10 Etiquette Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making

Turns out it's not okay to wait a year to send a wedding gift. Who knew?! Here's a refresher course from Good Housekeeping's manners maven, Peggy Post, just in time for holiday party season.

The mistake: Arriving at a party with a present in hand, even though the invitation says "no gifts, please."
Why it's wrong: You'll likely embarrass all the empty-handed guests, who obeyed the instructions.
What to do instead: "No gifts" means that the guest of honor really doesn't want the party to focus on presents. As a guest, it's your responsibility to respect those wishes. If you absolutely can't abstain, give your gift in private before or after the party.

The mistake: Asking someone you barely know the ethnic origin of her name.
Why it's wrong: You may come off as more interested in her pedigree than in her personality. Worse, you could be suspected of prejudice or racism.
What to do instead: If you're truly interested in learning about a person's background, engage her in a conversation that may naturally lead to a discussion of her roots: "Have you always lived here in Minneapolis?" Do remember, though, that some people prefer not to share personal information. If that seems to be the case, be considerate enough to move on to other topics.

Read on for 8 more etiquette mistakes you're probably guilty of, and never embarrass yourself at a party again!

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.