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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Minding your Manners during Holiday Meals

I'd recently caught up with etiquette instructor, Elena Brouwer (who has some mildly entertaining--if not terrific--videos on YouTube) and while we chatted, the topic of 'holiday etiquette' came up; read on for a lesson from the instructor herself...

Elena Brouwer--
bastion of etiquette
Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas dinner and New Year's celebrations... so many and all centered around food and drinks!

Other than enjoying my time with clients, friends and relatives, I find it fascinating, as an etiquette consultant, to see how people react and (sometimes) misbehave during the season. 

My recommendations:

  • When invited to someone's house, always bring a present. A good bottle of wine, nicely wrapped, with instructions for the host/hostess to enjoy at another time. 
  • If you choose to bring flowers, bring it in a vase. Hosts are busy enough tending to the guests and should not have to stop to look for [a vase]. Better yet, send flowers ahead of time. 
  • Avoid drinking in excess; alcohol--that truth serum--will make you say and do things you will regret. (Food overindulgence is also noticed by others.)
  • When an invite is issued just for you, don't assume you can bring a date or friends. 
  • If you are coming from out of town, stay in a hotel (close by); your hosts need time to recuperate and you'll be able to enjoy the freedom of coming and going as you please. 
  • During a holiday dinner, your hosts may ask you to take food home; wait until the meal is over before you start filling up those food care packages! 
  • Restaurant holiday meals need to be planned carefully by the host; pick the menu, choose the wines (ahead of time) and set a timetable for the duration of the meal. 
  • As a nice touch, send a thank you note to your hosts shortly after the event. 


THE purpose of having good manners is to make everyone around you enjoy your presence; your poise will be tested under pressure!

Enjoy your holidays! 

Elena Brouwer is an international etiquette consultant who travels the world to make it a nicer place to live with good manners. Elena may be contacted by email at: elena@etiquettecentre.com or by phone at: 954.921.0565/866.946.5684 toll free.
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