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Didi’s Manners & Etiquette: Easter with Family & Friends

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Etiquette for Easter dinner with the relatives is more about sitting down to a meal and focusing on individual family members than what you're eating. Best Easter queries to Didi Lorillard at Didi's Manners this week.

Hosting Easter lunch in a restaurant

Q.  For the past three Easters, I've picked up the check for our family dining out on Easter Sunday. For years while she was raising her children, my sister cooked Easter lunch at her house with roasted leg of lamb, ham and all the trimmings. When my sister returned to the work force, I started taking everyone for Easter lunch at a restaurant. My company is downsizing, I've taken a pay cut and I cannot afford to treat 20 people. My sister is making a lot more money than I am. As the big brother, how can I gracefully get out of playing host at Easter?  PW, Stony Brook, NY

A.  With Easter marching closer, it is a bit late to cancel. The best you can do is to talk to family members about pitching in on the restaurant bill. Can you ask your sister to split the bill with you? Alternatively, would you consider organizing a potluck Easter lunch in your home with everyone bringing their favorite dish and a bottle of wine or a dessert? It will take some coordination, and you can purchase prepared food, and use paper plates. Easter is all about keeping family together, and not haute cuisine.

Over the next ten months, talk to family members about how best to keep up the tradition of bringing the family together for the various holidays.

Seating same-sex guests at Easter dinner

Q.  We are hosting an Easter dinner and trying to figure out the seating. What is the etiquette for seating twelve guests man-woman-man-woman at a table when one couple is a male same-sex relationship? Will they be insulted if we guess which is the butch and which is the femme and seat them accordingly? Neither are married, and they haven't come out to us about who is the husband and who is the wife. What do you suggest?  AG, Boston

A.  Best not to guess because it could come off as insulting if you assign gender and are wrong. Perhaps, it is still being worked out. Perhaps, as in many couples, the femme could be the boss while the husband does the vacuuming. Don't pigeon hole your same-sex guests into gender roles that may not hold true. For all you know, they consider themselves husbands -- and not wife and husband. Like any decent host, seat guests according to compatibility. With each guest think of someone with a common interest, whether it be business, golf, sailing, fashion, dogs, travel, or having children the same age. It should be more about the person than sexual politics.

Another suggestion to up your Easter dinner is to seat guests on one side with someone they know and on the other side with someone they do not know.

Handling the Easter Bunny myth

Q.  My two small children believe in the Easter Bunny. Their older cousins do not. Last Easter an older cousin teased them about believing in the Easter Bunny. How do I handle this with my sister-in-law and her tween son?  M.B, Austin, TX

A.  Ask your sister-in-law if her son would consider dressing up as the Easter Bunny and entertaining his younger cousins on Easter? Let's hope the bully is more interested in perpetuating the myth than destroying the fantasy.

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at Didi'sManners.


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