The holiday season is a wonderful time of thanksgiving, celebration, giving, sharing, and enjoying the company of friends, family and loved ones. There are so many things that I am thankful for, but one thing that I become more thankful for as I get older is that fact that my parents took the time to invest in me.
My parents are some of the most supportive and encouraging people that I know. They were constantly encouraging me to do what I love, and to be the best version of myself. My parents encouragement and support started when my siblings are I were children and has continued on into adulthood.
As children, my siblings and I never ate out of plastic “kiddy” bowls and were never allowed to place our hands in our plates. My parents believed in the importance of teaching table manners and to this day, I am so grateful they did what they did. So many people do not know, or understand table manners… knowing which fork to use, or how to differentiate between your bread pate and someone else’s is important.
As we enter the holiday season, here are some tips on how to use table manners at the Thanksgiving table, while mingling at a Christmas party, or while enjoying your time with loved ones on New Year’s Eve.
Basic Table Setting
A basic table setting consists of a fork, knife, spoon, bread plate, bread and butter knife (optional), dinner plate, napkin, and beverage glass. The fork goes to the left of the plate, and the knife and spoon are set to the right. The napkin can be placed on the plate or to the left of the fork.
Sometimes it is difficult to know which bread plate or glass to use if you’re seated at a crowded table. If you forget easily, here is an easy trick to remember which plate and glass to use: holding your hands in your lap, touch the tips of your pointer fingers to the tips of your thumbs making a lowercase “b” and a lowercase “do” with your fingers. The lower case “b” shows that your bread and butter plates is to your left. The lowercase “d” shows that your drink is to your right. This is usefully for both children and adults.
10 Tips for a Pleasant Dining Experience
- Compliment the host and don’t forget to bring a hostess gift.
- Show up on time. If you are going to be late, be sure the host is aware so that he or she can plan accordingly. The meal might begin without you.
- No one wants to know what partially digested food looks like: Chew with your mouth closed
- There is a purpose for your napkin — Use it.
- Keep your mobile devices out of sight at the table. If you must take a phone call or respond to an urgent text, excuse yourself from the table.
- If you accidentally use someone else’s bread and butter plate, apologize, make a joke, and and then offer your unused plate.
- If you don’t like how something tastes keep your opinions to yourself. The chef put time and effort into the meal.
- It’s okay to talk about current events but try to avoid controversial topics such as religion and politics. The holiday season is a sensitive time for some people so try to keep from asking about relationship status, family planning, or recently lost loved ones.
- Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. If you’re sitting next to a stranger, make a comment about the food, the weather, or the occasion. If you ask questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” it’s easy to get a conversation started.
- Enjoy yourse
Party Etiquette: Christmas, Holiday, and New Year’s Eve Parties
- RSVP: If you receive an invitation, respond by the given date. If you need to arrive late or leave early, ask the hostess if this is okay.
- Dress to impress. If necessary, ask the host for attire suggestions. Wouldn’t it be horrible if you showed up in jeans and everyone else is dressed in black tie?
- Show up on time or within 15 minutes of time stated on the invitation. If you arrive early, sit in your car and call your mom, scroll through Instagram, or get on facebook. Showing up to an event early is just as rude as showing up late. Don’t ring the doorbell until the time that’s stated on the invitation.
- Don’t overindulge: be aware of the ratio or party guests to the amount of food. Keep alcohol consumption on the moderate to low side (If you do plan on drinking — don’t drink and drive)
- Don’t bring uninvited guests: It’s rude. If you want to spend that evening with someone who was not invited, send your regrets (by the RSVP date) and hang out with your friend. If you already gave your RSVP and replied with a “yes” stick with your commitment and hang out with your friend another time.
- It takes a lot of time and hard work to plan and host a party so be sure to send your host a thank you note. Trust me, it will be appreciated.
- Have fun and go with the flow! The best way to have a great evening is to have a great attitude!