Nancy MitchellNancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).
Host: Should I give a gift that reflects the recipient s religious belief?
Nancy Mitchell: I would recommend unless you know that person extremely well, give a gift that is more generic. You may not know if that person is devout in their religion. You do not which of the holidays they celebrate; they may have blended family. It is much easier for you to choose a gift that is generic and just celebrates the end of a happy year together, a successful year together if it is a business gift. I say unless you know them very well and you understand the holiday, you understand the traditions of a religious holiday, do not try to find a gift or to say this is in observance of Hanukkah, when you really do not understand the culture or the custom. Go generic, write a lovely note, company s general gift that says, Happy holidays, we hope you enjoy the end of the year, we appreciate you, we love you, whatever your relationship is that s what you say in the note.