Thanksgiving etiquette tips

Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips



Thanksgiving is about food, family, and friends. Food is at the center of the celebration. We invest so much time into the meal, planning the menu weeks in advance. The traditional meal of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce is wonderful but, we can’t help testing our creative culinary talent. We scour magazines, Facebook, even tune into the Food Network for inspiration. We call relatives for family recipes and spend blinding hours scrolling Pinterest for quick tips.  When we have the menu under control we are now free to focus on other important tasks.

If we burn the turkey or make lumpy gravy it’s not the end of the world. The reason for the day is to spend time with family and friends, the meal is bonus. We invest a lot of time and energy into making sure everything goes perfectly.  We want family and friends to leave with fond memories and smiles. After all, this isn’t work, this is love in action.

Why do we need to bother with etiquette on holidays when we should just be able to kick back and let it all hang out? The answer is simple, we care about those around us. No one wants to accidentally offend someone or feel uncomfortable at a holiday gathering. It’s perfectly fine and acceptable to kick back and let it all hang out in the comfort of our own home. However, it’s not a good idea when we are guests in someone else’s home. Below is a holiday dinner etiquette cheat sheet for host/hostess and guests.

Simple helpful tips for hosting holiday dinners

Tips for the Host or Hostess:

Send out invitations at least one month in advance

Ask ahead of time if guests have dietary restrictions/food allergies

Plan a traditional menu and add some creative dishes

Be gracious

Put on seasonal music

Use place cards

Serve the youngest and oldest first

Cook more food than necessary

Plan to have disposable containers on hand for folks to take leftovers home

Be prepared for an unexpected guest

Don’t wash dishes before guests leave

Guest Tips:

Arrive on time. Whatever you do, don’t arrive early. Perfect timing is within 30 minutes of the appointed time

Bring a host gift, a token of your gratitude for his or her hospitality

Before you help yourself to a dish, always ask each person to your right then left if they would like some first.

Do not reach across the table for food. Always pass to the right.

Cellphones have no place at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Be a great conversationalist

Don’t overstay your welcome. Plan to stay only 30 minutes after coffee and dessert

Send a thank you note the next day

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!




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