Special ways to enhance your holiday meal

Proper rules for passing and serving:
The rules are different depending on the style of service.

If you're serving family-style, that's where you pass the platters around the table, then you pass counterclockwise. That avoids an awkward traffic jam, where someone gets two platters at the same time, coming from different directions. Always pass counterclockwise, to the right. That way, the person next to you can take the platter with his or her left hand and easily use the right hand to take some of the food.

Now if you're serving more formally, where you are taking the platters or plates around and offering them to each guest in turn, you serve from the left. Stand here and offer the platter like this.

Tips for making memorable and proper toasts:

  1. Never toast to yourself. A lot of people forget that. If a toast is in your honor, you don't raise your class. Just listen quietly and then say a quick thank you.
  2. Keep toasts short.
  3. Never read a toast.
  4. Don't clink glasses. It's an old custom involving the driving away of spirits… and it's not good for glassware.
And if there are children at the table, or other non-drinkers, make sure to have a way for them to join in. Sparkling apple juice is nice.

Holidays are a real time for family learning. We're showing our children what we value and how we elevate something ordinary - eating a meal - into something special. I find that's especially important now, when families are so busy. So many kids - and parents, too, tend to eat junk food in front of the TV. That's a contributor to childhood obesity - a serious health problem.

For a special meal, get the kids involved from the very beginning. Even a 6-year-old can set the table. Don't worry if every fork isn't lined up perfectly. The important thing is that they made a contribution and they will be so proud.

Here's how we teach the kids that the fork is always to the left and the spoon and knife on the right. FORK has four letters. So does LEFT. So the fork goes on the left. SPOON and KNIFE have five letters. And so does RIGHT. So the spoon and knife go on the right. Then we have B and D. Make a B and a D with your fingers like this (demonstrates to hosts, making a b and d with fingers of each hand). The side with the B is where the bread plate goes. The side with the D is where the drink goes.

About Tina Hayes:
Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Northern California (Antioch). She is a passionate instructor dedicated to providing professional and quality etiquette training to adults and children. Through fun and interactive training, The School of Etiquette and Decorum promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society.

Classes are designed to teach our students the "people" skills necessary to empower them to handle any dining or social situation. We offer a variety of training programs and our curriculum includes such topics as: Public speaking, proper introductions, self presentation, American & Continental dining, table decorum, table setting, proper manners in public places, telephone etiquette, respect for others, good sportsmanship, fashion, skin care, common courtesies, appreciation of others, business networking, and much more.

Mrs. Tina Hayes received her training and certification at The American School of Protocol in Georgia. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and has over 20 years of corporate experience in personnel and accounting. Tina has been employed as a training coordinator and managed several accounting departments. In addition, she worked as a party planner and wedding consultant.

Cuisine Noir Magazine recently featured an article entitled 'Turning Manners into Business' in which Tina provided tips to restaurateur on how to build a successful business by simply making the right etiquette moves. Tina has also appeared on the Young Brett Radio show where she shared information on the benefits of children & teens displaying proper etiquette in their daily lives.

A devoted wife and mother of two, Tina is actively involved with her church, community and schools. She is a Sunday school teacher and volunteers countless hours of service to various community programs. During her spare time, Mrs. Hayes enjoys reading, traveling, and dining in the best restaurants. Her ultimate goal is to relax in all of the luxurious Spa's around the world.

Mrs. Hayes truly understands the importance of using proper etiquette in one's daily lives and she is excited about The School of Etiquette and Decorum's training curriculums. Her desire is to help individuals be successful and reach their full potentials.

Website: http://etiquette4decorum.com

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