Thanksgiving is a holiday of food, family, friends and fellowship. It’s a time to gather around the table and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a time to be grateful for our blessings. It’s also a time to be mindful of our manners. Whether you’re the host or a guest, knowing etiquette dos and don’ts surrounding turkey day will help to make it digestible and enjoyable for all.
Prepare a Bountiful Feast
There’s nothing worse than running out of food. Plan on having enough food to allow for anyone to go back for seconds. Should there be leftovers, you can offer some to guests or enjoy it the next day. Who doesn’t like turkey sandwiches with a slice of pie?
Arrange the Seating
If you’re hosting a big crowd, make it easy on your guests – and you – and use place cards. This way you can strategically place family members where you like them rather than risk having those uncongenial relatives stuck next to each other.
Take the Lead
Before everyone starts enjoying the meal, be prepared to welcome everyone with grace or a toast. This sets the tone for conversation and friendly banter. Be brief in your remarks, so all can enjoy their meal while it’s hot. Cold mashed potatoes just don’t taste the same.
Spread the Love
It’s your job to ensure everyone feels special and appreciated. Take time to visit with each guest before and after the meal. What better day to show your love for family and friends than Thanksgiving.
Save the Dirty Dishes for Later
Avoid heading to the kitchen to wash the dishes. Washing the dishes sends a loud and clear signal to your guests that the party is coming to a close. It’s okay to clear the table for dessert or even stack the dishes in the kitchen but no more. Take the time to enjoy your family and friends. After all, it may be a year before you all get together again.
If you’re fortunate enough to receive an invitation to a family member’s or friend’s house for Thanksgiving, by all means arrive on time – not too early or late. As a rule of thumb, arrive no later than 15 minutes after the start time. Of course, if you’ve run into a problem where you’ll upset the dinner schedule, call your host right away to let them know. This way, he or she can plan accordingly. And don’t be the last to leave. Read the cues of your host when the gathering is coming to a close, and don’t overstay your welcome.
Ask if You Can Bring a Dish
Lucky you! You get out of hosting the Thanksgiving Day bash! Though, that doesn’t exempt you from coming empty handed. Be considerate and ask your host if you can help lighten the load by bringing a dish or two.
Hostess Gift – Yes!
Bringing a small gift is an appropriate gesture to show your appreciation to the host. A bottle of wine, flowers, candle, it matters not. What matters is you took the time to think of your host in a special way. No doubt, he or she will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Lend a Hand
Your host will appreciate an extra set of hands whether filling water glasses, clearing dishes or doing whatever it takes to help out, and you’ll feel good about lending support.
Avoid Sensitive Topics
At the risk of stirring the pot and agitating others, refrain from conversing about topics that may hit a nerve and set a friend or family member off. Your host has worked painstakingly hard to make the day a happy and smooth one. Avoid talking about politics or a topic you know is not near and dear to someone’s heart.
Don’t Ask for a Goodie Bag of Leftovers
As tempting as it is to ask to take home leftovers, don’t. Chances are your host will offer them to you if there’s plenty to go around. And don’t take home the food you brought. Unless your host insists you take it home, leave it behind for your host to enjoy.
Thank Your Host
Nothing is more rewarding to a host than knowing you had a great time. Compliment him or her for the delicious food and enjoyable gathering. Send a handwritten note to express your gratitude even more.
Contact Polished, today to fine-tune your etiquette and soft skills.