Debrett's etiquette advisor, Jo Bryant, said: 'It's medically proven that a peck on the cheek is much more hygienic than a handshake. People carry billions of germs on their hands so 'cheek-to-cheek' kissing, French-style, is a healthier greeting by far".
The 9-Step Guide
1) BE CONSIDERATE If you're feeling unwell at the Christmas do, just stand back and observe or, better still, make your apologies and go home rather than risk spreading the lurgy.
2) THE CANDIDATE Make sure you pick a willing target and that you won't make them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable by asking for a kiss.
3) THE REQUEST If you want to give someone a Christmas kiss under the mistletoe, it's polite and well-mannered to ask first.
4) THE DECISION Decide in advance, are you going to proffer one kiss or two? Be cautious with strangers - two kisses may seem over the top, even in festive environment.
5) KEEP YOUR DISTANCE Don't get too close before or during the kiss and avoid invading the other person's space.
6) HANDS OFF It's acceptable to touch the other person's shoulders or upper arms, but don't be a sleaze with wandering hands….
7) RIGHT CHEEK FIRST It is customary to kiss the other person's right cheek first (that's the one to your left!). Deflect any "meet-in-the-middle" embarrassment with humour or a friendly apology.
8) CHEEK-TO-CHEEK Unless you know a person intimately, a social 'kiss' is actually the briefest touch of your cheek against the other person's. Because there is so little contact, there is a minimal transfer of germs - that's why a kiss is the healthier alternative to a hand shake.
9) THANK the other person and wish them a merry Christmas.
The 9 Don'ts
1) Don't go to the Christmas do if you think you have flu.
2) Don't proffer unwanted kisses at the office party, mistletoe or not.
3) Don't reject a kiss under the mistletoe - a festive peck is all part of Christmas fun.
4) Don't leave a saliva trace - remember it's cheek-to-cheek.
5) Don't kiss on the lips - reserve this for private romantic moments.
6) Don't kiss anyone if you, or they, have a mouthful of food or drink.
7) Don't kiss the air.
8) Don't make sound effects.
9) Keep away from the mistletoe if you've had too much to drink - your social skills will be impaired & you don't want any of those morning-after regrets.
So, some words of wisdom to ponder there. After all, the last thing you want for Christmas this year is swine flu, otherwise you might just end up looking like this guy.