Thanksgiving Etiquette

Every year we gather together with family and friends to give thanks for all the good things in our lives. It’s a time to reflect and enjoy each other’s company. But at the end of the day, without fail, there are two camps of people. Camp one – The people who are thankful that the day has culminated. Camp two – The people that don’t realize they’re the reason camp one exists. We’re going to do a run through of some basic etiquette that you can be mindful of so that at the end of the day you don’t end up being the reason that someone is thankful that Thanksgiving is another 365 days away.


Be on Time

If you’re hosting then make sure that if you have asked your guests to arrive at noon that you are ready to entertain by noon. Don’t open the door with your hair in curlers or in your boxers. It’s awkward and inappropriate. You’re setting the agenda for the festivities and there’s nothing festive about showing up to ill-prepared hosts. Additionally, if you’re a regular host you’ll begin to set a precedence of guests not taking your invitations seriously and showing up when they feel you’ll be ready to receive them.

If you’re a guest you’re expected to be on time. Showing up early is completely unacceptable and will do nothing but make your hosts frazzled as the buzz about trying to finish last minute details while keeping you entertained. On that note, showing up late isn’t any better. Your host has worked very hard to ready their home to welcome you as a guest and they’ve put a lot of effort into preparing a feast to enjoy with you. When you show up late you tell everyone in attendance that you do not value them. End of story.

iStock_000005127896_LargeBring Something Nice

Your host is going the extra mile to put together a lovely holiday. Go ahead and bring something nice. A bottle of wine or some cocktail mixers, a nice cheese assortment, pretty coasters, a good bottle of olive oil. There’s and endless array of gifts your can bring to express your gratitude for taking on hosting duties.


Football should not rule the day. If you simply must watch the games then schedule your dinner between the games. Or for all of you that aren’t Detroit Lion’s fans skip that Lions/Bears matchup because there’s little likelihood of being thankful for watching what will probably amount to a train wreck.

And no, it is not okay to have the game on while you eat. Thanksgiving is for spending time together. Thanksgiving is not for tuning all your fellow diners out with the game.


During Dinner

Grandma made the best stuffing ever. You know it, your dad knows it, your aunt knows it but your host doesn’t need to be reminded of it. Keep those comments locked down because your host/hostess has spent a lot of time, money, and effort into creating a wonderful meal for you. And if you think it’s okay to bring your version of whatever dish you think you make better and it hasn’t already been worked out with your host then you win the top prize for passive-agressive behavior and your host has full rights to leave you off the guest list next year. It is incredibly inappropriate and is done for no other reason to be hurtful and the only thing you’re serving is a real clear look at what you’re all about.

Brush up on your table manners. There’s only a few times a year that you really should bring your A-game to the dinner table and this is one of them.
You should also avoid fork fights. Mom doesn’t like it. She really doesn’t like it.


It won’t take a lot of effort to ensure that your Thanksgiving etiquette is on point. Just remember what Thanksgiving is all about. Spend time with the people you care about and make sure to remember all the wonderful things in your life to be thankful for.

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