office Etiquette Pet Peeves

Posted on Mar 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

Messy-office-fridgeOffice Etiquette Pet Peeves

If you work in an office environment, you probably know that working closely with colleagues can be a productive, rewarding experience. You also know that their quirks, bad habits, and thoughtlessness can slowly drive you insane.

​I remember one corporate job I had where a group of young women would congregated behind my glorified cubical and loudly chat, seemingly for hours, every day about their boyfriends, date nights, and wild bar adventures, making it impossible to get any work done until they left.  I also remember feeling like I was the only one to make a new pot of coffee, add paper to the printer, and tidy up the conference room after meetings.

​We all have our office etiquette pet peeves, but below is a list of the most popular according to a national survey by Linked-In.


  • Respond to emails within 24 hours if possible. Even if you don’t have the answer, at least let the person know you received it.
  • Avoid writing long emails especially if you could call or talk to them in person.
  • Not “reply all” unless everyone needs to have the email.
  • Change the subject line as the content of the email changes.
  • Write proper emails with correct spelling and punctuation. This is an electronic letter not a text.


  • Be considerate of others’ time and ask if they have time to chat when popping into their office or calling them on the phone.
  • Not over share information about yourself or get too personal with your questions. Discussing ailments, medical procedures, troubled marriages, and lousy exes should be done outside the office with close friends.

3.  BEING A KITCHEN SLOB – Remember to…

  • Clean up your dirty dishes in the sink and tidy up in the kitchen when you’re done eating.
  • Avoid cooking something in the office that has an overpowering aroma.
  • Avoid taking someone else’s food or drinks out of the office refrigerator! This is almost punishable by law.


4.  BAD MEETING ETIQUETTE – Remember to…

  • Show up to the meeting on-time. The office pet peeve that bothered managers most was showing up late for meetings.
  • End the meeting on-time. Associates said they found most annoying meetings that started late and went way too long.
  • Avoid being on your electronic devices unless that is the culture in your office. If you take electronic notes, tell others that’s what you’re doing not writing your grocery shopping list.
  • Give your full attention to the people in the meeting.



  • Avoid talking loudly on your cell phone when in common areas, or even in your cubical or office if others can hear you.
  • Avoid talking on the phone when you’re with other people. Like when you’re in the kitchen area, walking to lunch with co-workers, etc. Either take the call and move away from the group or don’t answer the phone because it doesn’t show respect to the people you’re with.


To watch my Fox news segment on Office Etiquette Pet Peeves, click HERE.

For more etiquette information, please go to my website HERE

Aimee is the CEO of Finesse Worldwide, and an etiquette expert with almost 20 years’ experience teaching etiquette to adults and children throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Aimee has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, and she regularly shares her etiquette advice on Charlotte Today, Fox News, and WBTV, on radio programs such as NPR, and in newspapers and national magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Health. Ms. Symington is also the creator of the award-winning, nationally acclaimed products on manners for children called “Blunders®” and “Manner Mats®” For more etiquette tips for adults and children, please visit her website at Connect on Facebook.