10 Ways to Be the Best Thanksgiving Guest

published Nov 16, 2016
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Being a good guest at Thanksgiving dinner is just as important as being a good host. You’re about to be treated to a meal that was not only cooked with a lot of time and attention, but also with a whole lot of love. Here are 10 ways to be a great guest.

1. RSVP in a timely manner and ask what to bring.

Since your host is likely planning the menu well in advance, be courteous and RSVP in a timely manner. A couple of weeks ahead of the date is ideal so that they can organize their menu accordingly and aren’t left wondering if you’re coming or not. Also, when you RSVP, ask if you can contribute something. If you have any dietary restrictions, if always nice to let your host know at this time and also offer to bring a dish that meets them.

2. Don’t forget the wine!

Even if your host says not to bring anything, it’s a nice gesture to come with a bottle of wine in hand. Bonus points if you also bring a bottle of sparkling apple cider for any kids or those who aren’t imbibing.

More on Thanksgiving drinks: What to Drink with Thanksgiving Dinner

3. Even better: ask what wine to bring.

If you think of it, give your host a call a few days ahead of time and ask what kind of wine might complement what they’re making. They may likely say bring along whatever you like, but it’s a nice thing to ask in case they’re thinking of serving a particular wine, like a full-bodied white instead of a light red, with the meal.

4. Bring everything you need to serve the dish you’re contributing.

If you are bringing dish to share, bring along its serving dish and utensils. It’s nice not to have to ask your host to borrow their own serveware when they might not have any to spare. Also, remember to take home your dishes and utensils at the end of the night so your host doesn’t have to hunt you down to return it.

5. If you require fridge or oven space, ask your host in advance.

Give your host a call a week or so in advance if the dish you’re contributing requires fridge or oven space. Both are in high demand on Thanksgiving day, so it’s helpful for your host to know if they need to save some space for you.

6. Give your host some space (aka don’t crowd the kitchen).

It’s tempting, but try not to congregate in the kitchen. Of course, do ask if your host needs help with anything, but try not to simply linger around waiting for the food to be ready.

7. Compliment the food.

This is rather obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you’re deep in conversation with your cousin and you’re stuffing your face with stuffing. Your host put a lot of work into the meal, and a compliment and a thank you goes a very long way in showing your appreciation.

8. Don’t express disappointment that your favorite side dish that you thought everyone served isn’t served.

Maybe you grew up always having mashed potatoes at the table, but your host only serves scalloped potatoes. Or in your mind, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without green bean casserole and it’s missing from the spread. Try to be mindful that everyone has their own traditions. You can always offer to contribute a dish you know you’d miss.

9. Offer to help with the dishes.

Hosting is a whole lot of work and it doesn’t just end when everyone finally sits down to eat. Offer to help with cleanup. If it’s not helping with the dishes, help put up any leftovers — it’s no surprise what a chore this can be after Thanksgiving.

10. Make an effort to talk to people you don’t know.

Thanksgiving can bring together a unique group of family and friends, some of which might not really know each other that well. Take the burden off of your host to make sure everyone is chatting together and feeling included by making an effort to talk to other guests you might not know as well as others.

What do you think makes a great Thanksgiving guest?