The Gift of Good Manners
The holiday season is a time for
celebration and gift giving. To insure a good time is had by all, there
can be no better gift than the gift of good manners™. No child is too
young begin the learning process of civility and no adult is too old to
refresh one's social skills.
Practicing a few simple rules, in advance, will guarantee that the
guests as well as the hosts will feel comfortable and relaxed at the
Understanding the reason why a rule is, in fact, a rule can be helpful
when teaching a young child. As early as possible engage young children
to participate in the process. Children will learn by watching and
doing! Take the time to set the table correctly. Designate one day a
week for each child to set the table. Have a private tea party to make
learning not only educational but fun.
Why must hands be
washed before sitting at the table?
Dining is a shared, social experience. To keep germs off of the
tableware and out of one's mouth clean hands are a must.
Why, when seated,
does the napkin go on the lap?
The napkin is place on one's lap to protect one's clothes from
Why can't I talk with
food in my mouth?
The first reason is a piece of food could slip down your throat
causing you to choke.
Second, is it is very unpleasant to look at another with food in
Third, when one's mouth is full, one cannot properly pronounce
their words, making it difficult to be understood by others.
Always chew with your mouth closed. Never chew gum at the table.
Why is it rude to
interrupt when someone else is speaking?
In a social setting everyone must have their turn to speak.
Unless another is literally monopolizing the conversation, it is
indeed very rude to interrupt another. Wait until there is a
pause in the conversation to join in.
If you have a tendency to be shy, in advance, prepare a few
topics of conversation. Avoid religion and politics, unless you
wish to see fireworks!
How do I eat soup?
Soup is often a holiday favorite that may be enjoyed by even the
youngest children. If a very young child is old enough to hold a
cup, but has not yet mastered the spoon, ask your host to serve
the soup in a cup.
Soup served in a bowl is easy to master, simply hold the spoon
at the six o'clock position and slowly sweep the liquid forward
towards the twelve o'clock position. Always sweep away from the
body to avoid spills.
What does R.S.V.P. mean
at the bottom of an invitation?
Respondez s'il vous plait is French for Respond, if you please.
Whether your answer is yes or no, always respond promptly to an
invitation, preferably in writing, but at the very least by
Do not ask to bring extra guests unless the invitation indicates
otherwise. Always ask permission from your host in advance if
you intend to bring someone. No surprises please.
If I do not know
anyone at the party, without feeling awkward, how do I join in
A good host to make you feel comfortable should make the effort
to introduce you to a few people. However, if you are left to
your own devises, first observe the room. Look to see who
seems to be a friendly group. Walk over and say "hello, my
name is ____. You seem to be having the most fun, do you mind
if I join you?" If they say they are engaged in private
conversation or turnout to be not as friendly as originally
thought, move on to another group.
You can also ask the host to introduce you to someone friendly.
At a seated affair it is easier, simply introduce yourself to
the person on both your left, right and across from your place
Is it necessary to
bring a gift to the person giving the party?
Bringing a gift to your host is not mandatory, but a nice
gesture to show your appreciation.
However, do not expect your gift to be used or displayed at the
What should I do if
my child becomes loud or obstreperous at the party or table?
First try to quiet your child. Remind your child to use their
If your child cannot behave, say excuse me and quietly remove
the child from the room or table until they calm down. In
drastic circumstances, it may become necessary for you to excuse
your family and leave the party/table altogether.
When and how does one
thank one's host?
Always call your host the next day to say thank you. A written
note should follow.
While not obligatory, especially if a host gift was already
given, if within your budget, sending a thank you bouquet of
flowers is a welcome gesture.