Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Graham Clark
Features Writer
12:50 PM 23rd December 2020

Keeping Christmas Day Special

With Christmas just around the corner, diners’ plans have been thrown up in the air once again, with millions across the nation now planning for much smaller gatherings than they had hoped.

However, whether you are cooking for yourself, for two, or a few more this year, help is on hand to ensure your feast on the 25th retains its Christmas sparkle, and it seems good old-fashioned manners will go a long way to minimising festive frustrations, as new research* released this week has revealed the most offensive dinner table habits:

Having your mobile phone at the table (57%)
Chewing with your mouth open (56%)
Clearing plates before everyone has finished (36%)
Having elbows on the table (25%)
Helping yourself to too much food (20%)

Narrowly missing the top five was using the wrong cutlery and glassware, which was shown to be a major irk for 12% of Brits.

To help diners dodge any festive faux pas this year, High Speed Training from Ilkley has released a step-by-step video guide designed to support families up and the down the country with getting the Christmas dinner table just right this year. So, whether hosts are after a basic, casual or formal table setting, help is here to ensure there’s no cutlery confusion or wine glass mix-ups.

Top tips to ensure your table setup is just right this Christmas:

Cutlery is set in the order of use, working outside-in. Outer utensils are for the first courses with the innermost set reserved for the main course.
Forks always go on the left of the setting. The only exception is an oyster fork, which is sometimes used in a formal table setting and would be placed on the right, alongside the knives.
Knives always go to the right of the setting. The exception to this is if you have a bread plate. This is placed to the top left of the setting, with the butter knife on top of the plate.
Glassware is set above the knives. There are different glasses for different drinks, but they are all grouped together in the top right corner of the setting.
If serving dessert, the dessert spoon and fork should be placed above the plate. The spoon handle should be on the right, while the fork handle should present to the left. This is so that the right hand can easily pick up the spoon, and the left hand uses the fork.
Napkins can be placed either to the left of the forks, or underneath the forks. If space is limited on your table, you can also place the napkin in the middle of the setting, or on top of the charger plate.
Use a charger plate. This is placed in the centre of the setting upon which other plates are set and it has multiple functions. It serves as decoration and adds to the aesthetics of the table. It ensures your guests' setting is never empty during the dinner, and crucially it is a tool useful for hot plates where guests can adjust the charger plate without risking burning their fingers on a hot plate. The charger plate doesn't have to always be a plate, it can be a traditional placemat, or something more contemporary, for example a piece of slate, or wood.

Sarah Taylor, Hospitality Specialist at High Speed Training, said:

“Due to the extremely challenging environment the hospitality industry is facing, millions more will be eating at home this Christmas, and many of us will unfortunately be catering for far fewer than we would’ve hoped, but we shouldn’t forget to go the extra mile with Christmas dinner, even if it’s just for one or two.

“A fifth (20%) of those we polled said that if they were to eat out rather than at home, it would be to support local businesses, which is incredibly uplifting and reflective of the support the public has for the entire hospitality industry at the moment. Meanwhile a third (34%) said they would do so to ensure they didn’t have to worry about the cooking, and a fifth (20%) admitted they would visit a restaurant just to avoid the washing up!

“We hope our video guide and tips help Brits feel more confident in bringing the fine dining set up to their own home this festive season.”

To watch the video click here:

*Research carried out by