Brush Up Your Christmas Etiquette

Just when you think you have all the Christmas details sorted, with the help of our Christmas planning guide of course, along comes another thing to worry about: etiquette.  Is your Christmas etiquette up to speed?  And are you teaching your children the right way to behave at Christmas time?  We've teamed up with Battery Station to give you the lowdown on Christmas etiquette, and to offer one lucky reader a £50 voucher.

Some top tips to teach the kids:

1. Admire the wrapping before opening a gift, and take some time to open and appreciate each gift.  Keep a careful record of who sent what for those all-important thank you notes too.

2. Be grateful for all gifts, someone took the trouble to buy or make it for you, so be grateful whether it's something you like or wanted or not.  Receive your gift with the same amount of thought and care that went into giving it.

3. Give to others, whether they are strangers or friends.  Give some gifts to a local charity collecting for the homeless or to your local women's refuge.  The Salvation Army runs a gift collection service, check with your local branch.

4. Offer your time as well as gifts to local charities, or just to an elderly neighbour.  Focussing on others' needs is hard for kids, but a great life lesson.

5. Share your time with family too.  Turn off the electronics and the phones and spend proper, uninterrupted time together.  Christmas films, board games, playing with the new toys, long walks in the countryside, going on a bike ride, enjoy the little things as a family and make memories.

And some for the grown-ups:

1. If you give a gift that needs batteries, add some spare ones in the package.  The parents, and the child, will be eternally grateful!

2. Dress smartly, but try not to rival the Christmas tree!  Go super sparkly for New Year by all means, but tinsel, sequins and glitter is a bit much for lunch on Christmas Day.

3. Always take a gift for your host, and ask in advance if there is anything in particular you can provide for the meal.  Even if you told to 'just bring yourselves', a good bottle of wine will always be well received.

4. Turn your phone off!  Who cares what's happening on Facebook or Instagram, enjoy the moment instead.  And never, ever look at your phone when in conversation or at the table.

5. Avoid all conversations about politics and religion, and memorise a sentence or two to sidestep those quagmire opening gambits like, so which way did you drive here?

And don't forget to enter our competitions