Whether you are hosting or attending, holidays such as Thanksgiving should carry certain formalities and courtesies. Following good host and guest etiquette leaves a lasting impression and ensures that fun can be had by all.
Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips for Hosts
Taking on the role of the host is quite the responsibility. Whether you are catering to a small group of four or a large extended family and friends, organization and firm boundaries are your friends here.
- Ask about dietary requirements in advance. It is crucial to check whether your guests have allergenic, religious, or personal dietary requirements. If a guest is vegan for example, and you plan to put pork in the green beans, you will need to take care to not only make a separate batch but ideally use separate cooking utensils to avoid cross-contamination too. Respecting a guest’s dietary requirements is a great courtesy that requires prior planning.
- Have your guests arrive an hour before you intend to serve the meal. This allows time for mingling and a cocktail while you put together final touches, and accounts for anyone who may be running behind.
- Ask for help if you need it to get dinner out on time. There is no award for martyrdom when it comes to hosting! No one wants to be the frantic, frazzled host (nor do guests want to experience this).
- If a guest refuses alcohol, do not pry or pressure them to partake. Likewise, apart from asking about dietary restrictions and accommodating them, do not ask for the “why” behind their personal choices.
- As a host, it is your role to guide table conversation when necessary. If a controversial topic comes up, be direct and change the subject before things get out of hand. Maintaining and communicating a rule of no politics at the holiday table will ensure everyone stays comfortable despite differing viewpoints.
- Apart from clearing the table, wait until after guests have left to begin cleaning up. Nothing spoils the fun faster than the clanging of dishes!
Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips for Guests
We all want to be good guests when attending an event or visiting a person’s home. Keeping these tips in mind for Thanksgiving and the holiday season alike will always leave a positive impression.
- Arrive on time. This goes for any occasion. As a guest, it is important to arrive on time for any event, but particularly when someone is cooking for you. Arrive early and you may catch your host during last-minute preparations. Arrive late and you may cause everyone to wait for you. Your host is working hard on multiple dishes and timing them so they are all ready at the same time. It is a balancing act in itself, try not to create added stress by arriving too early or late.
- Ask what you can bring. If your host declines, bring a small hostess gift such as a scented candle. If you opt to bring flowers, make sure they are in a vase. The last thing your hosts need as guests are arriving is to be finding a vase for flowers.
- Do not get into a conversation around politics or any other controversial topics. This is mentioned above but it applies to guests too! Leave the tricky subjects for another time (or never!)
- Know when to take your leave. Thanksgiving is a marathon for most hosts to prepare and after you leave they will have to clean up and likely do other chores. Do not overstay your welcome.
- Send a handwritten thank-you note within a few days of attending to show your gratitude to your host.
I hope you have found these Thanksgiving etiquette tips helpful. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend full of good manners and good cheer!
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