A guide to good table manners this Christmas
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Christmas is here! Before the attack on cookies and the cooks’ brunch, take a moment to brush up on your dining etiquette.
Even if you have learned it all before, a quick refresher course will help you feel confident and in control before breaking bread. Here’s how to mind your manners at the dinner table this Christmas.
Place your napkin on your lap
As soon as you sit down, put your napkin in your lap. Napkins are usually folded in a basic square shape. Unfold it to make a rectangle and place it on your lap. If you need to leave the table during the meal, lay your napkin on your seat (not on the table) until you return.
If you are keen on opening that champagne bottle on the table don't even think about doing the funny thing of letting it fly across the room.
Hold the bottle firmly, peel the foil off around the cork, unscrew the wire cage and remove it, hold the cork, and twist the bottle carefully. This way you will get a gentler sound from the bottle, and less overspill. Once you have filled glasses for everybody – helping yourself last – put it in an ice bucket to chill.
Cut your food
Cut your food – or if eating a roll or bread, break it into bite-sized pieces. Don't force huge hunks of food into your mouth.
Salt and pepper are always a pair
If someone asks you to pass the salt, make sure to pass the pepper too. This is an age-old tradition with conflicting stories of how and why it came to be. No matter the origin, be sure to always pass this tabletop duo together.
Don’t answer the phone
Texting and taking calls during dinner is an all-too-common table etiquette mistake, but seriously: refrain. Christmas is a special occasion. Turn your phone on silent (or at least vibrate) and focus on the people you are eating dinner with.
Wiping your mouth
Don't wipe your mouth with your hand or the back of your wrist when you are finished. Use your napkin. That’s what it is for.