The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice


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May 29
88°/ 68°
Moderate rain
May 30
85°/ 74°
Patchy rain nearby
May 31
95°/ 67°
Heavy rain

Proper Decorum for Light-Hearted Holidays


Nine years ago, you begged your parents to get you the new Lego building kit. You didn’t get one, and made a huge fuss about it. Your great-uncle arrives in town this year with none other than the toy set, forgetting that you’ve grown up and were actually hoping for a new car or something. However, you do have a 6-year old neighbor who would love to have it. Is it acceptable to re-gift something like this?

“I think you should re-gift it, because you don’t want or need it, and it’s perfect for your neighbor. Plus, in this economy, it’s okay to save money,” junior Elle Adams said.

In this case, Adams is right. Presents should be re-gifted only if you’re sure the new recipient would like the gift and appreciate it, and if it is unused and in its original packaging. Giving something away simply because it’s taking up space in your closet and you don’t know what to get someone else is not acceptable, especially if the original giver spent time picking it out for you. Even worse is re-gifting if there is a chance that the two might run into each other. You don’t want your sister to see your best friend sporting a one-of-a-kind wallet she picked out for you. With something like the above scenario, in which your neighbor would be receiving an appropriate gift and your uncle isn’t likely to drop by your neighbor’s house, you should be okay re-gifting as long as you appreciate the effort your uncle made and be sure to give a genuine thank you and hug to the sender.

Table Manners

You didn’t want to go to grandma’s house this year, but your parents wanted you to come. You’re at dinner and your grandfather is telling your parents about his recent chiropractor visit. You’re desperately bored, so is it okay to secretly text your best friend under the table?

“I think if you don’t get caught you’re fine. You shouldn’t, but you probably will anyway,” junior Paige Mason said.

While it may seem fine because it doesn’t look like anyone will see, you will somehow accidently make it known that you aren’t fully present and involved in the lovely dinner that your grandparents took time to make. So don’t do it. It doesn’t matter how bored you are. You can wait. If anything, distract yourself by replaying your favorite movie in your head. Sacrifice those precious hours and try to interact with other people at the table. It looks rude, and will probably not make anyone else feel good about themselves if you can’t stay off your phone for a whole meal. Your parents will likely be displeased, and you’ll actually regret in the long run if you didn’t get to appreciate the rarity that spending time with your family actually is.

Receiving Gifts

You just opened the gift your aunt brought you, and it’s a pair of earrings she got on her last trip to Europe. However, you haven’t worn earrings since you were five, and you’re not even sure that your ears are still pierced. What should you say?

“You should give your best smile and say ‘thank you, I love this!’ and give them a big hug. Don’t let any disappointment show,” sophomore Marissa Gellrich said.

Gellrich is correct—if you get a gift you normally wouldn’t use, don’t say anything in front of the person who gave you the gift. It seems like common sense, but it’s very easy to let it slip that you don’t like or can’t use a gift. On the other side, acting overly enthusiastic is a key that you didn’t truly love the gift. The point was that your aunt just wanted you to be happy. So smile, genuinely, because of the effort she made and the fact that she went out of her way to pick something up for you. If you got a unique gift that is something you wouldn’t normally wear, keep it in case the recipient casually asks to see you wear it (as in, “Oh, Jane, why don’t you wear the earrings I bought you last Christmas! They would go lovely with your dress!), and because if you can’t exchange it, then it would be simply rude to re-gift it. It’s the same with receiving a gift that isn’t really appropriate for you—make sure you act the way you would if you got a small gift that you had really wanted.

Thank-you Notes

The holidays are over and you have a stack of shiny new gifts that you’re extremely happy with. Do your gift-givers deserve to know how much you appreciate their effort, or are thank-you notes not necessary?

“I think it’s acceptable to send thank you notes to everyone, because you want to show that you appreciate them,” senior Niki Barouxis said.

High school is absolutely the time to start easing in proper etiquette in thank-you notes. While you may think it is okay to thank to sender in person, sometimes at a large party this ‘thank you’ can seem impersonal and it’s always nicer to have a moment to compose your thoughts. While e-mail may seem easier, it’s not really the same—especially if you received a gift in the mail. Besides, not everyone can check their e-mail every day. It’s much more eloquent and will make you seem mature and show how much you appreciate the gift. If you were the guest at someone’s house, include a thank you for that as well. It’s always better to send your thank-you notes as soon as you get home, but better late than never. Not sending one can make the gift-giver wonder whether you even appreciated the time they took to pick out something special, whereas sending a thank-you even two weeks later shows that you still remember their effort.

Including Yourself

You’re hanging out with your friend watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” when the movie ends. Your friend stands up to leave and when you ask what they’re doing next they inform you they have plans to hang out with some mutual friends. Since you know everyone, is it okay to ask if you can come along too?


“No. It’s rude and if they wanted to invite you they would have done it themselves,” junior Maria Taylor said.

While tagging along to something you weren’t originally invited to is extremely rude, but in some cases a simple suggestion may be okay. First, be mindful of the situation. Your friends may have a special time set aside to bond—alone. Asking a simple question about what they are planning to do next may suffice. Sometimes, if they are open enough they will invite you too or ask if you are interested in joining in on their plans. However, it may be awkward for the person to invite you at the last minute and they may find it rude on their behalf, even if you don’t.  If you are close enough to the person and gutsy enough, you could slip in a bigger hint such as “Wow, sounds like fun. I haven’t been ice skating in so long”. At this point, if they want to invite you, they will. If not, it’s probably because there’s a specific reason. Don’t be offended or worry that you did something to annoy someone in your group—it may be a logistical thing about only having enough room in the car for three people. Don’t flat-out ask if you can come, unless you are talking to someone you are really close to. If you don’t know the person well-enough, they may wonder why you are being so pushy and can’t respect boundaries. The bottom-line is that you’ll have lots of time over the holidays to hang out, and if you really want to, just plan your own party.

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