Southern Niceties That We Are Bringing Back in 2020
The classics are making a comeback. And we couldn't be happier.
It’s the end of a year and the end of a decade and that means it is the perfect time to reflect on the past and make resolutions for the future. The South has a long history of good manners and friendly etiquette and we are hoping that will continue into the future. However, modern times and new technology are making some things that we thought were forever seem like a distant memory. So here are a few Southern niceties that might be disappearing, and that we want to bring back in 2020. (And if you never let them go in the first place, well done!)
Sometimes it feels like people have taken the idea of minding their own business to the extreme. Folks seem to have gotten the idea that it’s rude to interject a hello into someone’s day and instead just walk past them in the grocery store, library, or on the street without a friendly greeting. Let’s reverse that trend next year. Saying hello helps remind people that they are part of a community, it’s good manners, and it’s incredibly easy. Here’s how to do it in three simple steps: 1. Make eye contact. 2. Smile. 3. Say hello. That’s it!
Welcoming New Neighbors
When I was a kid, when someone new moved into the neighborhood, as soon as the moving truck left, my mother would send me over a freshly baked banana bread and an invitation for dinner. It was just what you did to make sure people felt welcome in their new home and an immediate member of the community. It’s time to bring that custom back, whether you live in a house, an apartment, or a retirement home. Welcoming new neighbors is not only polite, but it can also lead to lifelong friendships—or at least someone who will water your garden while you’re on vacation.
Back in the day, most Southern women knew how to transform a bunch of daisies, bluebells, and roses into a stunning centerpiece. Now, most of us rely on florists to turn flowers into beautiful bouquets and perfect hostess gifts. As the calendar turns, let’s resolve to relearn the art of flower arranging to make our own holiday displays, table toppers, and personalized gifts to share with friends. Whether using flowers from your own garden or selected from a local flower shop, turning flowers into floral arrangements is doable, fun, and a great way to hark back to simpler times.
As kids, learning to write was a milestone. These days, though, there are few places to use handwriting. Everyone’s dashing off text message on their phones, sending out an email, or pushing a button to respond to a survey. We don’t even have to write checks anymore. While in the past, it was just doctors who were teased for their bad handwriting, thanks to the lack of practice, a lot of our handwriting is becoming difficult to decipher. This year, we’re practicing our handwriting to make sure that when we do send out our thank you notes and holiday cards, our messages come through loud and clear.
Sending Paper Party Invitations
We all know that emailed party invites are easy and that sending out a blast on the group text is even easier, but the ugly truth is that neither option has all that much Southern charm. In the new year, try planning ahead for your next gathering, so you have time to send out proper party invitations. Your guests will undoubtedly be delighted to receive paper invitations in the mail and sending out handwritten invites can help set the tone for a good old fashioned Southern get together.
Hosting Dinner Parties
There’s been a lot of talk that dinner parties are an endangered species. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen by hosting friends next year. It can be fun to pull out the family china and the good silver to show off your ability to set a proper table, don’t let the specter of handwashing and polishing put you off from hosting. Remember, that dinner parties don’t have to be fussy affairs where everyone oohs and aahs over your soufflé making skills. Use your everyday dishes or just serve finger foods with napkins or order pizza. The point is to get your friends, family, and neighbors together to break bread. That’s it!
It seems that everyone is busy these days. Folks are juggling a job and a volunteer job, trying to have a career and a social life, seeing the family while making time for yourself, and seemingly playing catch-up every darn day of the week. It’s exhausting. That’s why learning to say no is important and so is taking some time out. In 2020, lets all try to take a deep breath, step back, and return to our roots—sitting on the porch on a summer evening, rocking the night away in a rocking chair and savoring the slowness of a Southern night.
Saying Please and Thank You
We say this every year, but some things bear repeating: Say "please" and "thank you" just like your parents taught you. That symbol of good manners and Southern Charm never goes out of style.