Hacked Off’s guide to not offending people at Christmas

There are many things to dislike about Christmas.

I don’t mind the commercialism, as that is good for business, but I could do without all the other crap.

Crackers … Christmas trees … Taking the kids to see Santa … All a pain as far as I’m concerned. Plus, working out Christmas etiquette can be a minefield. Some people are so easily offended, just because their present is a disappointment (what is wrong with buying your wife a briefcase, for heaven’s sake? I have never been forgiven for that). 

Don’t do as I do, as that always gets me into trouble, but you could do what I MEAN to do.

Here is my guide to avoiding offending people:


It is, just about, acceptable to send e-cards rather than hand-written cards, as long as it is clear that the money you are saving is going to a good cause (the Christmas party does not count as a good cause). But, for contacts you care about, send a proper card. With a handwritten, personal, message. And if someone makes the effort to send you a card, make the effort to reciprocate.


Who should you invite to your seasonal events? If you don’t want a wicked, disgruntled witch turning up, be careful. The best bet is to invite everyone, or don’t have a big party at all. If you are going to have a few, small events, then make sure that you chose exclusive venues. Doing it on the cheap is worse than not doing it at all.


It is a fine line between saying “thank you” and looking like you are giving a bribe. Keep it simple, not too flash. Basically, I am asking you to send me some Champagne. Or chocolates. See? I’m easy to please!

Party behaviour

Getting pissed is bad manners. It is also bad manners to look stone-cold sober and bored (even if you are).

Thank yous

Whatever you are invited to, always thank the host. If you get a gift, say thank you. Saying “thank you” is the most important part of Christmas, and a hand-written thank you is especially nice. It’s amazing how many people don’t even bother to say thanks by text or email.

Creative Moment Awards 2020