How Much to Tip Over the Holidays

The old adage that good help is hard to find has never been more true.. So when you are fortunate enough to receive it, acknowledge it wholeheartedly. All the people that make our life easy deserve a sincere thanks everyday of the year, but the holidays are the perfect time to show your gratitude.

Pull out a pen, a note card — and your wallet.

A brief hard-written card explaining your gratefulness and wishing a happy holidays will do. Tuck in some cash for either double the value that you normally tip, or for an amount equal to one typical service (so if your cleaner normally charges you $40 a visit, the holiday payment should be double that, with a nice card). Call it the “saving your ass all year long tax”. Money very well spent.

Here’s me further explaining on Global News


Decoding your office holiday party invitation

holiday cocktails

Festive? Cocktail? Or festive cocktail? The language of party invitations is key to cracking the dress code, well, code. Following are some cues to heed in your choice of attire. And heed away. There is a return to an interest in dressing with intent (thanks in part to a movement against ‘Casual Fridays’ getting too casual). Taking pleasure in dressing for a sense of occasion has triumphed over huffing about having to fuss with a suit or cocktail dress. Wear the hell out of that formal wear.

If you’re fortunate enough to be invited to an event that calls for black tie, why not fully embrace it? Wearing your best can be a point of pride, as well as a nod of respect to your host.

While you open your closet, consider falling nicely in the middle of the sartorial spectrum. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you don’t want to be the flashiest person in the room, but you don’t want to be the most underdressed.

Black tie|

  • Black tuxedo jacket and trousers
  • Crisp white formal shirt with button studs and cuff links
  • Bow tie (or formal long tie, smart tie clip optional, as is pocket square)
  • Cummerbund or vest
  • Black patent shoes and black dress socks


  • Floor length evening gown, or dressy cocktail dress
  • Evening heels or shoes (fabric over leather, often)
  • Formal accessories (not the handbag you schlep to the office, for example) and hair very done

Semiformal or Cocktail


  • Dark suit
  • Crisp, pressed dress shirt
  • Tie, cuff links, tie pin if you’re feeling it
  • Leather dress shoes and dark dress socks


  • Cocktail dress, top and skirt combination or smart pantsuit in an evening fabric
  • As dolled up in accessories as you like: jewellery, handbag and shoes
Business Formal – a slightly less smart or formal version of the above for both men and women
Festive Cocktail
  • Relaxed cocktail attire, but a bit more ease. A vest over a dress shirt. Reindeer sweater is not required (be relaxed, but not costumey)
Business Casual

Are jeans ok for business casual? If the function and occasion are more casual than business, then yes, but opt for your darkest, pristine denim.

  • Blazer or sport coat in a seasonally appropriate fabric
  • Casual dress shirt (tie is optional) or collared polo
  • Loafers (if wearing socks, they should be good socks, not white gym socks. And hipsters may bare ankle as they see fit).


  • Casual dress (nothing strapless or too precious) or a shirt with skirt or pant
  • Keep the business in “business casual” – nothing too slinky or bombshell
  • Wedges, modest heels or a smart flat (look no further than Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge for a study in casual)

Sample thank you message

Dear [generous donour],

Thank you so much for your support of the [amazing cause]. I’m pleased to share that, with your help, I was able to raise [an outrageous amount of money] last month. The funds raised help support [details of impressive project] in [location].

You can check out more about [impressive project] at [].

In gratitude,


This is not a test. Ok, it is a test.

My friend Maryam, purveyor of all things Lady Like shared this quiz a few months back and I’ve been meaning to link to it. I bet Maryam and James Bond both nailed this test. I wish more people understood revolving door protocol. What might seem like cutting someone off to beat them to the door is actually just me trying to get the door in motion for them.  Sigh. The best laid plans…..

The link to the original test is here. Not feeling testy? You can skip the quiz and just get to the answers here.

When greeting someone for the first time, a cupped handshake (in which my left hand covers the normal handshake) is a good way to show my sincerity and interest.

a. True
b. False

When socializing at a cocktail party, it is best to hold my glass in which hand?

a. Right
b. Left
c. It doesn’t make a difference

During a business meeting at an up-scale restaurant, a lady should expect a gentleman to pull her chair out for her.

a. Yes, or else he is not really a gentleman
b. No, the days of gallantry have passed
c. No, but it would be nice if he did

In Japan, gift-giving protocol dictates that it is best to avoid offering gifts wrapped in which color wrapping paper?

a. Blue
b. White
c. Black

During a business meal, it is permissible to place my cellular telephone on the table?

a. True
b. False

The following is an appropriate introduction: Mr. Client Dubois, I would like to introduce to you Mrs. Boss Whitman.

a. Yes
b. No

Who goes through a revolving door first, the host or the visitor?

a. The Host
b. The Visitor

When is it okay to send confidential information via email or to discuss client business on a cell/mobile phone in a semi-private area?

a. Anytime
b. Only when it is urgent
c. Email if it is a private address. Cell phone if not many people are around.
d. Never

When you are finished eating, your napkin should be?

a. Folded loosely and placed on the right side of the plate.
b. Folded loosely and placed on the left side of the plate.
c. Folded loosely and placed in the center of the plate.
d. Placed on the seat of your chair.

When dining in India, which hand should you eat with?

a. The right hand
b. The left hand
c. Either hand

In which countries should the “OK” sign be avoided (thumb and forefinger forming a circle with other three fingers splayed upward)?

a. France
b. Germany
c. Japan
d. Brazil
e. Russia
f. All of the above

When at meetings at which people are wearing name tags, the best place to put my name tag is on my left chest area.

a. True
b. False



A good month: December 31

Devote a few minutes today purely to the task of being grateful. And on a more practical note, before you go to bed, put a massive glass of water and an Advil on your night table.