Congratulations, you’ve almost made it through your first full week of the holiday season. How are you feeling? Hopefully you’re not too overwhelmed yet. But in case you are, just try thinking about all the good food you’ll get to eat soon! We’re sure that will help soothe your nerves.
However, when it comes to a holiday feast, it’s not just the food that makes the meal. It’s spending time with family and friends and just generally being in good company with one another. But sometimes, it’s hard to enjoy people’s company, especially when dinner guests or a dinner host throws their manners out the window.
That’s why there’s etiquette! Implementing a little holiday dinner etiquette into your next gathering can go a very long way. It can also make the food and the laughter last longer.
So whether you’re a guest or the one in charge, here are a few etiquette tips to make your next holiday affair run a little bit smoother!
For The People
1. Be Nice– It sounds like the easiest rule in the book, but in actuality, it’s not. Between shopping, working, and taking care of one’s family, the holidays can be really stressful for some people. So it’s totally understandable that some people will come to the table stressed. However, don’t take out your frustrations on others; that will ruin your experience. At the core of all holiday traditions, the most important one is spending time with loved ones. So when you come to dinner, take a deep breath, relax, and smile. Nothing lasts forever, and your problems will pass in the blink of an eye. So take the time to talk to family and enjoy one another at a holiday gathering, don’t let chaos get in the way.
2. Sharing Is Caring- Dinner is wonderful, food is wonderful, but hogging is not. Back in elementary school, when everyone had birthday parties, there use to be a rule where everyone gets their share. Then, if there was enough, people could go back and get seconds. Well, that same rule can be applied to a holiday feast as well. Out of courtesy it’s always best to wait for everyone to get their plate before going back yourself and getting seconds (or thirds, or fourths). It shows that you’re compassionate and you want others to enjoy themselves. So before you go back for another slice of grandma’s famous cheesecake, make sure you let others get a chance to try it as well.
3. Check Before You Bake– This one’s for the hosts. Before you cook up all your “yummies,” make sure you have enough to fill everyone’s tummy. Now that doesn’t mean that you have go out and send an R.S.V.P for Christmas dinner, but at least try to get a rough head count ahead of time of how many people will most likely be in attendance for the meal. That way, not only will you have enough food, but you’ll be able to budget out correctly how much money you have to spend to buy everything that’s needed. It’s a win-win situation and no stomach gets left behind.
For The Food
1. Pleasing Everyone’s Taste Buds- There’s always going to be a Turkey, or in some cases, a ham or a roast. But it’s what accompanies the Turkey that’s really important. No two people are alike and neither are their taste buds. Some people prefer to eat certain foods, while some have to avoid them due to food allergies. So when you make your meal, take that into consideration and try to make something that will appeal to everyone. Typically it’s best to serve something that’s nut-free, vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten free. That way you’ll have a little something for everyone.
2. Presentation– Nine times out of ten, food always looks perfect on a table just the way it is. Especially when the people looking at it haven’t eaten yet. However, there’s always ways to make a good thing great! And when it comes to food presentation, some people just want their food to look nice. But sometimes, they don’t know how. So when in doubt, pull white trays out. The color white goes with any color, so no matter the food, it’s bound to look nice laid out on a nice polished white tray. And if you want to spruce the presentation up a step more, try laying out fresh herbs or sprigs as garnish around the tray. It just gives the entree a nice fresh and finished look.
For The Dinner Table
1. Squares and Circles– Some people like to have dinner at a round table and others like a rectangular one. But no matter which one you choose, just make sure you have one with enough elbow room for your guests and enough space for the food. Typically it’s best to have a rectangular table that seats 6-7 people or a round table that seats 8.
* note: Some people may even set up the food on a separate buffet style table to allow more room at the dinner table.
2. The Kiddie Table– We all know what it is. It’s the table that you had to sit at for the first 12 years of your life at any holiday dinner. But though you probably didn’t like it as a child, you come to appreciate it as an adult. If you know you’re going to have a fair amount of little ones at dinner, it’s normally a pretty good idea to have a table designated just for them to eat at. That way, you can keep all the spills and thrills in one place and it will be easier to clean up after everyone has finished. It’s also good if you plan on serving any type of alcoholic beverage, like wine, with dinner. That way, no one has to worry about anyone drinking anything they shouldn’t because it won’t be on the table.
So with that, we wish you all the best of luck with all your holiday dinner endeavors and of course, Happy Holidays!