Britain's authority on etiquette says it's more hygienic to exchange kisses on the cheek than to shake hands — so the swine flu pandemic should not make people afraid of kissing under the mistletoe this holiday season.

But Debrett's warns people to observe proper etiquette by kissing others on the cheek instead of the lips and to avoid touching the person being kissed except on the shoulder or the upper arms.

Debrett's etiquette adviser Jo Bryant warns people who are not feeling well to avoid parties altogether.

She also urges those who have been drinking a lot to steer away from the mistletoe — because their "social skills will be impaired." She did not elaborate on the swine flu implications of that.