The Season of Family Gatherings

November 21, 2014

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” ~Emily Post

As the holidays are upon us, many families are making plans to spend quality time with loved ones they rarely see throughout the year. Despite this being a season of “good tidings” and “abundant blessings,” it can still be a stressful time for many. This is especially true during the holiday meal. Conversation may be awkward; manners may be a bit rough; and culinary curiosity may get the best of you. Here are a few tips to get through the holiday meal.

  1. Consideration. You can be instrumental in keeping a pleasant atmosphere by being considerate of everyone at the table. Just as your dining experience is impacted by the actions of those around you, the same is true vice versa. Think of the mealtime as an opportunity to strengthen relationships: it’s not about you; it’s not about them; it’s really about togetherness.
  2. Respect. While being “considerate” of others, there are ways to demonstrate respect. For starters, don’t monopolize the conversations, become loud or aggressive in tone, or engage in sensational topics. Conversations can make or break a meal – either bringing an abrupt end to it or making it awkwardly long and unpleasant. Also, don’t be greedy! It’s okay to enjoy yourself, but moderation is key. You don’t want to wear out your welcome and be labeled as the unthoughtful guest (especially if you showed up “empty-handed”).
  3. Honesty.
  4. Be sincere in your interactions and stay true to yourself. No need to send a representative or your alter ego to show up at the dinner table. Be you. And in this time of Thanksgiving, be thankful for those around the table who accept you and cherish you for who you are. Everyone brings something special “to the table.”