If you are off the hook for hosting Thanksgiving this year, you’ll more than likely be a guest somewhere else; and, regardless if you’re heading to your parent’s home or to your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s house (where he or she is the only person you know) here are some tips to follow as a Thanksgiving guest. And, remember manners matter!
Even if you’re going to your parents house, do bring some type of gift. It can be as simple as a box of chocolates to extravagant as your Dad’s favorite $400 a bottle brandy. Other acceptable host gifts include: a bottle of wine, really good bread (either for Thanksgiving dinner or for the following day for sandwiches) or a potted plant. Do avoid flowers because your host or hostess more than likely will have their own centerpiece. (Not to mention the fact someone in the house may be allergic to flowers.)
While turkey is the staple in most households on Thanksgiving, do be prepared for the fact your host or hostess might be serving something completely different like fish or even a vegetarian/vegan meal. Do your best not to be thrown by the fact you aren’t getting the turkey dinner you were expecting, and, do keep in mind it is about the people around you and not the meal itself. If the meal was truly awful and your host or hostess insists you take some leftovers, simply take them. You can either toss it away or find someone homeless who might appreciate the meal, even if it isn’t that great.
Most families try to keep conversations polite and avoid bringing up the fact that Uncle Ed still owes your Dad $5000 for the business loan he gave him over 10 years ago and never paid back; however, there are families out there who think Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect venue to air all the dirty laundry in the family. Should you find yourself in the latter situation, do your best to get out of the line of fire. Go for a walk or if things are really getting out of hand, pack your bags and get out of there! While in any other circumstance this would be rude on your part, it is far more rude, inconsiderate and completely manner-less to start a fight during Thanksgiving dinner, especially if someone outside the family is joining you. The family is only demonstrating how truly classless they are and let’s face it, you weren’t raised that way and you may want to question if you really want to be part of that type of family.
Finally, regardless of how uncomfortable you felt or how bad the meal, do send your host or hostess a thank you. It can be as simple as a handwritten thank you card to something more special such as a bouquet of flowers. Good manners and etiquette are never out of style, and, even if your thank you isn’t acknowledged, rest easy knowing that you did the right thing,