Holiday Manners Makeover- Greetings

by Cindy Post Senning on November 1, 2011

This post originally appeared at my parenting blog The Gift of Good Manners. I will be cross posting some of my favorite content from that blog here at the Etiquette Daily periodically. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Greetings and Handshakes

Greetings and handshakes are social skills – and like every skill it takes practice to get them right and to feel comfortable using them. Also, it’s much easier to learn and practice with someone you know well so try out that greeting and handshake in familiar settings with friends and family.

Let me say it again! Practice with siblings, neighbors, and dolls and stuffed animals – every day!


Look them in the eye and SMILE!

Speak clearly

Say the person’s name

Add a “Glad to see you” or “How’s it going?”

If it’s a relative or close friend, add a hug.


Right hand to right hand – palm to palm; thumbs up

Firm grip – not too tight; not too limp

Two to three pumps then release

History of handshake: In olden days, knights extended a hand to show it did not hold a weapon and they were approaching as friends not enemies. The other person responded showing he didn’t have a weapon either. The handshake was a gesture of friendship in the olden days and still is today.

Greetings and handshakes are skills that will serve your children well far beyond the holiday season so take this opportunity to be intentional about teaching them. It’s really a gift for them from you!

See you Friday…

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

V.T. Reynolds November 6, 2011 at 9:20 am

I find it perplexing that still to this day, there are men and women alike who are not comfortable shaking hands with another woman. Men are still the predominant “hand-shakers” of our culture, normally initiating the handshake with women, in my circles at least (I thought the woman was supposed to initiate it, back in the day?). Also, when I initiate handshakes with other women, some women seem hesitant or respond awkwardly as if women do not normally try to shake their hands. The women with whom I experience this the most are either elderly ladies or women in their 20′s/30′s. It is the women in the middle (40′s/50′s/60′s) who seem to socially handle hand shakes the best. Then there are a few men who also do not seem comfortable shaking a woman’s hand, but mostly it seems to be the women. Is this just me?


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