Everyday Etiquette: Holiday Table Manners

by Diane Gottsman

For many of us, the spring holidays bring to a close the big-holiday-dinner-at-grandma's season. There's just enough time for a quick review of holiday table manners.

  • By the age of 3, the words "Please," "Thank You" and "You're Welcome" should be familiar and user friendly.

  • Fingers are only used for finger food - unless you are a toddler. Corn on the cob, ribs, chicken legs and pizza are all appropriate to eat with your fingers at any age. However, don't lick your fingers or the knife while enjoying your meal.

  • Napkins are for the lap, not folded inside the front collar of your shirt or tucked into the waistband of your pants.

  • Salt and pepper are married. If asked to pass one, the other must go along for the ride.

  • Don't smack, gobble or talk with your mouth full.

  • Table Manners
  • You never want to be the first or the last to finish the meal so keep pace with others.

  • Take one piece of bread from the basket. Break off one small piece at a time and eat it. Do not butter the whole roll and eat it two-fisted like you would a sandwich.

  • When you have your plate of food in front of you, wait until the host has picked up her napkin and begun to eat. Even children must show patience unless they are in a highchair and screaming.

  • If you are wearing a tie, it is not appropriate to shove it into your shirt, between two buttons or sling it over one shoulder.

  • Always ask to be excused from the table.

  • Don't forget to thank your host for a very nice meal.