Do you pull out all the stops when it comes to the Christmas table or just have turkey in front of the telly?
The big Christmas dinner comes but once a year and it’s fair to say we celebrate in many different ways, firstly with the foods we devour. Regardless of where we are and who we are with, we try to make it special – this may be as an intimate occasion for 2 or 3, but some may end up feeling they are setting up a temporary restaurant as family and friends pitch up to share this special day.
No matter how you celebrate, we think it’s quite possibly the one day that you go all out and set the table as festively as possible and as correctly as your equipment allows. Moreover, this may be the one day that everybody tries to install as much table decorum as we have table etiquette knowledge.
Generally speaking – even in the most formal households – we think we’re all a bit more relaxed today than we were 50 years ago, but this is a time when you want to ‘do things properly’, so what are the do’s and don’ts at the Christmas table?
Here's our top tips:
* Equally space people around the table;
* Encourage cracker etiquette – with a group everyone crosses their arms to pull all the crackers at once, by holding their own cracker in their right hand and pull their neighbour’s cracker with their free left hand. We suggest to pull the crackers at the beginning of the meal – this way all have a hat, a corny joke to tell and a gift that we will probably never use (and a mountain of rubbish to clear away!);
* Laying the cutlery – knives and spoons go on the right, forks on the left, and line up the cutlery in the order you will use it. If you have two sizes of forks and knives, then save the larger for the main course. Judge offers a great set of cutlery that allows you to set a table for six.
* Napkins – there is a debate over fabric v paper, but for the best etiquette fabric probably wins. They should be placed on the lap as soon as you are seated and never tucked in the front of your shirt… even if soup is being served!
* Make sure your centre piece isn’t so big no one can look over it and not too scented to put people off;
* Sit up straight, at a distance from the table that is comfortable and allows for the best cracker pull – at the end of the day, it’s all about winning that cracker gift, isn’t it?
* Oh and we almost forgot – like Grandma always says “Keep your elbows off the table!”
Finally, making your Christmas table unique will certainly add to the occasion. We suggest: a gift tag to each place setting, lightly scented candles to add atmosphere, fresh flowers and holly or berries. Lastly, a table runner certainly adds a sense of festivity and can be easily created with foliage, paper or fabric. Are you already envisioning your beautifully decorated dining room with a noisy crowd having a great time?
Eventually the big day will arrive. No matter whether you are hosting or being hosted, if you are not sure about the ‘Christmas etiquette’ or are feeling a bit nervous, simply relax, go with the flow and remember: it only comes but once a year and the main thing you should worry about is to have a jolly time!
Enjoy it. Merry Christmas from Judge!