Oh, Behave!

A pre-holiday manners makeover to help get you ready to gather around the family table

Cousin Eddie is chewing loudly. The turkey is burnt and the Jello mold has melted. It is dinner with the Griswold’s again this holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be. Quick and easy table manners can be remembered for a smoother holiday gathering around the family table.Banish the cell phone Have a basket or box handy to collect all technology devices. Use the time around the table to talk, laugh, and share. Remember to enjoy the moment and communicate with the people sitting across from you. The Facebook post, the Twitter update, and the Instagram photo can wait till later.Make the B.M.W. shine The table is set with the bread on your left, the meal in the center, and the wine or water glass on your right. Napkins should be placed in your lap. Silverware is used from the outside in, so your table should be set from left to right: salad fork, entree fork, plate, knife (sharp edges inward), and spoon.Butter betterButter the bread without drowning the biscuit. Use the butter knife to place a slice of butter on your plate, not directly on your biscuit. Don’t slop the entire biscuit with butter; you only butter one bite at a time.Wait to eatNever begin eating until everyone is seated and has been served at the table. The host or hostess will pick up his or her fork and that is your cue to do the same. Food dishes are passed around the table from left to right and kindly take your fair share. After everyone has been served, you can help yourself to an additional serving.Think of your plate as a clock. When the meal is done, your fork and knife should be gathered together and placed at the “five o’clock” position on your plate. This signals to the host and other guests that you have finished your meal.Most importantly, the holidays are a time for giving thanks, sharing with one another, and being joyful with everyone invited to the table.