The Christmas and holiday shopping season are upon us once again. The “fa-la-la-ing,” “ho-ho-ho-ing,” “decking the halls” and, most of all, the jam-packed stores are plenty to be found. As we make our list and check it twice, let’s remember to check off our list, to be kind to those working long hours at the malls, grocery stores, boutiques, salons and shops.
Here is some of our best advice to keep the season jolly and festive.
Treat salespersons and cashiers respectfully. I would venture to say, even if they are not having a great day themselves. Always say, hello, please and thank you. This sometimes is all they need to brighten their day. Try your very best to do this, regardless of how much you have on your plate or how hurried you may be.
At grocery stores, follow express lane rules. If it is a “seven (or whatever number) items or less” express lane, stay under that amount and do not load up the conveyor belt with above that number. It will slow down the “express” process and get you in the expressly on to Santa’s naughty list! Also, help bag items if the cashier is busy scanning multiple items.
Do not hold salespeople responsible for issues that are beyond their control, such as pricing or out of stock items. This is not in their area of control. If necessary, kindly ask to speak to a manager.
Have your shopper’s card, checkbook, debit or credit card ready, as well as any coupons, when you approach the register. This helps avoid delays and keeps those customers behind you happy as well.
Try to avoid talking on the phone when you are paying for a purchase. Certainly, at times, this is unavoidable, but do your very best to abide by this simple guideline.
Let those in front of you go first when a new lane opens up at the department or grocery store. That is simply kind, courteous and 100 percent common sense.
Be on time at salons and spas … always. If you need to cancel, do so 24 hours in advance unless ill. Canceling may cause your hairdresser/stylist/technician to lose money during the holiday season and any time of the year. Tipping is always a proper etiquette practice as well.
Be generous. If the season allows, donate to the Red Kettle campaign or other fundraisers that help those in need during this holiday season. If nothing else, thank the bell-ringers at the mall and those donating their time. It is a very simple way to give back.
Take a breather and enjoy the season as you make your way through whatever retail establishment you find yourself shopping. Admire the decorations, take in the lights and sounds of the season, and be thankful for the many blessings you have.
So, keep the merriment in the season for those around you with these simple tips. The best gift we can give to others is not wrapped in green and red paper and finished with a bow, it is our kindness, warmth and a smile. Don’t forget a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year while you are at it.
The Etiquette Chics are national bloggers for Blue Star Families, Military One Click and other national organizations, and often are featured on local TV with etiquette advice. They can be reached at or for questions and comments.