Be cool! How not to be that festive-season douchebag

2017-12-12 13:30 - Anje Rautenbach
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Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la, la la la la.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la la.

That’s right. It’s that time of the year. And whether you love or hate the tinsel-covered shops, the sounds of Boney M and that dude in the red suit and white beard who didn’t get the memo that Movember is long over, one thing is certain: the holiday season is upon us.  

And when South Africans embrace the holiday season it is about more than just jingle bells and glittery balls, it’s about being on holiday, or going on vacation, or taking a break or just shutting off from the year that was and preparing yourself for the year to come. Schools close their doors, businesses switch off their computers and out-of-office replies pop up for more frequently than ever.

But on the other end of the December-madness-holiday-stick, small towns and coastal cities are standing ready to receive the influx of visitors over the December and January period. And it often happens – between leaving the madness behind and travelling to the holiday destination – that holidaymakers forget a few things at home.

Toothbrush? Check.

Charger? Check.

Pillow? Check.

Manners? Oops (*Pick some up on the way or try to go without the item this holiday).

Holiday etiquette tips to assist you in not being “that” person.

Don’t be a poephol. Be cool.

At Restaurants

Please be nice to the people who serve you during the holiday season, and remember to tip well, especially if you’re having a Christmas lunch at a restaurant. Those waiters, hostesses and chefs offered up their Christmas day with their family so that you and your family can have a good time. Be generous. Also keep in mind that waiters are not chefs – don’t blame them if something is not up to your taste on your plate. Be nice.

SEE: 8Clear cut signs that you're NOT a foodie traveller


Not to be a party pooper but not everyone wants to listen to your music. I think it is safe to say that “Bokkie kom ons sokkie” is not everyone’s cup of tea, and the same goes for any overpowering doof-doof music. Whether you are camping, staying in a resort or at home, please keep your neighbours in mind. It is 2017 going on 2018, playing music from your car with all the doors open is so 1995. Use a phone – get a Bluetooth speak if you want to – and just play your music for your party of people when in a public space.


Unfortunately, car accidents are on the increase during the festive season and while some are freak accidents the majority could easily be avoided if everyone just thinks before they act. Don’t be an idiot, don’t be selfish. Texting and driving should never happen and if you do it you deserve the biggest punch in the throat known to mankind. The same goes for drinking and driving, is it too much to ask to just be responsible and act like a grown-up? If an Uber, shuttle or taxi is not an option, take a walk. It will do wonders for the hangover. On the long road, don’t overtake on solid lines, don’t take chances, keep a safe following distance, do safety check on your tyres, indicate, switch on your lights, stay alert, stay awake and stay alive.

SEE: Gauteng! Swop your luggage for water when coming to thirsty Cape Town 


Visiting a drought-stricken region during December? Please remember that while your visit is short-lived, the residents of the area still have to survive after the holiday period. Respect and adhere to the rules when it comes to water usage. And if you are driving, why not take some water with you? Actually, this should not even be an option, but a law.

Did you know that on Friday the 15th of December, passengers travelling from OR Tambo to Cape Town, can exchange their unused kilograms (from checked-in luggage) for litres of water that will be delivered to Cape Town on their behalf? This one-day activation and initiative is made possible by Siemens and it is called #SiemansAirDrop.


Keep the streets, beaches and public spaces trash-free. If you don’t see a trash can keep on to your piece of trash until you find one. And when it comes to plastic, ask yourself if it is really necessary to use the item. Dear restaurants, stop serving drinks with straws and stop automatically putting straws in drinks. Humans don’t need extensions from their mouths to glasses.

SEE: Stop leaving your mark all over the world!


It’s the season of crazy Christmas dinners and over-indulging, don’t waste food or throw food away. Donate items to a soup kitchen or see where and how you can help the less fortunate with a meal.

On the beach

Everyone just loves going to the beach and working on their tan during the holiday season but don’t be a selfish Susan. Don’t leave your trash behind (and yes, that includes those cigarette butts that often get buried in the sand), leave the alcohol at home, don’t blast music or shake your towel off too close to other beachgoers (that is BEACH 101) and respect the warnings of riptides, strong currents and sharks.

SEE: Summer Safety: How to turn the tide on beach dramas this festive season


Respect people, places and things. It is not rocket science.

In the end, all you have to do is not be a poephol. Don’t be a jerk, don’t be public nuisance, don’t be stupidly selfish. Be cool. Be a nice human being. Be that person that would make your mother go, “ahh that’s my kid.”  

It’s December keep in mind, Fa la la la la, la la la la.

‘Tis the season to be kind, Fa la la la la, don’t be stupid la la la la.

Anje Rautenbach is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook,Twitter  or on Instagram

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