3 fancy ways to fold a napkin, plus the lowdown on darling dinner manners


Holidays rock for a ton of different reasons, but one of our faves is getting together with the whole fam. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all coming together to celebrate—what could be better?
Having everyone together under one roof can come with a bit of pressure to be on your best behavior, but don’t worry! We’ve got the dos and don’ts of dinner table manners that will make Mom and Dad proud and three ways to fold fancy napkins that are sure to impress everyone else at the table.

Add some holiday pizzazz to your family’s dinner table with these three cinchy ways to fold a fancy napkin.


The accordion:

1. Grab a fancy napkin and a drinking glass.

2. Take the right edge of the napkin and fold it in about an inch. 

3. Flip the napkin and fold the edge you just folded over backwards another inch, making a pleat. 

4. Repeat step 3, flipping the napkin after every fold, until you reach the other edge. Make sure you fold it well—you don’t want it to fall apart later.

5. Now, now, take the top edge and fold it to the bottom edge, so that you have twice as many pleats. Tuck the folded edge into your glass so that the pleats fan out prettily. 


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The bow tie:

1. Lay out a napkin in front of you and fold the left and right edges in so that they meet in the middle.

2. Now, pull the top and bottom edges in so the top edge overlaps the bottom edge a little around the middle. You should have a rectangle or square with smooth, folded edges. 

3. Keeping everything neatly folded, slide a silky holiday ribbon under your napkin and tie it around the middle so that it makes a bow tie shape. 

4. Trim any extra ribbon (being careful not to cut the napkin), flip your napkin over so the knot is in the back and adjust it so it looks like an adorable holiday bow. 


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The envelope:

1. Grab a square napkin and fold one corner in until it’s a little more than midway across the napkin.

2. Take the corner across from the one you just folded and pull it over until they overlap in the middle. 

3. Fold one of the other two corners up to meet the other two corners. Your napkin should look like a cute open envelope.

4. Tuck silverware, place cards or other festive decorations into your “envelopes.” Just make sure people can see them before they go to put their napkins on their laps.

Now that you’ve wowed everyone with your fab folding skills, it’s time to show off your impressive manners. Need a refresher on what to do? Check out these dos and don’ts.

Do offer to help set the table or cook. Even if you don’t know how to cook the turkey, you can still help by stirring the gravy or putting the rolls in a basket.

Don’t forget to put your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down. You don’t want to spill anything in your lap while you’re serving yourself. 

Do hold a heavy platter or bowl for someone while they serve themselves, especially if they’re a little kid or an older family member who may not be able to hold it with one hand. 

Don’t start eating until everyone has been served and the host starts eating. Watch your mom and dad: if they aren’t eating yet, you shouldn’t be, either. 

Do compliment the chef on your favorite part of the meal. It may seem small, but they worked hard to cook for everyone, and they’ll really appreciate the praise. 

Don’t text or play games on your phone at the dinner table. Leave it in your purse or put it on silent—you should be paying attention to your family, not your phone. 

Do wait until everyone is finished before you ask to leave the table. Dinner may be longer than normal, but your relatives will love having the extra time to catch up on your life.

Don’t let someone else clean up after you once the meal is finished. Clear your plate (and your grandparents’ or parents’), even if it’s not usually your job. The faster everything is cleaned up, the faster you can get to the good part: dessert!  


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by Kate Geraghty | 2/1/2016