How to ring in the new year without wringing your hands

1. First toast.

Etiquette expert Sharon Schweitzer, founder of Access to Culture, says the host or hostess of the dinner or party offers the first toast. At an informal dinner party or table of friends, a guest can propose the first toast to thank the host for organizing the event or gathering.

To clink or not? You may choose to clink your glass or not.

Same with kisses. If you don’t want to be kissed by strangers, stay close to your date, extend your hand for a handshake, provide your cheek for an “air-kiss” or excuse yourself before midnight.

2. Bubbly.

Here’s how to open a bottle of champagne without spraying yourself, putting out someone’s eye with the cork or spilling a precious drop. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle while grasping the champagne cork gently with the one hand, then turn the bottom of the bottle firmly with the other hand. Twist the bottom of the bottle slowly, until you feel the cork gently release in your hand.

Some people don’t drink alcohol for health or religious reasons. Have a champagne alternative on hand, such as a sparkling beverage. Think ginger ale, club soda or juice. Toasting is about the sentiment of the occasion, not the liquid in the glass.

3. Toasty words.

Here are some ideas from “40 Drinking Toasts To Make Everyone Love You” from the blog Crave.

“To the holidays — all 365 of them.”

”May we be who our dogs think we are.”

“May all your ups and downs be between the sheets.”

More at www.protocolww.com and www.craveonline.com.

— Andrea Brown, Herald writer

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