There is no excuse for bad dining etiquette over Christmas. Table manners, which should be taught from a very young age, are really very easy to follow.

Whether it’s knowing not to speak with your mouth full or to always politely excuse yourself from the table, table manners are easy to learn and here are a few that you shouldn’t let slip over the festive season:

1. The most basic of manners, use your please and thank yous. Basic manners go a long way.

2. When you are given a meal on your plate, don’t go stealing off other people’s plates or dropping your food on others’ plates.

3. Under no circumstances should you use your fingers at the dinner table, that’s what utensils are for.

4. Speaking off utensils- Use your cutlery properly. That means knives and forks in the right hands, no lazy side cutting with the fork and no waving around your knife and work while chatting between bites.

5. Don’t shovel or stab food.

6. Cut only one food item at a time.

7. Knives and forks should not touch the table once you’ve started using them and when you’re finished using them they should be correctly signalling that you are done- placing the knife and fork side by side on the plate with the knife blade pointing towards the fork and the fork curve down.

8. Don’t pick your teeth at the dinner table, even if you’re finished eating.

9. Don’t wash down your mouthful of food with a drink. Don’t drink with food in your mouth, period.

10. Mind your arm placement while eating. Elbows should remain off the table while you’re eating.

11. Never lean over the table, it’s more polite to ask for things to be passed to you (using your please and thank yous of course)

12. Don’t talk with your mouth full and don’t chew with your mouth open.

13. Use your napkin where necessary- don’t use your hands to wipe that gravy from your chin.

14. Refrain from any weird noises or unpleasantries at the table if it can be helped. Don’t blow your nose on the napkin or belch out the alphabet for entertainment- no one will be impressed.

15. Excuse yourself when you leave the table.


Before you invite friends or the family around for that festive dinner, check out tips to decorating your table for the occasion.

Does your family sit down at a table for dinner and practice manners or do you think it’s all old hat?

What are some of your pet peeves at the dinner table?