Kaye’s Corner: Good manners

Here we are in the holiday season with gobs of entertaining. Good manners are always in style and even more important at holiday gatherings. You really can’t go wrong when you’re a thoughtful guest.

BE ON TIME

If you’re attending a large gathering or open house, you can show up “fashionably late.” But if your hostess is serving food to a small group, be on time. Guests who show up late throw the entire hot food goal aside.

SUPPORT WITH REQUESTED FOOD ONLY

Offer to contribute with your own dishes that complement the planned menu. Don’t bring random items that don’t fit the meal or duplicate what is already planned. Bring enough to serve the entire crowd and if you need serving dishes, ask the hostess ahead of the event.

HEALTHFUL FOOD ITEMS

If you’re bringing food, remember that many people have food restrictions so please respect their diets, no matter how unusual to you. Diabetics, gluten-free, peanut allergies, and vegans are just a few of the health concerns that others may have. Do not force your food on others, even if they don’t reveal the reasons for their resistance to your dish.

WAIT FOR EVERYONE TO BE SEATED

Unless it is a huge group, don’t start eating until the hostess and everyone else is seated. Wait for the prayer or blessing if offered before you dig in. Assist the elderly to get seated and served as needed. Traditionally seniors and women go first if it’s a buffet.

OFFER TO HELP SERVE AND CLEAN UP

My Mother would have given me a stern lecture if I didn’t offer to clear the table and wash dishes as a guest. The operative word is “offer.” Guests may not know how to handle delicate glassware or load the dishwasher. Some folks prefer to clean up later. Follow the host’s directions and don’t crowd the kitchen.

BRING A HOSTESS GIFT

It’s always heartwarming to receive jams, nuts, or homemade goodies that don’t need immediate attention. Fresh flowers are always nice but provide a vase so the hostess doesn’t have to find one.

DO NOT BRING PETS

Some dogs are calm; some dogs run around jumping on people and the furniture. Many pets are distracting to others and remember, some people are allergic to pet hair. Ask permission in advance if you want to bring a pet.

EXPRESS YOUR THANKS

Handwritten, snail-mailed thanks still mean the most and demonstrate that you are grateful for all the effort put into entertaining you. The few moments it takes to scribble a note, add a stamp, and mail it is nothing compared to the cleaning, shopping, and cooking your hosts did for you. Make a sincere effort to demonstrate your gratefulness. An email, text, or call is next best.

Good manners serve all of us and provide a model to others. Be gracious and thankful in all regards.


By KAYE SULLIVAN – Special to the Herald Times