Pop Culture Princess

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Pop Culture Guide to surviving Holiday Family Meals

We here at the LRG Executive Committee of Etiquette know that one of the most difficult challenges facing folks during the holidays is one of the most mundane and yet terrifying inactions of the entire season. No,it's not fighting thru the crowds of shoppers on Black Friday or selecting just the right holiday card which has a one size fits all vibe to it.

The biggest hurtle is the Family Dinner,especially at Thanksgiving when it's that one time of year that you have to deal with annoying in-laws,cranky cousins or worry about your moody teenagers spilling some of the family secrets along with the gravy.

To help you smooth over some of those rough edges and avoid certain pitfalls,here are some gentle reminders of what you can do or should try not to,that will ensure a pleasant dining experience for you and yours:

PROPER PLACEMENT IS KEY: When setting up the seating for a family dinner,something to keep in mind are the acoustic levels. Conversations during the meal will flow much more quickly and clearly when everyone can hear each other without resorting to shouting across the room:

MENU PLANNING CAN BE CRUCIAL: Choosing the right foods to serve is just as important to creating harmony at the table as selecting the background music or TV channel. Some main dishes are automatic mood setters,envoking peaceful interactions or spicing up the air with so much friction that arguments are inevitable:

FOOD FLIRTATION IS RISKY BUSINESS: If you are having a more intimate meal,the hazards of using your entree as a means of coy entice include possible choking,greasy hands,tablecloth stains that will be hard to get out later and forgetting to ask if your potential partner has any blood connection to you:

A GOOD GRACE SETS THE TONE RIGHT OFF:No matter what your religious affilation is,saying grace before a meal is a tradition worth upholding. The bonds that bind a family together for better or worse can be truly reaffirmed by the humble asking of a blessing upon those gathered around the table:

BE GOOD TO YOUR GUESTS AND BE A GOOD GUEST IN RETURN: Whether you're having people over to share your holiday dinner or going to one yourself,courtesy must and should be maintained by all parties. Preparing enough food to feed all and informing your company of the dress code expected are important duties of the host.

As a guest,your responsibilities include arriving on time,not being presumptious with the number of others to bring according to the invitation(self invites are a no-no)and flexibility regarding the menu. Unless you have a health or religious concern,there is no need to complain about what's being served:

We wish one and all a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that these helpful hints will achieve a delightful dinner table experience that your family can cherish for years to come. If not, there's always Christmas and dining out is an acceptable option:

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