marks month two of our #DareToBePolite campaign.  Fresh off the Thanksgiving bandwagon, it’s
time to now prepare for the throngs of holiday party soirees and the endless
amounts of invitations, obligations and appreciations that will ensue from now
until New Year’s. Whether an intimate gathering with a select few or a massive
affair with hundreds, the basic tenets still apply and are expected to be
upheld. Always make your guests feel welcome, create a cozy atmosphere, keep
the conversation flowing, avoid stirring the pot, don’t disgust your dining
partners, and have an endless supply of libations on hand.
the next several weeks we will be exploring everyday table manners as well as
formal dining skills in a variety of settings from the living room to the board
room and over power breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We will dissect food idiosyncrasies,
dietary restrictions and culinary options to expand both the palate along with the
mind.  We will delve into the vast world
of entertaining from the invitation and décor to the preferred cuisine and select
entertainment. We will investigate the roles of the happy host along with the
grateful guest and uncover the many quandaries that arise from the RSVP’s and
attire to the requisite thank yous and goodbyes. Many of life’s most meaningful
moments involve a degree of dining and entertaining and we need to bring our A-game
to ensure we enjoy it to the fullest.
2/Week 1: Dining & Entertaining: Setting
the Tone
.  The world of dining and
entertaining offers an excellent opportunity to display ones best manners and
perfect the art of feeling confident while putting others at ease. In these
next seven days, we begin specifically with setting the tone. This is the first
step in planning any occasion from a business dinner to a birthday party. The
choice of venue, the degree of formality, the budget, the personality of the
guests and the number of attendees must all be taken into consideration. Are
you courting an international client over lunch?  A review of the continental dining skills may
be in order to avoid sawing your steak.  Organizing
a big birthday bash for your 80 year old mother? Selecting a venue with easy
access for elderly guests as opposed to a venue for purely aesthetic reasons
will hopefully be top on the list.  Setting
the tone on a more symbolic level has more to do with frame of mind. Attending
the annual office holiday party?  You may
want to eat a little nibble beforehand to take the focus off of the free shrimp
and more on the benefits of stress-free socializing with co-workers. In-laws invited
you and your spouse to join them for a holiday weekend in the mountains?  You may wish to push aside personal differences and
approach them with a willingness to get along rather than being just being right.
Handling these subtle, yet vital issues beforehand sets the tone both mentally
and physically and ensures the best outcome for all.    

successful dining experience builds bonds and solidifies relationships.
  A pleasurable party leaves warm lasting
memories for years to come. How will you choose to set the tone or improve the tone in the next week?
  Share with us what you discover in
yourself and in others. Join us now! Make the vow to #daretobepolite!