To the Manner Born
Or manor or abbey; as in Downton. They are all rawther the same, I presume.
Used to be that dressing for dinner was what the well mannered did. The any old Tuesday evening clothes of yore pretty much only happens (outside of proms, weddings and the like) on fancy schmancy cruise lines and barely few of those are actually keeping the dress for dinner tradition afloat.
Nowadays, getting the whole family together at the table is the big deal-come one and all and come as you are, is the more current thinking. I guess that's good-sort of. Except maybe at a holiday meal with elderly folks on hand and maybe for younger kids too, it's sort of nice to establish tradition and show the importance of the occasion by how we dress, no?
Here's a thought that might make this dress to impress request less dramatic. Instead of setting yourself up for a wardrobe war an hour or two before sitting down to your holiday meal this weekend, why not take the time today to chat with your adorable Tweens and Teens. Mention that although you admire their personal expression, good manners means we have to think about others and that Grandmother does not have an appreciation for Hollister and Ed Hardy t-shirts and that on this special occasion, you would appreciate it if they would dress for dinner. Ask them what they think dressing for dinner should look like and come to a consensus. Ask if you can help them make an appropriate selection-ask if they approve of your holiday outfit.
You never know, along with keeping all the generations at your holiday table focused on what is really important about the holiday-being together, getting the whole family positively involved in dressing for dinner may be an activity that will make your holiday more memorable and more fun!
Where did manners come from?
It all began with the French. Back in the 1600's, the French nobles spent much of their day hanging out in the Royal Court. None of them worked, so, when they weren't gossiping, they dedicated themselves to developing elaborate social customs. From these customs they created a list of proper social behavior and called it etiquette (a word derived from an old French word meaning ticket.) This code of behavior soon spread to other European courts and eventually was adopted by the upper classes throughout the Western world. Knights bowed, ladies curtsied, and the civilized world was very, well, civil.
Where are we today?
Many people believe manners are a distant memory, and even basic civility is fast becoming the exception rather than the rule. Use to be that children learned manners from watching the examples set by their parents, especially those set at the dinner table. Now, with the average family having sit-down dinners at an all time low, a recently published study cites seriously poor behavior can be a result of those missed meals. And they are not referring to children's lack of table manners...In fact, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University shows that teens who sit down to a family dinner five or more times a week are 42% less likely to drink alcohol, 59% less likely to smoke cigarettes, 66% less likely to try marijuana. Yikes. It is also believed by experts that regular family dinners facilitate better communication between parents and children that help parents guide their children's behavior and encourages kids to confide in their parents about serious matters. Whose turn is it to set the table? Between email, texting, tweeting and the like, technology rules the day, destroying any real opportunity for thoughtful and cordial communication. In these fast moving times, with days and nights filled with family, business and social obligations, who has the time to be polite ... to even utter a thank you, yet alone write one? At Polite Post we believe the answer is ... EVERYBODY.
Melissa Gooding, Manners Advocate, is the Godmother to a number of her friend's children and having been blessed with that role, she assumed the job as Chief of Manners Police to all. She discovered that kids took to her humorous (and relentless) guidelines for all things manners-related and from that germ, PolitePost.com was born. Melissa, a successful businesswoman, has spent her entire adult life in New York City on the island of Manhattan - a place that tests ones good manners on a daily basis. She remains hopeful that she can make Gotham a little kinder, one straphanger at a time. You can reach Melissa at: email@example.com. And, you can sign up to receive a complimentary daily polite post with snippets of fine manner suggestions at PolitePost.com.