Thanksgiving etiquette tips

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Thanksgiving day is one that many of us wait for with bated breath and appetite. I call it “The Big Eat Fest.” Statistically, in America, Thanksgiving and Christmas vie for the number-one spot as the favorite holiday, and Thanksgiving places a close second to Super Bowl Sunday as the day when people eat the most.

As we gather with loved ones and relatives — some of whom we may not have seen in years — we should give major consideration to “proper behavior” during Thanksgiving dinner. To thank you for your readership and support this year, I offer these Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips

Tips for guests

  • Arrive at the designated time
  • Be prepared to take your shoes off in case it’s requested of you
  • If you bring a dish, it should be ready to serve or with minimal preparation
  • Do not taste (eat) directly from the prepared dish. That’s called “double-dipping,” which is considered rude and kind of disgusting
  • Please be mindful to not call food “nasty.” The dish may not be something that you care for, but not “nasty.” If you don’t like it, just don’t take any.
  • If you venture out and try something new, try a small portion. Some people take a larger portion and then decide they don’t like it. You know where it goes — in the garbage. What a waste! That may have been someone’s favorite dish and now it’s all gone.
  • If you really like something, begin with a modest portion; leave enough for other guests. After everyone has been served, if there is some left, you may help yourself to seconds.
  • Speaking of seconds, it’s rude and disrespectful to put aside something just for you to take home before other guests have been served. Now, if you have an IN with the host, the two of you can work that out behind the scenes. But don’t get an attitude if the host wants you to hold off to have enough for every guest.
  • If you stay until the end, especially with family and close friends, offer to help clean up.
  • Speaking of staying to the end, if the host sets a start time and an end time, say 4-7pm, be prepared to arrive at 4 pm (give or take 10 minutes) and leave by 7 pm.

Tips for the host

  • Be as prepared as possible; this minimizes stress and allows more time to spend with your guests.
  • Make sure you have enough food and enough serving supplies for all. You would not want to be washing dishes in the middle of your time together.
  • If your kitchen is small or you do not have space for dirty dishes, just get a tub of some sort (like Rubbermaid) and just stack those dirty dishes away; they will be there waiting for you after the last guest leaves.


To all of you, take time to express your gratitude and Thanksgiving. Say grace; allow time for each guest to share something they are grateful for. But most of all, enjoy your time together.

If you want to be invited back to gatherings next year, keep in mind that manners are memorable — always put your best foot forward.

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