Holiday Manners

Television Segment on Charlotte Today with Aimee Symington on Manners for the Holidays. Click HERE.


Imagine you’re at a holiday party… are you confidently working the room meeting and greeting everyone? Are your children confidently shaking hands and looking at adults in the eyes when talking to them? Is your spouse making polite conversation during dinner and dining like a diplomat? Or, are you feeling awkward about talking to people, are your children playing on their iPhones ignoring everyone, and is your husband eating with his elbows on the table and napkin tucked into his shirt?

Holidays can be stressful enough without having to worry about your family embarrassing you with their lack of manners or social graces, or by making an awkward etiquette blunder yourself! Here are the top 5 etiquette tips to help you and your family handle social situations with ease, make a better impression on others, and make you socially savvy this holiday season. Mind your holiday manners!

  1. Use Cell Phones and Social Media Wisely. During a meal remember to put your cell phone on vibrate and put it away someplace other than on the table. When you’re shopping, don’t talk on your phone while at the check-out register. If you’re talking to someone in person, please don’t answer a text or phone call while in the middle of your conversation. Do not post pictures or video that might embarrass someone or make them feel bad. Realize that if you post a picture of the great party you went to others might feel bad if they weren’t invited!


  1. Remember POLITE Table Manners.

¨       P – Pass food to the right and the salt and pepper together.

¨       O – Only eat once everyone has been seated, has their food, and the host begins.

¨       L – Learn to use the silverware properly for either the American or Continental style of eating. Use your utensils from the outside of the plate working in, and remember that your bread plate is on your left and your drink is on your right with this little trick. Make a “b” (for bread) with your left hand and a “d’ (for drink) with your right by raising your index finger and making a circle with the others.

¨       I – Insist that others do not bring their cell phone to the table, burp at the table, or chew with their mouth open. If you make these rules make sure that you follow them too!

¨       T – The table is not for arms or elbows if there is any food on the table.

¨       E – Encourage your children to make polite conversation during dinner.


  1. Make a Good Impression. Children and adults can make a great impression when they greet others with a firm handshake, smile, give eye contact, and say their full name and, “It’s nice to meet you.” Making polite conversation is also extremely important to build rapport so ask questions of others, listen, and answer questions completely without talking too much about yourself. Think of a conversation like a volleyball game. A good conversation goes back and forth over the net with each person answering a question then asking one in return.


  1. Show Your Gratitude. This might be the most important tip, because the basis of holiday manners is showing gratitude and respect for the loved ones around you, seeing as that is what this season is all about. So, when attending a party always bring a small gift to the host. Send a hand-written thank you note for gifts you receive and encourage children to write their own thank-you notes.  Show your appreciation to teachers, bus drivers, your garbage collector etc. by giving them a small gift, something homemade, or a personalized card. The holiday season is also a good time to be grateful for all that we have. Take this opportunity to give back to others in need and encourage your children to get involved as well.


  1. Impress at the Holiday Party. Place your name tag on your right side so that when you shake hands all someone has to do is look up your arm and read your name. Hold your drink in your left hand so that you are free to shake hands without a wet cold hand.  Eat before you go to a cocktail party so you can concentrate on the people at the party and not the shrimp cocktail. It also helps to have something in your stomach before you drink too much! If bringing kids, tell them ahead of time what is expected so that they have nice manners at the party (saying please and thank you, not running around, etc.) and even bring something for them to eat if they’re a picky eater so the hostess doesn’t have to make them something special.


Having nice manners, especially holiday manners, is really about making others feel at ease, respected, and good about themselves. Teaching children to have nice manners will help them to have more self-confidence when they are praised for their nice manners, it will give them more respect for others and themselves, and it will ultimately help them to have more friends and be more successful throughout their lifetime.


Television Segment on Charlotte Today with Aimee Symington on Manners for the Holidays. Click HERE.

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