NBC10 Philadelphia – Thanksgiving Etiquette Tutorial for Children


I am very honored and excited that The Delaware Valley School of Etiquette was featured during the 2018 Thanksgiving segment to prepare children to interact and dine with friends and family during this holiday season. Please view the clip above and take a look at a few photos from the room that day. It is truly a special moment for DVSE!

The breakfast buffet during the Children’s Thanksgiving Etiquette Lesson for NBC10 news

Family photos can be a part of the background to spark conversations about family traditions.

Use your formal place settings for holidays and throughout the year. If you explain to children the reasons why bone china, glass, crystal and silver are special, they will make every effort to be careful and not drop anything.

Etiquette classes are held at Grace Church in Haddonfield, NJ. This is the room set up for the NBC10 news segment for the Thanksgiving Etiquette Dining Event.

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How to polish silver and why I include it in my etiquette lessons?


No, you don’t need to own silver, bone china or have candelabras line your dining room table to have good manners, but there is a special connection between them and MY love for “all things” etiquette.

When I was a little girl, I often went to work with my Grandmomma Bessie, who was a domestic worker in a large home in Tennessee. She was my first teacher on using proper etiquette. I watched and learned to polish silver tea service sets, she taught me how to answer the telephone and she showed me that we could do the same at our homes, plus so much more!

Polishing the brass and silver in our home was a part of my chores during Saturday morning cartoons. If I missed a spot on the candlestick holder, my Momma Sallie would make me rub longer and harder to make it shine.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t understand why it mattered.

Now that I am older, I realize it is to show respect for the very special items that have been passed down through several generations of our family.

As often as possible, I share the story of my grandmother with my etiquette students. I want them to understand why I am excited to teach them what I learned from my grandmother and my mother (plus other values from my grandfather Richard and my Daddy Charles). As an adult, I loved that I received my certification to teach children the etiquette skills that are expected of them during this time in our world.

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Why I love bone china, glass and silver on my dining room tables!

I really enjoy going into department stores to look at all of the beautiful place settings arranged on dining room tables. I hear them screaming out to me “buy me” or, “you need me for your next class”!  I really have to resist the urge to buy any more dinner plates, salad plates, bread plates and glasses. Perhaps it’s because I grew up watching my grandmother Bessie and my mother Sallie set their dining room tables for Sunday dinners, plus holidays. I was the one who had to polish the silver and brass candle stick holders, trays and coffee pot beginning at the age of five. It was a part of my Saturday chore list and I did not like it at all. But I did love to see my reflection in the pieces after I had rubbed and rubbed for what seemed like hours.

I remember when I was finally old enough to sit at the “big” table with the grown-ups. I think I was seven years old. This meant I could ditch the hard, plastic cartoon plate in exchange for the fancy, delicate bone china plate for Sunday dinner. I was soooooo excited! It was such a rite of passage. I was finally old enough to be trusted not to drop the plate! From that point, I knew that I loved the look and feel of bone china.

Now, as an adult, I enjoy using glass, porcelain and bone china plates, plus real silverware during my etiquette classes. Children, as young as three and four years old, have used my “fancy” plates and nothing has gotten broken during the last four years I have been teaching. That is quite an accomplishment because when I was a little girl, I remember giggling at my great-aunt Dorothy for dropping and breaking her plates and cups.

When you explain to children how important it is to be careful and explain the reason why they should respect the place settings, they typically will try to impress you in their abilities to be extra careful. For this holiday season, I can’t wait to use my “fancy” pieces as often as possible, and not just for special occasions. Each time I do, I will continue to honor my family traditions and I can’t wait to do it again this holiday season, beginning this Thursday on Thanksgiving, and then on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and even Monday, too. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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