Our 15 Tips for Christmas Dinner Etiquette

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Following from our fabulous 1st Time Christmas Dinner Diary where Ally is hosting her first ever Christmas Dinner for the ‘in-laws’ we’ve been talking about the dos and don’ts of Christmas Dinner Etiquette as a guest and host.

The host should always serve dinner to the ladies of the table first, showing good manners and Etiquette. Start by serving dinner to the lady directly right of the host. Mouth manners are important! Christmas Dinner isn’t a time for talking with your mouthful, talking over guests or picking at bits of turkey stuck in your teeth.
Don’t use the wrong knife and fork! Rule of thumb… work from the outside in with cutlery... you don’t want to be left eating your Turkey with a dessert fork! Don’t start your dinner before the host has indicated to do so.
Ban Apples and Blackberries… not the fruit but the phones. Good protocol for any dinner party, but at Christmas that ‘essential’ email or must read ‘tweet’ can wait an hour. Bring a bottle. Whether it is fruit juice or wine, it shows you are thoughtful. Dress up with a nice bit of tissue paper and a gift tag so it doesn’t look like you’ve got it from the local petrol station.
Don’t butter your bread. A tip my Nan gave me when I was invited to a posh awards event. Place the butter on the bread plate first and butter a mouthful at a time. Don’t cut the bread roll either, tear or break it. Elbows, Knees and Back? No elbows at the table, napkin on the knee and don’t lean back into the chair. All good posture and positions to show you are engaged in the meal and evening.
You’ll be crackers to get it wrong. 5 People at a table and a cracker each doesn’t divide by 2 easily. On this occasion we recommend you pull the cracker with the person on your direct left and no one is missed out and everyone gets a chance. Dress for the host and the meal. For ladies a dress or skirt combined with some heels would go splendidly. For the gentlemen, the finest shirt and trousers. Christmas Dinner is the time for festive smart, not Christmas party casual.
Don’t tuck the napkin into your collar. Despite the desire to not get cranberry sauce or gravy down yourself, don’t tuck your napkin into your top. Simply place on your right knee and if you make a mess down your shirt, laugh it off. For the hosts, make sure you have some soda to hand for guests to dab down any slops or spills. Be polite and diplomatic, even if you don’t like something served up try a little and leave the rest. No one wants to hear you ‘don’t like roast parsnips’ after 4 hours of cutting, boiling and roasting.
Bread is not a tool to mop up gravy. If you are lucky enough to get Christmas Yorkshire Puddings or a bread roll, don’t wipe up the plate with them. Make a point of thanking the host and hostess for their hospitality before leaving

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