Holiday Etiquette In the Digital Age

We asked our favorite etiquette expert, Carey Sue Vega, to write a guest post this week. We gave her free reign to choose a holiday etiquette topic of her choice. Read on to learn about her biggest holiday no no.

Carey Sue Vega has provided etiquette and communications training for businesses, attorneys, doctors and organizations around the world. For ten years, Carey Sue honed her teaching and manner skills with an international audience as Cruise Director for the Norwegian Cruise Line. Vega has been featured in numerous radio and television shows and magazine articles, sharing her etiquette expertise. She is the author of the popular “Manner Monday” series and has created one of the first on-line table manners courses for children.

Holiday Etiquette In the Digital Age

It’s crunch time. We’re all rushing around trying to tie up last minute holiday shopping and wrapping all of those “perfect” gifts for everyone on our list. Even so, if we take a minute to reflect, we know deep down that the best present we can give our family and friends over the holiday break is the gift of our presence. I know it sounds cliché, but think about it… we all know it’s true. When is the last time you had a really good conversation with someone – without the interruption of a ping taking your attention away to something else?  

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Yes, I love my technology and I am thankful for it on a daily basis as it gives me the flexibility to be an entrepreneur and a mom. But, this season more than any other time of the year brings us all together – and I don’t mean digitally! Holiday get togethers, parties and cultural traditions bring us PHYSICALLY together. So during this busy and stressful Holiday season, I bet you can agree that no matter how much money you spend:

  • Your significant other wants your Presence
  • Your child(ren) want your Presence
  • Your family members want your Presence
  • Your friends want your Presence

    As much as we all think we HAVE to check our email, we HAVE to check our social media accounts… do we really? If you’re ‘addicted’ to checking your phone, then you may need to leave it in your car. Will the world stop if we turn the technology off for a few hours at a time and focus on good old-fashioned face-time.

    We know the answer. And yes, our work will still be waiting for us after the break (unfortunately) but we can dig into it then. Don’t miss another family get together because you’re lost in your phone. Your friends and family want uninterrupted time with you – the best present money can buy!

    Some of Carey Sue’s favorite digital disconnect tips:



    • As a guest, you can either leave your phone in the car or turn it off and put it in your purse or coat pocket.   As a host, you can create a technology ‘landing station’ with a cute ‘tech free zone’ sign to encourage your guests to unplug.

    • If there is the possibility that someone may need to contact you, you can easily sneak away to the restroom and check your device; just don’t camp out in there leaving everyone to wonder if you’re ok.

    • Think about ‘conversation starters’ questions in advance you can ask to get the conversation flowing and take peoples minds off their electronics.

    • Do you wear a Smart Watch? Mooning is the new tech lingo for placing your wearable tech or smartphone in its ‘do not disturb’ mode.  The nickname comes from the ‘moon’ icon that shows once you’ve switched to DND mode.  Personally, I’m trying to make it a habit, to switch into moon mode prior to walking into a meeting.  It helps me focus on the other person and it keeps the distractions from my devices from interrupting, allowing me to give 100% of my attention to the other person.

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