Page 12 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • December 9, 2009 ������������������ Dazzle your guests: A holiday etiquette refresher (ARA) You have spent the entire day cooking the perfect holiday feast. But it is an hour before your guests arrive, and you find yourself standing in front of the table, listening to a little nagging voice in your head. Does the knife go on the left, fork on the right, or is it the other way around? Is that centerpiece too tall? Should the food be on table before guests arrive? If you cannot answer those questions, don’t feel alone. In today’s eat-on-the-run world, you’re not the only one to flunk holiday etiquette. “Table manners have become a lost art,” said etiquette expert Jill Slatter. “Think back 15 or 20 years ago. Families gathered every evening for a proper meal, but these days we’re all stretched so thin juggling work, school, and home, most folks don’t have time to sit down together, so when holidays roll around no one’s sure what to do at a formal meal.” Based on the most frequently asked questions, Slatter offers this quick holiday etiquette 101 to give you insight that will dazzle your guests. Set the perfect table Forks to the left, knives and spoons to the right. Only set out utensils that will be used for various courses. “If you’re not serving soup or salad, you certainly don’t want an extra spoon or fork in your place setting,” Slatter cautioned. “Not only will those get in the way, the extra utensils may confuse your guests.” The bread plate goes on the left of the dinner plate, glasses on the right. Wait to pour. Water glasses should be the only glasses filled before your guests arrive. Iced tea, wine, and other beverages should be poured once everyone is seated. Wine should be filled halfway. Salad and bread should be the only food on the table when your guests arrive. Courses are generally served in the following order in the United States: appetizer, soup, salad, main course, and dessert. Remember that the hostess always sits last. Unscented candles are a great part of holiday decor, but should only be lit during the evening. “Another thing to keep in mind, flickering candles are more than a distraction, those can cause headaches,” warned Slatter. “That’s why you never want to place burning candles directly in front of your guest, and make sure you situate the flame below eye level.” Centerpiece too tall? Sure those flowers you spent hours arranging are pretty, but will only get in the way if your guests have to crane their necks to look at each other. Make sure your guests can see over any table adornments. Passing is not just in football. Always pass food around the table counterclockwise (to the right) and refrain from serving yourself first. Always pass the salt and pepper as a set, even if you’re only asked for one. Be a gracious guest. Avoid the smear. Female guests should blot their lips before sitting down at the table. This will keep you from getting lipstick stains on linen napkins or glassware. Wait for the signal. Your host will let you know when it’s time to begin eating. They may make a prayer or statement or start by passing a dish. If you’re not sure which utensil to use with each course, start on the outside and work in toward the plate. If you need to excuse yourself temporarily, gently place your napkin in your chair. Signify you are finished with the meal by placing your napkin to the left of the dinner plate, and your fork and knife side by side diagonally across your plate with the sharp side of the knife blade facing inward and the fork tines down. “One of the most panicked questions we hear concerns what to do if you accidently break a piece of the host’s dinnerware,” Slatter added. “You should certainly offer to replace the broken piece, especially if it has sentimental value for the host or hostess.” With these tips in mind, you’re sure to throw the perfect gathering. Chantilly Lace Give Something Special for the Holidays Largest Selection of Lingerie • Bra & Panty Sets by Chantelle & many more • Nightgowns • Pajamas: Silk, Flannel • Hosiery • Camisoles • Bustiers • Elita Warmwear • Hanky Panky Underwear & Outerwear • Men’s Boxers: Cotton, Silk • Men’s Silk Pajamas Holiday Packages give the gift of relaxation. 90 Minute Warm Stone Massage and 60 Minute European Facial  $215  60 Minute European Facial and 60 Minute Swedish Massage  $160  30 Minute European Facial and 30 Minute Swedish Massage  $105  GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE ONLINE  Great Stocking Stuffers • Petite to Plus Sizes Gift Certificates • Personalized Service We Special Order Avoid the Mall Madness! Major Credit Cards Accepted Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri 10-6, Thurs 10-8, Sat 10-5 253 Everett Ave, Wyckoff • 201-847-8747  Ample Private Parking Araya Rebirth Make-Up, Massage Therapy & Skin Care Studio 10 Garber Square • Ridgewood, NJ 07450 P: 201-445-7005 • HOURS: TUES & THURS 11-8 • WED & FRI 10-6 • SAT 9-5