🦃 Thanksgiving is officially upon us and we’re thankfully back to in-person gatherings this year. You’ve RSVP’d and have figured out what you and your loved ones are wearing. You’ve mapped out your travel route. What can you do to be a gracious guest and help to make the day fun, festive and smooth for your host?
🍁 If it’s potluck and your host has asked that you bring a specific dish or side, bring just that specific request, keeping in mind that your host has carefully planned the meal and others’ contributions. If possible bring your meal in disposable container to lessen clean up. Or, you could bring your contribution in dish that’s also a host gift.
🍁 If it’s not potluck, think about a gift they can use for another time: for instance a nice bottle of their favorite wine or non-alcoholic beverage, a fruit basket, cheese wedge, milled hand soap, scented candle, gift card, napkin rings, holiday coasters or a small plant.
🍁 Perhaps you have special dietary considerations such as vegetarian, gluten free or vegan; offer to bring a complementary dish for everyone to share.
🍁 Contact your host a day or two day before Thanksgiving, and offer to run a last minute errand on your way, or give a ride to their grandparents.
🍁 If you absolutely can’t make it do let your host know ASAP.
🍁 What about your arrival time? Ask your host if they’d like you to be there a little early to help. If they decline, arrive on time and not early (be mindful that your host will be busy with final details). It’s also fine to arrive a few minutes after designated start time.
🍁 Be sure to give a gracious thanks as soon as you arrive. If you’ve brought a dish or host gift, your host will direct you where to set it.
🍁 Be ready to mingle!
🍁 If you know your host well, offer ways to subtly help: gather folks into pre-dinner area, chop onions, stir gravy, fill water glasses, bring dishes/utensils to buffet table or direct guests to dining table at designated time.
🍁 Assist other guests discreetly if needed, such as an elderly person or someone with a toddler or young children in tow.
🍁 Be mindful to eat and drink in moderation.
🍁 Compliment the hosts and other guests’ meal contributions. Share the ingredients from the recipe you’ve brought.
🍁 Avoid controversy at the table; gently deflect and transition. Perhaps start a conversation about: what everyone is thankful for, their favorite thanksgiving memories as a child, their favorite Thanksgiving board games or football team/past games, or favorite holiday movies, songs or traditions.
🍁 Clean up your place setting, help clear the table and/or wrap food for storage.
🍁 Partake enthusiastically in the traditions, game watching and/or game playing, that your host has planned.
🍁 Leave the food you brought, unless the host insists on sending everyone home with a plate of food.
🍁 Pick up on hosts’ cues when the celebration is coming to a close; don’t overstay.
🍁 Give another heartfelt thanks as you’re leaving. As soon as possible send a note of appreciation (handwritten is best): share a fond memory from the day, reflect on unique food or centerpiece displays, or how much you enjoyed meeting another guest.
And most of all, have a lovely and joyful Thanksgiving celebration! 🦃