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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Good Manners for the Holidays

Dec 14, 2011 12:00AM

by Elise McVeigh

The Holiday Season is a perfect opportunity to teach and practice manners. Where to start?  Always start in a place that many families neglect to go – the dining room table.

Here are some things to review with the family this holiday season:

  • Do not sit down until the hostess sits, or until you are told to sit.
  • Put your napkin on your lap first thing. If you have to get up put your napkin on your chair.
  • Do not take your first bite until the hostess takes her first bite.
  • Do not chew with your mouth open, or talk with food in your mouth.
  • Discuss appropriate conversation at the table.
  • Do not interrupt others.
  • Do not ask to be excused until everyone is finished eating.
  • At the end of the meal, thank the person who cooked it.
  • Place your napkin folded next to your plate before leaving the table.
  • Offer to clear the table.
  • Before the holidays discuss appropriate responses when receiving gifts.

Review and role-play as often as possible before and during the holiday season. You and your children will feel more comfortable and confident when they are put in social settings all year round.

Elise McVeigh is the Etiquette Expert for Barbie Princess Charm School DVD, as well as a contributor to