Monday Manners: Holiday Dining Tips

Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman with the Protocol School of Texas has tips for adults and kids as we get together with friends and family for the holidays.

Here's Diane's 20 Holiday Dining Tips for Adults and Kids

  1.  Know which water glass belongs to you. (Demonstrate the B and D rule and how to set a place setting.)
  2. Women should avoid hanging their purse on the back of the chair. (No purse clips either!)
  3. Sit where you place card is located. (Avoid switching the order of seating around to sit next to your favorite aunt.)
  4. Men keep their ties down, not flung over their shoulder. (Formal meals the suit jacket remains on.)
  5. Cell phones should be placed on silent and invisible. (Avoid technology at the holiday table.)
  6. Wait for the host to be seated before touching your napkin or preparing your tea. (It's a polite gesture of respect.)
  7. Napkin etiquette: When leaving the table during the meal, place your napkin on your chair and push the chair back under the table.
  8. Holiday Welcome Toast:  Does not require a clink. (Raise the glass to the center of the table. However, you would never refuse a "clink".)
  9. Don't toast to yourself. (If  your name is mentioned and you are being toasted, put your glass down and don't drink until after the toast is over.)
  10. Cut only one piece of food at a time. (Demonstrate how to cut the food - "knife behind fork" in gliding motion.)
  11. A dinner roll should be eaten one bite at a time. (Break apart and butter one piece at a time.)
  12. Don't season food before tasting. (Always take a taste before.)
  13. Salt and pepper are committed travel partners. (They are passed together around the table.)
  14. Never ask for ketchup or steak sauce. (Appears as if you need to mask the taste of the food.)
  15. Spaghetti is never cut up or twirled with a spoon. (Only twirl with a fork and bring to mouth.)
  16. Gristle and bone are removed with the index finger and thumb. (Place the foreign object discreetly on the plate.)
  17. A cough or a sneeze should be directed into your left shoulder, shielded by your left hand, keeping your right hand germ free.
  18. Offer to help the host clear the table.
  19. At the end of the night, don't ask for a "to go" bag unless offered by the host.
  20. Send a thank you note the next day.