Etiquette tips can seem like overbearing anachronisms from the Miss Manners era (even though we seem to need them more than ever these days).
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So in order to help his holiday-themed lessons go down like a smooth glass of milk, Derek Blasberg, fashion expert and author of Classy and Very Classy, two best-selling books on manners for the modern girl, has recruited the services of two very cute, very furry assistants.
Classy Cat and Messy Kitty represent the extreme end of the "eticat" scale when it comes to manners and Blasberg employs them adorably to illustrate the dos and don'ts of holiday party behaviour.
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For instance, Classy Cat always brings an appropriate gift for the holiday party hostess, like a bottle of wine or a scented candle, while Messy Kitty is just "regifting one of her old, mangled toys." How gauche.
Tip No. 2 is a crucial one for the smartphone generation. "Classy Cat knows that the holiday party is the perfect place to laugh, tell engaging stories, and make new friends," Blasberg advises.
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"Messy Kitty, on the other hand, is rudely on her cell phone the entire night. Stay off your phone. It's abominable."
Dress up a little more for the holidays and don't be afraid of a little sparkle, says the current editor-at-large of Harper's Bazaar. And unless you're an unspeakably cute cat, don't even try to pull off a hideous Christmas sweater — even with little bells on them.
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While these tips appear to be self-evident, it takes just one rollicking holiday fête to remember how many people could benefit from a few well-placed etiquette reminders.
Unless, of course, the Messy Kitty route works for you. Because as Blasberg concludes, "Let's be honest. Every party needs at least one."