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Christmas Etiquette Guide for Your Children

Christmas Etiquette Guide for Your Children



Christmas is just around the corner with many family gatherings, feasts and presents.  Help your child remain sophisticated and well-mannered with our etiquette guide.


Children’s Etiquette Christmas


Opening presents

This is can be a frenzied event.  Your child is ripping through the wrapping paper and has is screaming with joy.  Alternatively, it can be a calm event but filled with joy.  When with extended family members and friends, opening presents the polite way creates a wonderful impression about your child.  With some training, your child can be trained to do so.


Talk to your child before the event

Emily Post suggests something along these lines, “Last year Christmas morning was crazy! Can we think about doing something different this year?”  With this, you are setting the right expectations with your child.  Walk your child through the steps and what you expect them to do.  Your child will feel empowered to open presents.  Along the way, ask your child if they would like to change anything about opening presents as well.  If your child feels like a part of the decision-making process, there will be less resistance and they will be happy to follow it.


Follow the same routine consistently.

If you are going to have your child open presents and then mom and dad, make sure you do the same thing on the day of opening presents.  It is highly advisable to not change that routine.  Changing patterns without informing your child beforehand is likely to create unhappiness in your child and lots of resistance.


Have children involved in picking presents you wants to unwrap. 

It might be standard routine in your home to have your children pick the presents they want to open.  Change it up a little this year.  Have them pick out the presents you should open.


Pay attention.

When your child is opening their presents, cheer them on.  Ask them questions about what they love about it.  Alternatively, if your child’s siblings are opening their presents, encourage your child to cheer them on.


Cheer on your children.

Positive reinforcement is great way to make your child feel like they have accomplished something.  Let them know how good they are opening presents in a neat manner.  This builds confidence in your child and will make them feel good about themselves.


Open stockings before the presents.

Christmas morning can be a frenzy! The sheer excitement of opening presents can have children jump out of bed, run to the tree and start looking for presents like the little hulk! Calm them down first by getting them to open the stockings first that are hanging by the foot of the bed.   By doing so, you are helping them calm down first, ease their hunger for presents and giving yourself enough time to get out of bed!



Children’s Etiquette Christmas


The Christmas Meal


The big sit-down meal is an important occasion. Your entire family will be there and you are dressed in your holiday finest.  This is in fact a great chance for your child to shine.  Here is a mini guide on how to help your child come out looking sophisticated and well mannered.


Practice makes perfect.

Set up a mock Christmas table at your kitchen and have your child practice.  Set up the plates, forks, glasses and napkins where you would actually place them during the big meal and practice with your child. If they are struggling the first time around, don’t force it on them.  Give them a break and after a day or two, go over the process again.


Select three manners to perfect.

While you are running through the mock dinners, select three manners that are most important to you; they could be chewing food with the mouth closed, using spoons and forks correctly and requesting for food to be passed to them instead of reaching over the table to get them.  Selecting a few manners to focus on helps your child learn quickly without being over whelmed.


Help your child chew food the right way.

Chewing food with the mouth closed is a very difficult task for young children.  Children love chewing food with their mouth open.  Put a mirror in front of your child when your child is eating.  If they are able to see how they eating in a gross manner, they are less likely to do so.  Children like to look good and feel complimented.


Explain why manners are important.

If your child is able to understand why are make some rules, they are more likely to follow it.  Explaining it in language that they understand (“chewing with the mouth open is gross”) will help them regulate themselves.  If you are able to state your requests in a way that relates to their lives will increase your chance of success.


Persist and don’t lose heart.

Following rules takes time and patience.  Most children will not get it right the first time.  Use positive reinforcement to associate that action with happy emotions.  If your child chews food with their mouth closed, give them a high – five or praise them.


Role play.

Something children need that little extra to understand why should have good manners.  Role playing helps a lot.  Talk to your child about how they feel when someone does something they do not like.  Act it out.  Take a toy from your child’s hands when they are playing with it.  Then ask them how they felt when you did that.  Then guide them through the appropriate behavior.


Children’s Etiquette Christmas



After opening presents and the Christmas meal


Now comes the time for thank you messages. 

If you are thanking someone in person, notes are not needed.  The best thank you notes come in person.   Hand written thank you notes are great if the person is not town.  Have your child make their own handwritten thank you notes and mail it to out of town relatives and friends.




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