Holiday etiquette: Do’s and don’ts around the holiday table {Video}

By | November 25, 2013 | Holidays & Entertaining

Holiday etiquette: Do’s and don’ts around the holiday table {Video}

This morning, I briefly spoke with etiquette expert Diane Gottsman and Kathie Lee and Hoda on the Today Show! I had the opportunity to ask a question about do’s and don’ts around the holiday table.

I’ve lived far away from my family ever since I graduated from college. Like many of you, our closest friends have become like family.

Here is my question to Diane:

If I hosted a dinner at my home for several families with young children, should the children be seated at a kids’ table or should everyone (kids and parents) eat together?

I love the idea of having a kids’ table. My friends and family usually have a separate table for the kids at most of our gatherings. While I think the kids could benefit from practicing their table manners with their parents, I think most of the parents would like to socialize with just parents at the adult table.

Watch this segment to see how Diane replied as she offers several tips on holiday etiquette.

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Holiday etiquette: Do's and don'ts around the holiday table {Video} | The Momiverse | Diane Gottsman, Kathie Lee and Hoda | The TODAY Show

Some of the tips Diane shared with Kathie Lee and Hoda include:

  • Don’t place your napkin on your lap until the host or hostess does so first.
  • Bring a hostess gift when you attend a cocktail party or dinner to show that you’re excited about coming and grateful for the invitation.

»   Don’t bring a chilled bottle of wine or champagne, because that indicates you’d like it to be served that evening and it’s not a gift for the hostess to keep.
»   Don’t bring scented hand cream. You might think it smells great, but the hostess might think it’s stinky.
»   If you bring flowers, have them delivered or placed in a vase ahead of time, so the host or hostess doesn’t have to cut and arrange the flowers during the party.
»   A thoughtful hostess gift might include something like monogrammed napkins which show thoughtfulness and planning ahead.

  • If your gathering has children in attendance, seating them at a kids’ table is fine as long as there are a number of children in attendance. You don’t want to ostracize one or two kids by making them sit alone. The kids’ table should be set up beautifully and include age appropriate items such as butcher paper and crayons. Make sure the children’s food is cut up accordingly so parents won’t have to keep jumping back and forth between the kids’ and parents’ tables.
  • If you’d like to bring a pet to someone’s home for a holiday gathering, it’s best to call ahead and ask permission. However, it’s probably best if you find a pet sitter who can lovingly watch your pet while you’re attending the dinner.
  • If you’re thinking about bringing a dish to the gathering, call the hostess first to ask what you can bring or whether she’d even like you to bring anything. If she’s already planned out her menu and says you don’t need to bring anything, honor her request. If you are the one hosting and a guest brings a dish, graciously thank your guest and place the dish with the others to be served.
  • The correct way to pass food around the table is to the right. Start training your kids now and make it a habit!

Have a question about the do’s and don’ts around the holidays, when it comes to kids? Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman will join Kathie Lee and Hoda for another upcoming segment. Submit your question!

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Charmin Calamaris

Charmin is a wife, mom of two boys and creator of the Momiverse. The Momiverse is an online magazine for busy moms (is there any other kind?) dedicated to helping moms make time – and take time – for themselves. She traded in her career in land use planning and environmental policy to become Chief Executive Navigator of the Momiverse. You can connect with Charmin in her "online office" on Twitter or Facebook.

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skconcepts November 25, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Charmin, such a helpful piece and you look great on TV!

themomiverse November 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm

skconcepts Thanks so much, Suzanna! I flubbed a bit with the delay on Skype, but had so much fun. The producer and tech team at the TODAY Show are really awesome!