There’s a common misconception that manners can magically disappear when you enter family functions. It’s family, right? Be comfortable! Don’t worry! Who cares! Right?
One of the most frequent questions about table manners we get from our little middle schoolers at Junior Cotillion is, “but I don’t have to do this at home, right?” It’s so sad that we’ve been trained to completely let etiquette go by the wayside when we’re in the comfort of our own home or a relative’s. While it’s not as though you’re in a four star restaurant, you should still be respectful of those around you.
The Top 5 Holiday Basics (five points out of a loooong list that everyone should refresh themselves with):
-Seriously, no slouching or elbows on the table while eating. Isn’t that one of the first things your mother taught you? Elbows on the table and relaxed postures are fine, however, once the meal is over and you’re enjoying some end-of-the-evening coffee.
-Proper etiquette states that you should wait for your host or hostess to begin eating before digging into your meal. Oftentimes the hostess will serve herself last, so you’ll have to wait a bit…but you’ve waited all year for that turkey and gravy, a few more minutes won’t kill you.
-Use your utensils properly! Cut your turkey meat one bit at a time, setting your fork and knife down while you chew. If you get a piece of something that you’d rather not eat, don’t stick your fingers in your mouth – use your fork to discreetly remove said piece and place it on the outside of your plate.
-If you are a guest, always take your plate to the kitchen and offer to help clean up.
-Never bring any food or beverage that you expect to be part of the meal unless you have cleared it with your hostess. Asking in advance lets you know if a side or dessert is even necessary, and doesn’t put your hostess on the awkward or stressful spot the day-of.
All that being said and done, at the end of the day it is family. They’ll still love you (hopefully) even if you sneak a bite of your cranberries before hostess grandma, but let’s all give a little extra effort to be polite this holiday season. Not to mention you don’t want to be the black sheep gossip of the family…I find that family gossip is the most vicious! Save yourself this holiday season and put your manners smile on