Don’t let a brand new year begin with newly-made enemies. Below, we’ve simplified a few complex situations that tend to crop up ’round Christmastime.
I’m planning on letting our housekeeper go on January 2, right after we get back from Cabo. Do I still need to give her a holiday bonus?
Firstly, kudos to you for having the moxie to say out loud what so many of us think regarding those end-of-year handouts: What’s in it for me, anyway? The answer, sad to say, is nothing. You don’t tip your doorman for the packages he’ll collect for you next year; you tip him for all the packages he collected this year (like, say, that three-ton Massoud settee you “forgot” was coming). Though generosity does tend to engender good feelings, the holiday tip isn’t prepayment. So if Alice did a good job for you this past year—or longer—pony up: She earned it. Especially if you’re planning to send her packing just as soon as she finishes up with your vacation laundry. If there’s one thing worse than being let go by a cheap tyrant, it’s being let go by a cheap tyrant with a tan.
Avoid or Conquer
I’m a diehard Republican. Most of my friends and coworkers are flaming liberals, which means at holiday parties I’m always faced with someone who attacks my views. How do I make it clear that I don’t want to talk about Obamacare at Christmas?
This is the problem with the holidays: Another year gone and you still have these same damn friends. What’s a Bill O’Reilly-obsessed student of establishmentarianism supposed to say to a bleeding-heart women’s-care advocate who’s cornered you far away from the bar? Here’s the plan: Speak your mind—but don’t expect to change someone else’s. Before you should back a barbed response to that Brooklyn novelist’s self-righteous certainty about “evolution,” ask yourself if it’s worth the drama only to see yourself show up as a character in his next NYT bestseller. Pick your battles. Chances are good your buddy from Berkeley’s not going to pledge the NRA. Why work yourself, and everyone else, up? Have a piece of pie instead. Stuff it, already. When you want nothing more than to hurl your martini at the know-it-all from accounting, remember you love your friends, and maybe even your coworkers, for reasons other than their politics. And if you don’t, well, make getting some new ones your New Year’s resolution.