It’s turkey time and lots of us will be spending the tummy-stuffing holiday at a home other than our own. As guests, we want to be on our best behavior and make the host’s job a little more enjoyable. So here are some quick tips to make you into the guest they’ll welcome back next year:
1. Bring a thoughtful gift. Traditionally, you would bring a dish to add to dinner or a pretty bouquet of flowers. However, now we have many more options to choose from. What does your host(ess) like? Try to find out a little about his/her hobbies or interests ahead of time. If they like music, make them a holiday mixtape. If they’re into technology, get them a subscription or app for the latest tech magazine. Do they love fashion and beauty? Give a gift card to their favorite clothing store or online boutique. Maybe they have a pet. A new chew toy to keep their dog busy would be perfect. Not only will they adore you for bringing something they find useful, but it will be a great, easy conversation starter.
2. Help do something! Don’t just offer to help once and then glue your bum to your seat as soon as they decline. Unless the dinner is catered or your host(ess) really does not want you getting in the way, it is only polite to help them with some aspect of the gathering. You know what you are good at doing, so don’t offer to help cook if you were a contestant on “Disaster Chef Season 2.” Help set the table, wash the dishes, keep the children out of the kitchen, or even set up the dvd player for the after dinner movie.
3. Keep your foot out of your mouth. You probably know too much of their business already. This is not your opportunity to blurt it all out while they’re shoveling pumpkin pie in their mouths. Even if they raise some of their personal issues, (yes, even if they ask for your input), keep your comments limited and respectful.
4. Show gratitude. After all, that is the whole point of this season. Remember to thank your host(ess) for having you join them. Compliment them on something about the evening. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or grandiose. A simple, “Thanks for everything. Dinner was great!” works just as well as, “I appreciate you inviting me to share this day with you. You are a divine chef and host. This was truly delightful.” Make note of your setting and who you are addressing in order to decide how spicy your “thank you” needs to be. If it is an all out Thanksgiving dining extravaganza or an especially heartwarming affair, you might want to consider sending a nice thank you card afterwards. If they put that much into the evening, you can put a little extra into your thank you.
Now you’re off! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Remember to mind your manners and check back in for more holiday etiquette tips.