‘Tis the season for holiday cheer and holiday manners. The month of December is full of excitement and anticipation. You are likely to attend several festivities. One of these events might even require you to utilize proper dining etiquette. Keep reading to brush up on your dining manners just in time for your big holiday meal.


Silverware tends to be tricky for many, but it does not have to be. When enjoying a meal with several courses, always use silverware starting from the outside and working your way in, towards the plate. When you are no longer using a utensil, such as a knife, let it rest on the edge of your plate, it should never return to the table or table cloth. Always be aware of how you are utilizing your utensils. Be fluid in your motions and not aggressive. For example, a knife should never be used to “saw” a piece of meat, rather make delicate, strategic cuts.


Another key element of table manners that we often forget is which way to pass the bread. Remember, right is always right. This means that you should receive the dish from the left and pass the dish to the neighboring guest on your right side. It is also important to remember that your water glass is also on your right side. This is important to note so that you don’t make the common mistake of taking a sip from the wrong glass. Again, right is always right!


While many say that food is the number one thing that can bring people together, the power of a fruitful conversation is also quite significant. Be sure to avoid initiating conversations that are politically charged or emphasize sensitive topics such as money. This could easily create a controversial environment that should be avoided at all costs at a holiday dinner. Rather, address topics such as how work is going or how family (remove) particular family members are doing. Most of the time, when attempting to be a good guest, it is more important to listen rather than speak.


A subject that the NLJC curriculum heavily emphasizes is the use of cell phones, or any other device for that matter, at the table. While it is becoming more and more difficult to detach from technology, doing so says a lot to your guests. Putting the phone and the rest of the world beyond the phone down says that the people that you are with matter more than the people on the screen on your phone. Additionally, doing so also sets a good example for the children that are around.


Because the holidays are a very lively and exhilarating time of year, in some cases it is appropriate to offer up a toast. While this may be intimidating, by being confident and prepared, you will display your wit and deliver and excellent toast. Read more about doing this in a previous blog, Tips and Tricks for Giving and Excellent Toast.


The National League of Junior Cotillions® would like to wish you a joyful holiday filled with proper dining etiquette and happy new year of minding your manners.