When the holiday season rolls around, inboxes get flooded with invitations to holiday parties and special holiday dinners. While the holiday celebrations you attend are full of people you know, love, and are comfortable with, that doesn’t mean you should check your manners at the door! Having proper table manners, especially during the holidays, is vitally important.
To help you mind your p’s and q’s at the holiday table, we enlisted the help of Dawn Burke Sena, etiquette expert and owner of Charm Philly. Her holiday etiquette tips apply to everyone from the small to the tall, so you know these holiday etiquette tips are simple and easy to remember and practice while you’re out celebrating!
1. Take a Seat: Sit where seated, no place card-switching. The hosts have gone to the effort to mix-things-up encouraging guests to mingle. Enjoy conversing with someone new!
2. "Keep All Uncooked Joints off the Table": Great advice from Mae West, a woman who knew a thing or two about hosting a get-together. No elbows (or handbags, or mobile devices) on the table, please. Keep your area around your plate service friendly if you are eating out, making less room for accidents to occur.
3. Get Silverware Savvy: These rules haven’t changed; work from the outside in, silverware-wise, and cut only one piece of food at a time. Eat with your mouth closed, chew, swallow, repeat. Now is a nice time to use the napkin on your lap to capture any uninvited food particles before you snap that next selfie!
4. Remember B.M.L.: Bread, Meal, Liquids / Left, Middle, Right — it's that simple. Breaking bread has never been so stylish, but remember to enjoy small, bite-size pieces and butter as needed. Never pick up the whole uncut roll or bread slice, and don't forget to pass the butter.
5. Cover Your … Seat: Leaving the table? The golden rule: place your napkin on the chair as you push your chair in during meal time. This small but important action goes a long way. Staff can navigate often tight spaces better without having to move furniture while carrying full service trays. Guests may not notice the askew chair and trip, causing embarrassment for both parties.
This article was originally published on December 8, 2014.