Friday, February 22, 2008

Etiquette for MEN
Technology begets rudeness
But etiquette author suggests maybe we're waking up to our own boorish selves
By BEVERLY KEELCelebrity Columnist Tennessean

The technology that makes some of our daily tasks easier also provides more opportunities for rudeness, according to a Nashville etiquette author.

"We've got technology that allows us to be rude, and we don't even realize how rude we're being," said John Bridges, author of numerous books on manners, including How To Be a Gentleman, which has been published in about a dozen languages. "I hope that people wouldn't go around being intentionally rude no matter what, but I think that we don't understand how rude we are being when we send off a really flip e-mail. Just don't send an angry e-mail; please think twice before you hit 'send' if you are not in a good mood.

"There seems to be an appetite for such advice, perhaps because Bridges presents it in such a non-threatening way, said Pamela Clements, publisher of Thomas Nelson General Interest and Lifestyle. "His writing style and voice are funny, and it's like a more urbane friend who is giving you the secret handshake. It's almost like bringing you into the club: 'Here are the things you need to know,' and people love it."

Concerned about behavior
Bridges, who served as Nashville's director of cultural affairs for eight years, released How To Be a Gentleman in 1998, and it has sold about 250,000 copies. Bridges and collaborator Bryan Curtis also have written books in the Gentlemanners series — including A Gentleman Gets Dressed Up, A Gentleman Entertains and Toasts and Tributes — that also includes lady-themed contributions from writers Kay West, Candace Simpson-Giles and Sheryl Shade. The series, which is approaching sales of 1.5 million, is available in Joseph A. Banks Clothier and Crane's Stationery stores. Brooks Brothers and Dillard's have released the books with custom covers.

"People really are concerned about their behavior more than you think they are," he said. "We've gone through a couple of generations, or at least one long generation, where all of this discussion and a lot of the training in terms of conduct and etiquette and just general courtesy just went away. Now people are beginning to realize, 'I don't know this and I want to know it.' They get worried about what they are going to do when they go out to a restaurant, either on a social occasion or for a business lunch or dinner.

"Bridges recently finished writing the second edition of How To Be a Gentleman, which will be released this spring, and he discovered he had plenty of new topics to address, including e-mail and cell phone etiquette and the fad of untucked shirts, baseball caps indoors and low-hanging jeans, as well as the changes in smoking policies and travel.

Of course, the basics remain the same, such as how to use the proper silverware or make an introduction.

Few classy models

So what is a gentleman in 2008?"

People do think that it's an outmoded thing and that you have to be Cary Grant to be a gentleman," Bridges, 57, said. "A Cary Grant is more a matter of style and savoir faire and flair. The basic rule of being a gentleman doesn't change: A gentleman is somebody who knows how to be there when he's needed and gets out of the way the rest of the time.

"It's about trying to be helpful and being considerate of others. It's not about wearing the most expensive clothes in the world. It's about making sure your clothes are neat and clean so that you don't offend somebody else. It's not about spending a bunch of money or knowing what fork to use. But it's about caring about doing the right thing."

Quite simply, a gentleman is a nice guy.

The younger generation may have difficulty determining what appropriate behavior should be because there are so many celebrities acting so badly so often. It's not that celebrities behave worse than their famous predecessors, but that now their every action is caught on tape, Bridges said. This perpetuates the notion that rudeness in acceptable.

"I am so tired of seeing the bare abdomens of 16-year-old girls and the underwear of 16-year-old boys because they're wearing their pants so low," he said. "That is simply because that's what they've seen from the celebrities on the fronts of magazines."

Despite the renewed interest in etiquette and behavior, Bridges said, society is at a disturbing time in terms of rudeness. "It won't get any better if people don't start paying attention to it. Let me make it clear: It's not a class thing; it doesn't matter what part of town you are in. It's a mind-set.

"I do know that people seem to be concerned about it. It does appear in many ways (that) people truly don't know how to behave in the simplest and most basic sorts of ways. That is very tough to change or teach. That is saying, 'This is what it means to be courteous to other people.' "

John Bridges' current pet peeve is inappropriate cell phone usage, which often feels inescapable in today's society. He said the moment a plane lands, passengers make a cell phone call, or remain on the phone after the flight attendant announces that all phones must be turned off. Recently Bridges was in a doctor's waiting room where a young woman talked on her phone for 30 minutes, despite a sign saying that all calls should be made in the hall."It's a basic lack of consideration for other people and a basic lack of self discipline," he said. He said a gentleman should not use his cell phone:

• While driving;
• In church or during a theater performance, movie or concert;
• At a table in a restaurant of any kind, from fast food to first class;
• In the waiting or examination rooms of a doctor's office;
• While standing in line in stores, the post office or where others would find themselves trapped as an unwilling witness to the conversation;
• In an elevator if others are present who aren't friends or co-workers.
Etiquette expert John Bridges said some people don't want to hear his advice on proper fashion and behavior in today's society. Here are some opinions that have generated disagreement or misunderstanding:
• A gentleman should wear an undershirt to absorb sweat. "People say, 'I don't sweat,' " he said. "Well, you don't know if you sweat or not. Years ago, when Al Gore was announcing Joe Lieberman as his running mate in Nashville, which was so hot, the next day The New York Times said, 'Clearly Mr. Lieberman had remembered to wear an undershirt and Mr. Gore had not.' People notice."
• This undershirt should be tucked into a man's under wear so that he won't reveal skin if he squats, Bridges said. "People say, I don't want to go around sticking my T-shirt into my underwear. I'm not talking about your shirt."
• A gentleman should open a door for a woman. "I cannot believe that anybody would ever walk through a door and not look behind them to see if somebody else was coming to see if they could help, whether it's a man or woman. Men say that these days women don't want men to open doors for them, which simply is not true."
• Don't wear a suit that has cuffed pants with cowboy boots. "When I have an interview with someone from Texas or Oklahoma, they say, 'What do you mean?' There are boot-cut suits."
• A gentleman tips the appropriate amount for services rendered. For instance, car valets should be tipped $2-$3, or $5 or more if they've gone to great effort to park or retrieve your car. (If you only have $1, that is better than nothing, he said. There's also nothing wrong with asking a valet to make change for a larger bill.) "People don't like to be told what the appropriate amount is," he said. "They are concerned about it, but frequently they don't want to hear the answer."

— BEVERLY KEELBooks by John Bridges on Etiquette
Setting the Table

Remember that the utensils for each course are placed in the order served, from the outside in. This will eliminate any confusion for any guest.Your formal menu may not include a fish course and/or your tableware set may not include fish forks and knives. If there is not a fish course then don't put out the fish forks and knives. In the event there is a fish course, it is perfectly acceptable to substitute what you have such that there are utensils for each course.

"I'm always amazed at how many people don't know how to set a table," says Roseanna Robinson, director of Home Entertaining and Dining for The Pfaltzgraff Co. "We often intimidate guests by being too formal, yet some rules do apply." The following diagram shows a full-blown table setting for a fancy dinner party. Adjust it as necessary to fit your menu. "Remember to make your guests as comfortable as you can. Don't put out utensils that won't ever be used. If your menu doesn't include anything that would be eaten with a teaspoon, don't put teaspoons on the table. If you're planning to serve coffee and dessert afterward, bring out the teaspoons then," advises Robinson.

1. Napkin
2. Salad fork
3. Dinner fork
4. Dessert fork
5. Bread-and-butter plate, with spreader
6. Dinner plate
7. Dinner knife
8. Teaspoon
9. Teaspoon
10. Soup spoon
11. Cocktail fork
12. Water glass
13. Red-wine glass
14. White-wine glass
15. Coffee cup and saucer*

For an informal meal, include the coffee cup and saucer with the table setting. Otherwise, bring them to the table with the dessert.

Etiquette Everyday ~ Entertaining
Table Setting Guides

Setting a table is not as difficult as it seems. The basic rule is: Utensils are placed in the order of use, that is, from the outside in. A second rule, with only a few exceptions is: forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right.

Basic Place Setting > Description and diagram
For a basic table setting, here are two great tricks to help you – or your kids – remember the order of plates and utensils:

1. Picture the word “FORKS.” The order, left to right is: F for Fork, O for Plate (the shape!), K for Knives and S for Spoons. (Okay – you have to forget the r, but you get the idea!)
2. Holding your hands in front of you, touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your forefinergers to make a lower case ‘b’ with your left hand and a lower case ‘d’ with your right hand. This reminds you that ‘bread and butter’ go to the left of the place setting and ‘drinks’ go on the right. Emily Post could have used that trick – she was often confused about which bread and butter belonged to her—and sometimes she used her neighbor’s! In which case, when it was called to her attention, she would say to the dismayed lady or gentleman, “Oh, I am always mixing them up. Here, please take mine!”
3. Some other things to know:

o Knife blades always face the plate
o The napkin goes to the left of the fork, or on the plate
o The bread and butter plate and knife are optional

Informal Place Setting > Description and diagram
When an informal three-course dinner is served, the typical place setting includes these utensils and dishes:
Our illustration shows how a table would be set for the following menu: Soup course Salad or first course Entrée Dessert
a. Dinner plate: This is the ‘hub of the wheel’ and is usually the first thing to be set on the table. In our illustration, the dinner plate would be placed where the napkin is, with the napkin on top of the plate.
b. Two Forks: The forks are placed to the left of the plate. The dinner fork, the larger of the two forks, is used for the main course; the smaller fork is used for a salad or appetizer. The forks are arranged according to when you need to use them, following an ‘outside-in’ order. If the small fork is needed for an appetizer or a salad served before the main course, then it is placed on the left (outside) of the dinner fork; if the salad is served after the main course, then the small fork is placed to the right (inside) of the dinner fork, next to the plate.
c. Napkin: The napkin is folded or put in a napkin ring and placed either to the left of the forks or on the center of the dinner plate. Sometimes, a folded napkin is placed under the forks.
d. Dinner knife: The dinner knife is set immediately to the right of the plate, cutting edge facing inward. (If the main course is meat, a steak knife can take the place of the dinner knife.) At an informal meal, the dinner knife may be used for all courses, but a dirty knife should never be placed on the table, placemat or tablecloth.
e. Spoons: Spoons go to the right of the knife. In our illustration, soup is being served first, so the soupspoon goes to the far (outside) right of the dinner knife; the teaspoon or dessert spoon, which will be used last, goes to the left (inside) of the soupspoon, next to the dinner knife.
f. Glasses: Drinking glasses of any kind – water, wine, juice, ice tea – are placed at the top right of the dinner plate, above the knives and spoons.
Other dishes and utensils are optional, depending on what is being served, but may include:
g. Salad plate: This is placed to the left of the forks. If salad is to be eaten with the meal, you can forgo the salad plate and serve it directly on the dinner plate. However, if the entrée contains gravy or anything runny, it is better to serve the salad on a separate plate to keep things neater.
h. Bread plate with butter knife: If used, the bread plate goes above the forks, with the butter knife placed diagonally across the edge of plate, handle on the right side and blade facing down.
i. Dessert spoon and fork: These can be placed either horizontally above the dinner plate (the spoon on top with its handle facing to the right; the fork below with its handle facing left); or beside the plate. If placed beside the plate, the fork goes on the left side, closest to the plate (because it will be the last fork used) and the spoon goes on the right side of the plate, to the right of the dinner knife and to the left of the soupspoon.
j. Coffee cup and saucer: Our illustration shows a table setting that would be common in a restaurant serving a large number of people at once, with coffee being served during the meal. The coffee cup and saucer are placed above and to the right of the knife and spoons. At home, most people serve coffee after the meal. In that case the cups and saucers are brought to the table and placed above and to the right of the knife and spoons.

Formal Place Setting > Description and diagram
The one rule for a formal table is for everything to be geometrically spaced: the centerpiece at the exact center; the place settings at equal distances; and the utensils balanced. Beyond these placements, you can vary flower arrangements and decorations as you like.

The placement of utensils is guided by the menu, the idea being that you use utensils in an “outside in” order. For the illustrated place setting here, the order of the menu is:
Appetizer: Shellfish First Course: Soup or fruit Fish Course Entrée Salad

a. Service Plate: This large plate, also called a charger, serves as an underplate for the plate holding the first course, which will be brought to the table. When the first course is cleared, the service plate remains until the plate holding the entrée is served, at which point the two plates are exchanged. The charger may serve as the underplate for several courses which precede the entrée.
b. Butter plate: The small butter plate is placed above the forks at the left of the place setting.
c. Dinner fork: The largest of the forks, also called the place fork, it is placed on the left of the plate. Other smaller forks for other courses are arranged to the left or right of the dinner fork, according to when they will be used.
d. Fish fork: If there is a fish course, this small fork is placed farthest to the left of the dinner fork because it is the first fork used.
e. Salad fork: If salad is served after the entrée, the small salad fork is placed to the right of the dinner fork, next to the plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the forks would be arranged (left to right): salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.
f. Dinner knife: The large dinner knife is placed to the right of the dinner plate.
g. Fish knife: The specially shaped fish knife goes to the right of the dinner knife.
h. Salad knife: (Note: there is no salad knife in the illustration.) If used, according to the above menu, it would be placed to the left of the dinner fork, next to the dinner plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the knives would be arranged (left to right):dinner knife, fish knife, salad knife.
i. Soup spoon or fruit spoon: If soup or fruit is served as a first course, then the accompanying spoon goes to the right of the knives.
j. Oyster fork: If shellfish are to be served, the oyster fork is set to the right of the spoons. Note: It is the only fork ever placed on the right of the plate.
k. Butter knife: This small spreader is paced diagonally on top of the butter plate, handle on the right and blade down.
l. Glasses: These can number up to five and are placed so that the smaller ones are in front. The water goblet (la) is placed directly above the knives. Just to the right goes a champagne flute (lb); In front of these are placed a red (lc) and/or white (ld) wine glass and a sherry glass (le)
m. Napkin: The napkin is placed on top of the charger (if one is used) or in the space for the plate.

In general:
Knife blades are always placed with the cutting edge toward the plate.
No more than three of any implement is ever placed on the table, except when an oyster fork is used in addition to three other forks. If more than three courses are served before dessert, then the utensil for the fourth course is brought in with the food; likewise the salad fork and knife may be brought in when the salad course is served.

Dessert spoons and forks are brought in on the dessert plate just before dessert is served.
Dining and Table Manner Basics

Spaghetti Eating
You don't have to use the spoon. The spoon is there to help you wind the pasta onto your fork. Twirl the pasta with a fork either by rolling it around in the spoon or just use the fork alone, keeping the fork tip in contact with the plate.You wouldn't think that there would be a controversy about how to eat spaghetti. But, some are of the opinion that a spoon should not used and using a spoon is frowned upon in Italy. Some also feel that cutting spaghetti into small bite-sized pieces is not proper. However, it should be fine to cut the strands to shorten slightly before twirling.Slurping pasta is the only method that is never proper.The following links have opinions by others: and

Passing Dishes
When asked to pass a dish of food, it's okay to help yourself to some. While helping yourself, say something like, "I'll help myself to some now so that you won't have to pass it back to me". But, if there's not much left, then don't take the last helping; pass it to the person who requested the dish. Food dishes are passed from left to right (counterclockwise).

All About Napkins
If it was a large napkin, then it should be left folded in half. A small luncheon napkin can be fully opened.If eating properly, food should not be dropping onto one's lap. Napkins are really meant to dab crumbs or food from your mouth.

When leaving the table mid-meal, or between courses, place your napkin on the LEFT side of your plate, not on the chair. The waiter would only take your plate away if it looked like you had eaten all your meal, not because you were absent from the table for a moment.

Napkin rings are not necessary, but are fun ways to dress up a table. There are dozens of ways to display napkins, and it's a matter of personal taste. Napkins can go next to the plate, on the plate, or in a glass. Formal place settings often have the napkin folded to the left of the forks or on the plate.To see examples of many different ways to fold napkins and where to display them, see

If you were in a very formal restaurant where waiters are hovering nearby to tend to your every need, then let the waiter pick up the napkin for you. However, if the napkin was within arm's reach and you didn't have to get up to get it, then simply reach down and pick it up.

When finished dining, place the napkin neatly on the table, to the right side of the plate. Do not refold the napkin, but don't leave it crumpled up either.

Napkin etiquette experts say food taken out of the mouth should come out the way it went in. If you used a fork, then gently spit the food back onto the fork. If it's really chewed up and gross, then if you have a tissue, use that to spit into. If you need to get out a piece of fish bone, use your fingers. Napkins are supposed to be used to dab the corners of the mouth, never use it to blow one's nose (which should be done in the restroom). Also, never use it to wipe your face.

Although commonly seen in restaurants, applying lipstick at the dinner table is not proper etiquette. But, if you did it discretely, and took just a few seconds, then no harm was done. It's best that lipstick, face powder, blowing one's nose, teeth picking, or hair fussing should be performed in the privacy of a restroom.

Gristle is also deposited back onto the fork and placed at the edge of the plate. Done discretely, no one will notice the gristle removal nor the location of its deposit. Any food removed from the mouth is taken out the same way it was put in.

Chewing anything with the mouth open is not proper etiquette whether at the dinner table or not. Therefore, talking with something in one's mouth is not proper either.

When appetizers are served, everyone should have their own small plate on which to place any dip, chips, crackers, cheese, nuts, etc. That should take care of any double-dipping.

In a very formal restaurant, let the waiter pick it up for you. If it has fallen under the table and the waiter doesn't see it, let him know that you need another utensil. Otherwise, if it's within arm's reach, go ahead and pick it up and place it on the table away from your place settings. Let your waiter know that the utensil had fallen on the floor and that you need a clean one.

Lobster Eating
Unfortunately, eating lobster is messy, and there isn’t a nice and tidy way to crack the shells and remove the meat. In a restaurant, a bib will be provided when having lobster in order to protect your clothing because there will be inadvertent squirting when cracking.

There are two schools of thought about eating lobster. One is to eat the lobster meat immediately after cracking open each piece and the other is to wait until all the meat has been taken out of every piece and laid onto the plate.

If you want to gracefully eat lobster, then the latter is preferred. To elegantly dine on lobster in a nice restaurant, first remove all the meat, clean hands, and use a fork to dip each piece in the butter. For large lobster pieces, cut with a knife as you normally would cut meat. The process of cracking the lobster and removing meat does not take that long, probably about 5 minutes.

Typically, the lobster is cracked in the following order:

1. Claws: twist off the claws, crack the shell with the claw cracker, and remove the meat with the seafood fork. Discard the empty shells in the bowl provided.
2. Flippers: twist the lobster tail from the body. Break off the tail flippers, remove meat, and discard the flippers.
3. Lobster tail: insert a fork into the small end where the flippers had been and push the meat out through the large end. Discard the empty shell.
4. Small legs on body (Optional): if you plan to suck the meat out of the small legs, then break off each leg and place them on your plate. If you do not plan to eat the meat, then leave the legs on and discard with the body. Some prefer to skip the small legs in a restaurant as there is not much meat.
5. Tomalley: in the body, the mushy greenish-gray liver/pancreas should be discarded. Some consider it a delicacy; however, the liver accumulates dioxins and other environmental toxins and pollutants and may not be safe.
6. Roe: if you have a female lobster, you might see red roe or eggs which are considered a delicacy and can be eaten.
12 Basic Table Manners for kids

For informal dining situations, it's okay to rest an elbow on the table if you're not actually eating. But, if you're eating, then only rest the forearm or wrist on the edge of the table. One doesn't want to be hunched over their food. At formal functions, no elbows on the dining table.Tell your kids that table manners are more than about proper eating, it's about being kind and considerate of others. Also, tell them although you know that they are smart and nice, other people will judge them on how they appear. Having proper table manners is one way people judge others, and they wouldn't want people to think that they're yahoo's, do they?

Whether in a restaurant or in a home, here are some basic table manners to teach kids:

1. Eat with a fork unless the food is meant to be eaten with fingers. Only babies eat with fingers.

2. Don't stuff your mouth full of food, it looks gross, and they could choke.

3. Chew with your mouth closed. No one wants to be grossed out seeing food being chewed up or hearing it being chomped on. This includes no talking with your mouth full.

4. Don't make any rude comments about any food being served. It will hurt someone's feelings.

5. Always say thank you when served something. Shows appreciation.

6. If the meal is not buffet style, then wait until everyone is served before eating. It shows consideration.

7. Eat slowly, don't gobble up the food. Someone took a long time to prepare the food, enjoy it slowly. Slowly means to wait about 5 seconds after swallowing before getting another forkful.

8. When eating rolls, break off a piece of bread before buttering. Eating a whole piece of bread looks tacky.

9. Don't reach over someone's plate for something, ask for the item to be passed to you. Shows consideration.

10. Do not pick anything out of your teeth, it's gross. If it bothers you that bad, excuse yourself and go to the restroom to pick.

11. Always use a napkin to dab your mouth, which should be on your lap when not in use. Remember, dab your mouth only. Do not wipe your face or blow your nose with a napkin, both are gross. Excuse yourself from the table and go the restroom to do those things.

12. When eating at someone's home or a guest of someone at a restaurant, always thank the host and tell them how delicious it was, even if it wasn't. Again, someone took time, energy, and expense to prepare the food, show your appreciation.
Dinner Party Planning
Dinner Party Menus

What Course Do I Serve First? Should it be a Salad course, Pasta course, Soup course, cheese course?
1) An Amuse-Bouche, if used, should always be served first, followed by an appetizer course.
2) Alternate courses serving a heavy then a light course, e.g. cream soup (heavy), followed by a green salad (light), then a pasta course (heavy), etc, this gives the palate a chance to rest.
3) Always serve a citrus sorbet before the main entrée as a palate cleanser. Do not serve sweet sorbet in the middle of a dinner party, save this for a Dessert course.
4) Once you determine the order of your menu, write it down; refer to it in the kitchen so you will know what course to serve next.

My Unique tips - How To Serve Dinner Guests
1) Do not ‘pass the dish’. Plate up (arrange each food item on the plate before serving) ‘restaurant style’. This allows you to be creative decorating the plated food you have so carefully planned; it delights your guests to see their food arranged and presented so beautifully. 2) Determine ahead any additional plates, etc. will be needed. Use the "layering" system for each course if possible; use several plates of different colors and shapes to present a course. Put a note on each stack of dishes so you will know what course goes on what plates.
3) Make a list of all the foods to be on each plate. Many times I have omitted some foods, now I make a list. Don’t forget the garnish!
4) Serve no more than one-half cup servings per person for soup, salad or pasta courses. If portions are too large your guests will not have room for the beautiful dessert you have prepared.
5) When plating up, keep the rim of the plate clear of all food and garnishes. Think of the plate as a painting; an artist never paints the frame. Wipe smudges or spills with a damp cloth before serving.
6) Do not keep your dinner guests waiting too long between courses. If you have planned your dinner well, you will not have this problem.
7) Announce to your guests after serving what each course is naming a few of the ingredients; tell them a little about the wine you have chosen to accompany this course. This adds to the elegance of your dinner party; they will appreciate the information.
8) Serve women first, from the eldest to the youngest, and then serve the men, eldest to the youngest.
9) Serve food from the left; pick up empty plates from the right. Leave charger plates on the table.10) Ask a helper to pour the wine while you are serving the different courses.

1) Extend invitations one month in advance; include what, when and where.
2) Request an RSVP with a specific reply date.
3) Give directions, if needed.
4) Inquire if any food allergies and food preferences.

What Shall They BringIf you want your guests to bring something, include that in your invitation such as wine for a certain course or if you want them to bring a certain course. Be specific.

Dress Code
If you want a dress code, specify this in the invitation. When you spend time preparing a gourmet dinner menu, you do not want someone wearing jeans or shorts unless otherwise specified. With everyone dressed up, it sets the mood even more for an elegant dinner party.

Suggested guidelines:
Formal Wear:Cocktail dresses or long gownsDinner jackets and dark suitsTuxedosInformal Wear:A nice dress or pants outfit for womenJacket, shirt and tie (optional) for menCasual Wear:Sporty outfit for women or casual dressesSport shirts, sweaters, slacks, Dockers for men

The Menu
1) Plan your entire dinner with several courses. (Menu ideas)
2) Make sure the menu is compatible with each course, keeping in mind different textures, food compatibility and colors.
3) Choose recipes you have already tried and tested, don't serve something that will not be a 'hit'.
4) If your menu requires using an oven, choose recipes with similar temperatures making it easier and quicker if having to bake several things between courses; don't keep your guests waiting too long for the next entree.
5) Make a list of all the grocery items you need to purchase.
6) Make a detailed list of all food preparation that needs to be done, (e.g. chop 1/4 cup celery finely; defrost 1 cup shrimp; pick 8 sprigs parsley from garden;), no matter how small you may think it is, write it down! Plan ahead and be well organized; do as much ahead as possible. Do not leave many things to be done the day of the dinner party, you will be too exhausted; very important! Label every ingredient you have prepared ahead and what it will be used for, (e.g. 2 tablespoons chives for soup), so that you can grab it and use it immediately when you need it.
7) Plan a garnish (see all my easy ideas with photographs) for each course; this adds elegance to a dinner and makes a beautiful presentation, they can be made ahead.
8) Determine the wine to accompany each course and how much you will need. If you are not sure, ask a wine steward or sommelier.

Setting The Table
1) Use your best China, glass stemware, tableware, table linens and napkins, no paper please! This sets the mood for an elegant evening.
2) Use charger plates if you have them.
3) Choose a centerpiece low enough everyone can see over.
4) Use candles as the only light. This sets the mood for an elegant dining experience. Light them just before everyone is seated.
5) For something different, type your menu in the format of a fine dining menu listing all the courses; translate them into French or Spanish, or Italian, or whatever theme your dinner might be. Print them out, put by each place setting. While you are preparing the food, it is fun to hear guests trying to determine the menu from a foreign language.
6) You may want to make take-home favors.

Seating Arrangements
1) Seat yourself and your helper closest to the kitchen.
2) Use random seating or specify seating by placards.
3) Consider placing shy people next to talkative people.

Set The Mood
1) Chose soft mellow background music not to interfere with conversations.
2) Don’t forget to light the candles.
Bon Appetit!
10 Basic Manners for Kids

1. Waiting their turn and not interrupting other people when they are speaking. No one can be heard if there are too many voices at once. Gently tell them to wait until someone is done speaking, and then ask their question. Be sure and give your child your full attention when you are done speaking so as to reinforce their positive behavior of waiting their turn. While your child is patiently waiting, hold their hand or put your arm around them to let them know you are aware of their presence.

2. No name calling. Even if it's in "fun", name calling hurts. Instead of labels, ask your child to explain what the behavior is that bothers them.

3. Always greet someone when they come over to your house. Depending on your level of formality, you can teach your child to shake hands with adults who come over, but it's not necessary to shake hands with other children. But, your child should always say, "hello" or "hi" when someone visits so that the guest feels welcome.

4. Say, "Please" and "Thank you" often. It shows respect and appreciation. In addition, if they are thanked, then say "You're welcome".

5. Clean up after yourself. Whether at home or at a friend's house, always pick up after yourself. It's their mess, so they need to clean it up. If your child does leave a mess, remind them that they need to clean up before the next activity can begin, and stick to it.

6. Good sportsmanship. After playing a game (sports, cards, board game), no matter the outcome, be pleasant. If your child wins, tell them to not gloat or show off, but be kind . If they lose, don’t sulk or get mad, but be a good sport and tell the other child(ren) “good game” or speak well of them.

7. Take compliments courteously. If someone praises your children, teach them to be gracious and say, “thank you”, and avoid putting themselves down or pointing out flaws.

8. Opening doors for others. When going into buildings, allow elders to go first and open the door for them. When preceding others into a building, don’t let the door slam in the face of those behind, but hold the door until the person behind can grab it. Also teach your children that if someone holds the door for them, then remember to say “thank you”.

9. Exiting/Entering etiquette. Elevators: allow those in the elevator to exit first before entering the elevator. Same with buildings or rooms - if someone is exiting the building or room through the same door you are entering, let them exit first.

10. Respect differences. When people do things differently from your family because of diversity in culture, race, or religion, then teach your child respect. Point out how interesting it is or how different families do different things. Families have their own traditions or rituals and it is important and has meaning for that family.
Holiday Etiquette

Keeping in Touch at Thanksgiving

The fellowship feeling of Thanksgiving is unrivalled among holidays. It's hard to think of a more warm or festive occasion. It's a wonderful time to extend a last-minute invitation to someone who may be alone or without plans for the holiday. It's a good time, too, to contribute canned goods, money or time to volunteer organizations that feed the homeless, elderly and infirm.
Here are a few suggestions to help you keep in touch with family and friends, even if you aren't all together.

Share your presence
E-mail: Send an e-mail to family members who can’t join you for Thanksgiving – it might become a “round robin.”

Letter: Have your guests add a line or two to a “group letter” and send it to absent family members.

Phone call: Set up a conference call and reach many family members at once.

Journal: Have a book where guests can write their Thanksgiving thoughts. Bring it out every Thanksgiving so guests can read and add to it.

Reach out: If all of your family can’t make it to the big celebration, send flowers or candles for their table as a way of expressing togetherness.

Let everyone participate. Thanksgiving is a big meal, involving lots of preparation. Many guests want to bring or prepare a dish. It’s a great way to let them be a part of the celebration. Children can help, too, by making decorations and place cards, setting the table and lighting the candles.

Give thanks: Even if you are not saying a traditional grace, it’s nice to let everyone around your table express their thanks.

Remember: Remember our service men and women who are far from our comforts and celebrations.

As we pause to count our blessings, all of us at the Emily Post Institute wish you a heartfelt “Happy Thanksgiving.”

Entertaining & Visiting During the Holidays: FAQs
There’s a good chance you’ll be both a host and a guest at some point during the holidays. And if not, you’ve most likely been on both sides of the table before. We know treating everyone with courtesy and respect during this time of the year is vital to your friendships year-round. What we may not know is just the right way to act in certain situations. Here are a few commonly asked questions and tips for both entertaining and visiting during the holidays:

I am having vegetarian friends for a holiday dinner. Do I alter the entire menu or just have one or two dishes for them?

It depends on the size of your celebration. If your vegetarian friends are the only guests, you’ll want to be sure they can enjoy most of what you’re serving. If they’ll be part of a larger crowd, it isn’t necessary to alter the entire menu. Serve enough vegetarian dishes so that they don’t leave the table hungry. Often people on restrictive diets come prepared, so, if they offer to bring a dish to share, let them.
What are “chargers,” and how do I use them?
At holiday times charger plates, also known as service plates, make a cameo appearance on our tables. In stunning gold, copper, silver, black, emerald green and ruby red, they turn their practical sisters, the soup bowl or salad plate, into Cinderellas for the evening.

This large plate, usually about 12” in diameter, serves as an underplate for the plate or bowl holding the first course. The first course is brought to the table and set on the service plate. When the first course is cleared, the service plate remains until the plate holding the entrée is served, at which point the service plate is exchanged for the entrée plate.

The Gracious Guest
Five Tips for Holiday Visits
1. All hosts—including your mother and aunts—love a surprise gift.
2. Be willing to pitch in, but instead of asking the harried host how you can help, volunteer to do a specific job like loading the dishwasher.
3. If you make the offer to help and the host firmly declines, back off—some people really don’t want guests in their kitchen.
4. At family get-togethers, don’t let nosy questions upset you. Deflect rudeness by changing the topic: “You’re right, Uncle Jim, I was thinner last year. How ‘bout those Steelers?”
5. Visiting friends or family? Observe this rule of thumb: Three nights is usually plenty. Spell out arrival and departure times well in advance so your host isn’t left guessing.

Here’s to… Making a Holiday Toast
The custom of toasting goes back almost as far as history itself. Ancient warriors drank to their pagan gods, Greeks and Romans to more gods, and early Norsemen drank to each other. Almost every culture practiced toasting in some form, and the custom gradually evolved into today’s toasts to love, friendship, health, wealth and happiness.

At holiday gatherings and New Year’s celebrations and gatherings glasses will be raised on more than one occasion. Here are some frequently asked questions about toasting:

Who goes first?

The host or hostess offers the first toast at a formal occasion such as a dinner party, and always at a wedding or large function. Around a dinner table with friends, a guest can propose the first toast and often does so to thank the host for bringing everyone together.

Do I have to stand?

Yes, unless you are at a small, informal occasion. Everyone else remains seated during the toast – including the person being toasted – unless you instruct them to “rise and raise your glass.”

I get really nervous speaking in front of people. What should I do?

You are not alone! Prepare your toast ahead of time. Keep it short and to the point, focusing your remarks on the toastee or the event being celebrated. If necessary, write out what you wish to say and then practice it out loud. It will give you confidence.

Can I tell a joke or story?

Sure if it is short and relevant. A touch of humor is rarely out of place, but keep it ‘clean.’

I don’t drink alcohol—can I still make or participate in a toast?
Yes! You can raise your glass whether it is filled with champagne, wine, vodka, soda, seltzer, fruit juice or plain old tap water!

Now, can you give me a good New Year’s toast?
Here you go…
Here’s to the year past and friends who have left us,Here’s to the present and the friends who are here,Here’s to the New Year and the new friends who will join us.

Peggy's Top Five for Stress-Free Gift Giving
We want you to have a joyous holiday season. Here are Peggy’s tips for giving gifts without succumbing to stress.

1. Get their wish list.Ask people for hints or even a wish list. Gather ideas during the year, and write everything down.
2. Trust your judgment.Forget about being afraid the gift isn’t “perfect.” If you think the person will like it, chances are they will.
3. Stick to your budget.Spending more than you should takes the fun out of gift giving. There’s nothing more stressful than overspending—and feeling uneasy about it.
4. Buy it when you see it.If you’re shopping in July and see a sweater that your mother would love, buy it. It probably won’t be there when you look in December.
5. Start a gift closet.Stash a few gifts that will work in a pinch: copies of your favorite cookbook, a good bottle of wine, or boxes of beautiful note cards. That way you’ll be ready if need a gift on the spot.

Holiday Giving & Receiving: FAQs
There are plenty of opportunities to give during the holidays. Some situations pose more questions than others. Here are some of the inquiries we answer time and time again—about family, friends, and all those cards:

Is it necessary to write thank-you notes to family members?

If you’ve thanked someone in person for a gift, a thank-you note isn’t obligatory. But, it’s never wrong to write a thank-you note. If you receive gifts from family members that you won’t see to thank in person, write them a thank-you note—both to let them know their gift arrived and that you liked it. Remember that relatives from ‘the old school’ may still expect a written note even if thanks were given in person.

If you've only been dating someone a short while, how do you decide how generous to be with your holiday gift?

The amount you spend on the gift should be a balance of your affection for the person and your budget. Anything too expensive or extravagant may send a message about the seriousness of the relationship—which could in turn cause confusion. Don’t let something like holiday gift conundrums complicate a budding relationship: there’s no downside to keeping things simple.

I have a lot of non-Christian friends, is it rude to send them cards, even if they are nondenominational?

No, as long as you chose the right kind of card. Cards that offer the message “Seasons Greetings”—with no religious figures, messages or symbols on it—are appropriate for a wide range of friends and acquaintances, regardless of their religious preference.

Is it OK to e-mail my holiday greetings instead of mailing cards?

Yes—if your intended recipients are frequently online and you're fairly certain that they would welcome this type of greeting. Your great aunt Sara, who cherishes your handwritten notes, may still prefer a traditional card. Others, too, might rather have a traditional paper greeting. (Maybe you'll want to ask a few of your friends about their preferences). There's nothing "wrong" about e-greetings, though. And the benefits? You can wait until the last minute and you can even attach pictures. Just be careful about sending personal e-mails to people's work addresses. Many companies have policies against receiving and sending personal e-mail at work.

Invitation Etiquette
Whether it is to a wedding, a dinner party, shower or gala event, an invitation comes with some important obligations. Here’s a quick guide to keep you on the guest list.

From the French, it means “Répondez, s’il vous plaît,” or, “Please reply.” This little code has been around for a long time and it’s definitely telling you that your hosts want to know if you are attending. Reply promptly, within a day or two of receiving an invitation.

2. How do I respond? Reply in the manner indicated on the invitation.
· RSVP and no response card: a handwritten response to the host at the return address on the envelope.
· Response Card: fill in and reply by the date indicated and return in the enclosed envelope.
· RSVP with phone number: telephone and make sure to speak in person – answering machines can be unreliable.
· RSVP with email: you may accept or decline electronically.
· Regrets only: reply only if you cannot attend. If your host doesn’t hear from you, he is expecting you!
· No reply requested? Unusual, but it is always polite to let someone know your intentions. A phone call would be sufficient.

3. Is that your final answer?
· Changing a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ is only acceptable on account of: illness or injury, a death in the family or an unavoidable professional or business conflict. Call your hosts immediately.
· Canceling because you have a “better” offer is a sure fire way to get dropped from ALL the guest lists.
· Being a “no show” is unacceptable.
· Changing a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ is OK only if it will not upset the hosts’ arrangements.

4. “May I bring…”
Don’t even ask! An invitation is extended to the people the hosts want to invite—and no one else.
· …a date. Some invitations indicate that you may invite a guest or date (Mr. John Evans and Guest) and when you reply, you should indicate whether you are bringing someone, and convey their name.
· …my children. If they were invited, the invitation would have said so.
· … my houseguest. It’s best to decline the invitation, stating the reason. This gives your host the option to extend the invitation to your guests, or not.

5. Say “Thank You.”
Make sure to thank your hosts before you leave, and then again by phone or note the next day.

Holiday Shopping Politesse
The Holidays: the joy, the snow, the rush…the frustration, the bad-tempers, the rudeness!
10 Ways to keep those holiday shopping spirits bright:

1. Smile – You can’t do it enough. Your face (and your soul) will thank you for it.
2. Lose the ‘Bah Humbug!’ attitude. Yes, it will be crowded and there will be lines and it will take time to find a parking spot. Don’t let that dampen the season’s joie de vivre.
3. “Please, Thank You and You’re Welcome.” Make this your mantra and you will smooth the way for better service and create a kinder, gentler atmosphere wherever you go.
4. Be gracious. You have circled the lot for the fifth time when you spy a space, only to see that someone else is already waiting for it. Be gracious - let them have the space.
5. A little patience, please. Checkout counter or airline counter, the rules are the same: first come, first served, one at a time. (This is a great place to practice your smiling.) When it is your turn, be ready with documents or payment to speed things along.
6. Friendliness. Say ‘hello’ to the harried clerk behind the counter (and smile).
7. Complain to the proper person. Yelling at a salesclerk because a store is out of an advertised item only makes you look foolish and rude. If you have a problem, ask to speak to the manager. Frame your complaint clearly and simply. ( No venting, please.)
8. Cell phones: They’re useful when trying to find out your Aunt Mary’s glove size, but turn them off when you are working with a sales clerk or checking out at a register.
9. Shopping with children: Sensory overload is the word of the day: the music, the crowds, the lights, the toys, the Santas! It’s best to arrange to leave your children home. If they must accompany you, or when it is their turn to shop, make sure they are well-rested and fed – kinder to them and to those around them
10. Don’t forget the lights—traffic lights that is! Please stop at the red ones and use your turn signals to alert other harried, distracted shoppers to your directional intentions.

Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving

We can’t offer you a “Turkey Hotline” but here are some tips for guests and hosts to help make your Thanksgiving both happy and memorable.

As a Guest:

RSVP. Let your host know right away if you can come or not. If you received a “family” invitation, let him know how many of you can come. Don’t show up with uninvited guests. There is usually room for one more at Thanksgiving, but this is something you must discuss with your host ahead of time.

Offer to contribute to the meal – but don’t dictate the menu. Your best bet is to make your offer open-ended and follow your host’s direction. If you or your ‘party’’ have special dietary needs, it is very gracious to offer to bring a dish that meets those needs. “Grace is a vegetarian – I’d love to bring a delicious tofu dish if that’s OK with you.”

Dress appropriately. At the very least, clean and pressed. As a true sign of consideration, dress one notch up. Your hosts are probably going all out, and your attire can either say, “I appreciate the effort you are making for all of us,” or “I thought you were ordering take out.”
Arrive on time. Yes, it is a day of feasting, but that turkey is going to be done at some point and your hosts are trying to plan around that magic moment. If you arrive late, don’t expect anyone to wait for you.

Offer to help with the clean-up. Family or non-family, this is one day where it is a great idea to pitch in.

Avoid controversial or painful family subjects. This is a day to be together in a spirit of generosity and thankfulness for all you do have. Let it be so.

Leave on time. If you are a houseguest, stick to the agreed begin and end times of your visit.
Say thank you. A phone call or, better yet, a hand-written note of thanks to your hosts shows your appreciation for all their hard work.

As a Host:

Extend the invitation at least a month in advance,
longer for those who might be traveling. If out-of-town guests are staying with you, set a beginning and an end for the visit. Three days is usually the optimum.

Be as accommodating as possible to ‘extras.’ “John and I would love to come, but our friend Tanya will be spending Thanksgiving alone – is it possible to include her?” If you have the room, of course they should bring Tanya! (Be creative – fit in as many as possible. This is the celebration that exemplifies the generous spirit!)

Have a flexible menu plan. Because Thanksgiving is a bit of a pot luck affair, be prepared to be “coordination central.” Accept all offers for special diet accommodations – see ‘Grace the vegetarian’ above.

The Post Family Dinner Plan
The hosts prepare an appetizer, the turkey, gravy, one stuffing for the bird and beverages. Everyone else contributes whatever dish means ‘Thanksgiving’ to them: Sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping? Oyster dressing? Green beans with almonds? Turnips? Mashed potatoes? Pumpkin-ginger cheesecake? We recommend that the provider prepare a serving amount equal to half the number of guests. Thanksgiving is such a smorgasbord that (other than the turkey and mashed potatoes) most guests take a “tasting” serving. If you want tons of leftovers, go for the serving per guest formula.

Review the guest list with everyone in your household. Clueing your immediate family in on who will be sharing Thanksgiving with you can help set the tone for the day. If little Joey greets Great-aunt Miriam with a big smile and a “Hi, Aunt Miriam,” just imagine how welcome she will feel!

Assign tasks. Greeters, hors d’ouevres passers, ‘bar tenders’, ‘circulators and introducers,’ servers – even though most guests may be family members, give them the red carpet treatment.

Take a tip from the airlines: serve and seat young children and the elderly first.

FHB – an acronym to be whispered to immediate family ONLY! FHB means “Family Hold Back.” If there is a critical shortage of a critical food item, discretely whisper to family members, ‘FHB the dark meat.” It’s the secret signal that guests get first dibs on the dark meat.

Turn off the TV during Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving has been around long before football or television. VCR’s, TVo – use the technology! Focus your attention where it belongs – on the lovingly prepared food, your family and your friends. When the dishes are done, EVERYONE can enjoy the games (or the chat in the other room!)

Say thank you. Don’t forget to thank everyone who participated in the planning, cooking and cleaning up.

A very happy Thanksgiving to all from The Emily Post Institute.
Basic Etiquette

Coughing and Sneezing Etiquette

Your son may think it is funny to sneeze at his sister, but his germs can contaminate the whole room. Sneezing blasts out thousands of bacteria at speeds from 100-600 miles per hour and can spray out 100 feet (

Tell your son to avoid passing germs by sneezing or coughing into a tissue or napkin. If a tissue is not handy, then his sleeve will do, just sneeze into his bent elbow. The reason to not cover your mouth with your bare hand is to avoid contaminating the hands and then transfering germs to others by shaking hands or by touching surfaces and objects.

The following are tips to avoid spreading germs and viruses as well as good coughing and sneezing etiquette:

1. Turn away from people when about to cough or sneeze.
2. Always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with a disposable tissue. If a tissue is not readily available, then use your sleeve.
3. Throw the tissue away immediately.
4. Wash hands with soap and water or clean hands with alcohol based sanitizers such as wipes or gels.

Tell your son that all the etiquette experts agree, NEVER BLOW YOUR NOSE IN A RESTAURANT! Always go to the restroom for nose blowing. If it's just the sniffles, he can use a tissue to dab his nose if there's only a slight drip.

Cross Legs At Ankles

Either crossing the ankles or keeping ankles together would be fine. Feet are slightly to one side and knees always together whether in skirts or pants.You're right, crossing her legs would not be appropriate whether in a skirt or pants. In addition crossing legs at the knees is bad for circulation and could lead to varicose veins.

Sitting Elegantly

It's very simple to sit elegantly whether in an evening gown or in jeans. Here are the basic steps:

1. Walk toward the chair or couch and stand directly in front of it.
2. Without looking backwards or down, back up slightly towards the chair, feel the chair gently with your leg.
3. Then, while keeping your back straight, gently sit down onto the front of the chair.
4. Slide back onto the seat a little more, but keep feet on the floor.
5. Keep your knees together and either tuck one foot behind the other or keep your ankles together. Feet can be slightly to the side.To stand up, uncross your ankles, place your feet flat in front of you. Slide forward until you are at the edge of the chair. Keeping your back straight, stand up.

Exiting a Car properly

Celebrities are under the microscope and photographed constantly. Keeping knees together is the most important tip. However, both knees and ankles should be kept together in order to gracefully enter or exit a car in a skirt.


1. Open the door.
2. Stand next to the seat.
3. Keep knees and ankles together and sit at the edge of the seat.
4. Slide body back into the seat as far as possible.
5. With knees and ankles together, swing legs and body toward the front of the seat.6. Close the door and make any necessary adjustments.


1. Pull skirt over legs as far as possible.
2. Slide body toward the front edge of the seat, keeping skirt pulled over legs.
3. Open the door.
4. Keep knees and ankles together and slowly swing both legs and body toward the open door.
5. Still keeping knees and ankles together, place feet onto the ground.
6. If someone is not there with an extended hand, then use the side of the seat to help push oneself out.
7. Stand up slowly.

Walking on the proper side

The proper side depends on the situation, but generally indoors, the female takes the male's right arm. When outside on the sidewalk, the male walks on the side nearest the traffic.The exception is when the bride is on the male's left side during the wedding ceremony.

Unsolicited Etiquette

Offering unsolicited etiquette advice would be okay depending on the intent and when it was offered. If the advice were given with good intent such as helping someone avoid doing something very embarrassing, then it would be okay. If the intent was to point out someone's faux pas after the fact, then it is more than improper, it is completely rude.There are occasions when unsolicited etiquette advice should be welcomed such as business situations and when visiting foreign countries where manners and conduct are more scrutinized and on which one's professional success may depend.

Pointing Finger Rude

Generally, pointing a finger at objects is okay, but not at people. However, it's best to gesture with an open hand when directing attention to a person or an object.Some seemingly simple gestures and nonverbal actions can mean something quite different in other countries, and could be offensive and insulting. Your co-worker should become acquainted with the customs in other countries as part of basic good business protocol.

Apartment or Dorm Room Laundry Etiquette

Using multiple washing machines is more efficient, but using four machines out of five is excessive. Generally, if using multiple machines results in all the machines being occupied, then it is not a good idea to do so. One rule of thumb is to see how many machines are not being used and use half, assuming the laundry room is not busy. In your case, if four washing machines were not in use, then you would use two of them.

Below are some general etiquette guidelines to follow when using public laundry facilities in an apartment or college dorms.

1. Washers to Use: If the laundry room is used by many tenants, then only use one washer at a time. However, if there are plenty of washers and most are not in use, then using 2-3 washers at the same time would be fine as long as there are other available machines.
2. Laundry Basket: Using a laundry basket makes it easier to transport and transfer clothes. Leave the basket on top or in front of the washer so that if you are late in retrieving your clothes, the next person can remove your clothes and put them in your basket.
3. Be Prompt. Keep track of the wash time and return promptly transfer your wet clothes to a dryer. Keep track f the dry time and return promptly retrieve your clothes when they have finished drying.
4. Removing Other Tenant's Clothes: If the wash or dry cycle is finished, but the person has not returned, then put their clothes in their basket or on the counter.
5. Clean the dryer lint trap when finished.

Displaying Affection

Public displays of affection (PDA), especially in a restaurant, should be avoided. A few hugs and quick kiss does not harm. But, ongoing canoodling and kissing is a distraction for other patrons.If your husband is a sensitive person, then he should be perceptive about how uncomfortable his actions are making others feel. Before going to the next function, gently remind your husband that too much PDA makes other people uncomfortable. If you feel embarrassed by his overly affectionate actions in public, then also let him know. A loving and caring husband will respect his wife's feelings.
Table Manners Taught with Fun Activities

There are a variety of fun activities that you can do with children to teach them table manners.

Immediate Feedback and Reward

Children like to see what they have accomplished and get rewarded. Rewards could be simple stickers after each accomplishment, plus the big reward at the end which could be a tea party to demonstrate all that they have learned about table manners.

Chart Their Progress

You can have a chart of the table manners that they need to learn and stars given after each is accomplished. For example, maybe Number 1 on the chart is to sit down and place the napkin on their lap. Number 2 could be sitting straight with hand in laps or wrists on the table, and feet near their chair, Number 3 is breaking off a small piece of bread and then buttering, etc.

Keep a Journal

The girls can keep a journal of the table manners that they have learned. They can draw pictures and write simple instructions for each dining etiquette rule. When they have finished learning about table manners, they will have their book to show for it as well as for future reference.

Photos and Video

Children enjoy being photographed or videotaped. You could take pictures or videotape them demonstrating each example of proper dining etiquette. The photos or videotape can also include improper table manners in order to contrast with correct behavior. Be sure to take pictures at the tea party. Make copies of the tape for each to take home. If taking photos, these can be part of their journal.
Top 12 Rude Dining Behaviors

1. Talking on Cell PhonesCell phones should be turned off or on vibrate or silence during a meal. Never answer the call unless it is an emergency. If expecting an emergency call, let your table party know so that when you receive it, you can excuse yourself from the table and talk outside.

2. Chewing With Your Mouth OpenThe mouth should be closed when chewing. ABC (already been chewed) is not an appetizing sight.

3. Talking With Mouth FullWhen the mouth is full of food, wait to speak until you have swallowed the food. Again, it is not appetizing to see food and when talking with food in the mouth, some could accidentally get spit onto your guests.

4. Blowing Nose at the Dinner TableIt is very offensive and unsanitary to blow one's nose at the table. Excuse yourself and go to the restroom.

5. Being Rude to Wait StaffBeing rude or impolite to the wait staff is unacceptable. If you do not like your food or wine, let the wait staff know politely and they will get you a replacement. However, if you have finished your meal or wine, then you should not expect a replacement meal or drink.

6. Picking Your TeethIf food is stuck in your teeth, then excuse yourself and go to the restroom.

7. BurpingSometimes burping may be unavoidable, but try to suppress it using your napkin.

8. FlatulenceSometimes passing gas may be unavoidable, but try to suppress it. Squeeze the anal sphincter hard until the urge goes away.

9. Licking FingersIf your fingers happen to get food on them, use your napkin to wipe them clean. Or, excuse yourself, and use the restroom to wash hands.

10. Grooming or Touching Up Make UpAlthough commonly seen in restaurants, the place to primp is in the restroom.

11. Over Indulging the AlcoholIt is uncouth to drink too much. It is also unhealthy to have too much alcohol and unsafe to drive. Even if you have a designated driver, alcohol tends to unleash obnoxious behavior.

12. Not Leaving a TipUnless the service was unbearable, a 15% to 20% tip should be left. If the service was terrible, speak discretely with the restaurant manager.
Etiquette Everyday ~ Holiday Etiquette

Holiday Tipping Guidelines

Updated for 2007

The holiday season is the traditional time to say “thank you” and “I appreciate the work you do” to those who have provided service to you throughout the year. Don’t forget that one of the best ways to express your appreciation is a hand-written note, which should accompany any holiday tip.

Whether and how much to tip varies widely, depending on:

~the quality and frequency of the service
~your relationship with the service provider
~where you live (amounts are usually higher in large cities)
~the frequency of the service or how long you have worked together
~your budget
~regional customs
~the type of establishment: deluxe vs. moderate

If you regularly tip at the time of service, you may forgo or give a more modest holiday tip. Try to include your child in gift decisions for teachers, day care providers, nannies, and babysitters.

Every situation is different, so let common sense, specific circumstances, and holiday spirit be your guides. The tip amounts in this chart are merely guidelines. What to give is always an individual decision.

Every situation is different, so let common sense, specific circumstances, and holiday spirit be your guides. The tip amounts in this chart are merely guidelines. What to give is always an individual decision.

Etiquette Everyday~General Tipping Guidelines


Wait service (sit down)
15-20% pre-tax

Wait service (buffet)

No obligation$10-$20 on occasion, if you are a regular patron

Take Out
No obligation0-10% if the person went above normal service

$1 per drink or 15-20% or tab

Tipping jars
No obligationtip occasionally if you are a regular or if the person went above normal service
Restroom Attendant
$0.50-$3, depending on service



$2 first bag, $1 per additional bag

$1-$2 for carrying luggage$1-$2 for hailing cab$1-$4 beyond the call of duty

$2 first bag, $1 per additional bag

$2-$5 per day, left daily

$5 for tickets or reservations, $10 if hard to get; no need to tip for answering questions

Taxi driver
15% plus an extra $1-$2 if helped with bags


Hair Dresser
15-20%, ask to be split among those who served you


Facial, waxing, massage

Au pair
A gift from your family (or one-week’s pay), plus a small gift from your child
Babysitter, regular
One evening’s pay, plus a small gift from your child

Cost of one haircut or a gift
Beauty salon staff
The cost of one salon visit, split among the staff

Child’s teacher
Check your school’s policy first, as gift giving may be prohibited. If allowed, then give a gift that is a token of appreciation from your child, not cash. Possibilities: a homemade gift made by your child, a book or a picture frame. Or, consider participating in a joint gift from the class as a whole. Possibilities: a gift certificate to a restaurant or bookstore.

Day care providers
$25 to $70 each, plus a small gift from your child for the providers who give direct care to your child(ren)

Dog walker
One week’s pay or a gift

Fitness trainer, personal
Up to the cost of one session

Garage attendants
$10 to $30 each

Home health employees
A gift, but check with the agency first, as most agencies have a no gifts or no tips policy. If this is the case, consider giving a donation to the agency.

Up to one week’s pay or a gift

Letter carriers
U.S. government regulations permit carriers to accept gifts worth up to $20 per occasion, not cash

Live-in help (Nanny, Housekeeper, Cook, Butler)
One week’s to one month’s salary based on tenure and customs in your area, plus a personal gift

Massage therapist
Up to one session’s fee or a gift

Newspaper deliverer
$10 to $30

Nurse, private
A gift, not cash

Nursing home employees
A gift, not cash, but check the company policy first. Consider giving a gift that could be enjoyed by or shared among the floor staff: flowers, chocolates or food items.

Package deliverer
A small gift if you receive deliveries regularly; most delivery companies discourage or prohibit cash gifts

Personal caregiver
Up to one week’s salary or a small gift

Pet Groomer
If the same person grooms your pet all year, up to one session’s fee or a gift

Pool cleaner
Cost of one cleaning, to be split among crew

Residential building personnel: Check with your building association first to see if there is a holiday fund that is shared among all the building personnel

$20 to $80

$15 to $80; $15 or more each, for multiple doormen

Elevator operator
$15 to $40

$15 to $40

Trash/recycling collectors
$10 to $30 each (for private service); for municipal service, check local regulations

Yard and garden worker
$20 to $50



Emily Post Etiquette

Everyone knows that Emily Post was the leading etiquette pro of her time and is still considered one of the top leading etiquette pros today. Although, some of her material is a bit outdated, one may gleam many useful tools from her instruction in her famous book Etiquette.

“Manners are made up of trivialities of deportment which can be easily learned if one does not happen to know them; manner is personality—the outward manifestation of one’s innate character and attitude toward life.” Emily Post

One may find thousands of tips on party giving, correspondence, wedding planning and conduct in public or private settings in her work.

Below you may find her entire book online to read for free or you may order a hard copy of Etiquette for further reading. Her family has continued the tradition by adding to what she started. You may find many helpful incites on the official Emily Post website, as well. Make sure "Post's Etiquette" is in the Search slot.

You may find yourself unable to leave this site because of all the resources. You are able to read the entire book on the site! It is very 'user friendly'. Insert the word 'Etiquette' or 'Manners' into the search slot and see the many available choices. Amazon has a wealth of resources on the subject of manners and etiquette.

Another widely accepted resource for etiquette is the National League of Junior Cotillion. We have our very own right here in Sumner County. It is very useful, but can be considered costly for some. Personally, I believe it is well worth it.

"In chapters of the NATIONAL LEAGUE OF JUNIOR COTILLIONS across America, students are learning the basics of etiquette, ethics and manners. Here is today's lesson for you. Please check this page frequently for new topics."

Free Tip:

"When visiting someones' home, is it all right to add spices to the food?A: As a courtesy to your host, never add salt or pepper until you have tasted the food. If you need some, use it sparingly. Make it a rule to never ask for a special sauce to place on the meat."You may access Sumner County's representative, Pansy Stewart, and/or NLJC below

Calling all Churches!

What about Biblical etiquette? What is God's perspective on etiquette? What does the Bible say about etiquette? I found a great resource! There are many you may find at the Christian Book stores, but here is a website that has a few:

Also, check resources at by inputting the word 'etiquette' into the KEYWORDS slot.

Emily Post's Wedding PartiesSmart Ideas for Stylish Partiesby Anna Post…from Engagement to Reception and Everything in Between. Weddings are more than the big day—the parties start months in advance and often continue after the wedding. Anna looks at each celebration from a traditional perspective and explores trends in wedding parties and entertaining styles. The book also contains the common sense etiquette guidelines to help hosts plan and execute pre and post-wedding gatherings with confidence. Collins; October 2007; $22.95/$28.95 CAN; 160 pages.

Teen Manners From Malls to Meals to Messaging and Beyondby Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D. and Peggy PostTexting, IMing, using your cell, getting a job, going on a date, having a meal in a restaurant, thanking your aunt for a birthday gift—Cindy Post Senning, Ed. D and Peggy Post help 21st-century teens—and parents—understand how manners impact daily life. Collins; October 2007. Visit the Teen Manners website >

Emily's Magic WordsPlease, Thank You and moreby Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D. and Peggy PostCindy Post Senning, Ed.D. and Peggy Post guide parents and toddlers through this bright and lively illustrated book introducing the Magic Words to little ones. Leo Landry’s toddler-friendly illustrations and Cindy and Peggy’s short, simple sentences aid parents in basic reading with their children, while a letter from the authors offers parents some advice for teaching etiquette basics. Collins; October 2007; for children ages 3-5. Visit Emily's Magic Words website>

Emily Post’s Wedding Planner for Moms: How To Help Your Daughter or Son Prepare For The Big Day by Peggy PostA book for mothers on both sides of the aisle… Peggy Post shows mothers how to use tact and common sense to navigate wedding planning with a minimum of frayed nerves, hurt feelings or overstepped boundaries. Peggy identifies specific jobs that moms can take on, such as throwing an engagement party, spreading the word about gift registries, drawing up a guest list, bonding with their daughter’s or son’s new in-laws, arranging the rehearsal dinner and welcoming guests at the big event itself. The book includes worksheets for keeping track of wedding guests, vendors, budgets and gifts, as well as an address book to log the name and addresses of vendors, attendants and guests. Collins; May 2007; $22.95/$28.95 CAN; 146 pages. Visit the Wedding Planner for Moms website>

Julie Dern is the founder and Executive Director of Academy® of Etiquette & Protocol. She has been teaching the value of manners to students since 1990. The many courses offered are designed to bring back the "Art of Southern Hospitality," which is being depleted from our society today.Julie Dern has been certified in International and Business Etiquette. She inspires others by teaching proper etiquette in her dynamic seminars and creative classes. Classes taught are focused not only on outside mannerisms, but on internal characteristics such as high morals, values, standards and ethics.
Julie has authored eight quality curriculums, which are taught to students of the Academy as well as instructors who become licensed to teach her programs. The Academy of Etiquette & Protocol® now has over 70 trained, licensed and certified instructors throughout the United States and Canada to teach their comprehensive programs.
Her education and professional experience include Journalism, Broadcasting, Advertising, Graphic Arts and Interior Design. Education received from University of Central Florida, University of Florida, Valencia Community College, and Seminole Community College.Julie is the Protocol Advisor to the University of Central Florida, SunTrust Banking University, area Private Schools and Businesses. Julie is a member of Toastmasters International, and the Orlando Chamber of Commerce.
Her current work includes a newly available Tea Etiquette Curriculum and a manners book for children. She co-authors the book with children around the world answering today's etiquette questions from curious youth. Julie is a keynote speaker for many business and social events. She also stays busy assisting her husband in his long established business, raising a family, attending church, and teaching Etiquette as a volunteer to homeless shelters and schools for underprivileged students in the Central Florida area.
For more information, we can be reached at: Academy of Etiquette & ProtocolPost Office Box 608604 Orlando, Florida 32806Phone: 1-407-884-4130Facsimile: 1-407-884-5490Toll Free 1-800-708-4014or via e-mail to Julie directly at: