Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Card Etiquette. Pay Attention People.

I wrote this exact same post last year, and was shocked by the number of people who had no idea what was actually proper as far as name order. READ ASAP! This goes for ALL paper - cards, announcements, invitations, EVERYTHING. Next year I'll try to remember to post this in early November to catch people before they start...

I am a massive proponent of common courtesy, good manners, and proper etiquette. We all know to put our napkin in our lap and chew with our lips closed. We all know that it is polite to say yes ma'am and yes sir. And we all know that it is important to write prompt, hand-written thank you notes. Why then, I must ask, is proper etiquette in the paper realm so lacking?

One of the best things about winter that I look forward to more than anything {well, it is a close second behind snuggling up by a fire} is opening Christmas cards. There is something so wonderful and special about seeing everyone's families, recent news, and life updates. I just love them! BUT a little {BIG} grey cloud overshadows my moment when I read the order of the names and they are incorrectly written.

I know that it is the thought that really counts, so some of you might be thinking I am crazy or flat out rude to be pointing this out. If you are of that mindset then do not ever buy any of Miss Manner's books as she will promptly whip you into shape. Others might not even have the faintest idea what I am talking about. Why is name order a big deal or even on my radar for that matter? If you are one who knows what the appropriate etiquette is, improper name order is as glaringly obvious and inappropriate as not doing any of those first things I listed: smacking your food. Elbows on the table. Not saying please and thank you. Major no-no's people!! This is the paper equivalent.

I honestly cannot tell you how many thank you emails I received after posting this last year, saying, YES! Finally! Maybe my friends will pay attention for crying out loud and I don't have to cringe every time I open a holiday card/invitation/birth announcement/etc! FYI, this has nothing to do with, well, my husband is the head of the house so his name always goes first. Baloney. It reflects poorly on you as the wife for not knowing how to properly order the names!

I will elaborate further with the official rule to get everyone on the same page. Ok here we go:


Read it again.

When using first names, 




The reasoning is that the husband's first name is never separated from his last name, even if last names are not included in the wording. Jane and John Smith is correct. NOT John and Jane. NOT John and Jane Smith. John did not marry Jane Smith. Jane married John Smith.

Crane's Blue Book of Social StationeryMiss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, and Crane's Wedding Blue Book and everything Martha Stewart ever publishes on this topic all verify this longstanding etiquette rule. So why does hardly anyone seem to know about it these days?!

Now that I have presented this loud and clear, I want everyone to understand there shall be no more of this: Merry Christmas! Love, Biz, Sheridan, Big Squish and Miss Munchkin. Nonsense. Furthermore, if you have children, this is officially the correct format below, however, if you list all names on the same line it is technically still deemed appropriate as long as the wife's name is ALWAYS first.

Merry Christmas!
Lots of love,
Sheridan and Biz French
Squish and Munch

Now go forth and have proper etiquette, and if anyone you have doing your Christmas cards tells you otherwise, find a new stationer ASAP!