Modern Etiquette: Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is the perfect time to cook, catch-up, and gather with all of your loved ones. Family and friends are thankful for the time they get to cook together, eat together and share memories and moments of thankfulness with the people they love the most. Despite the good intentions, any family get- together can mean drama and uncomfortable moments. Have no fear- we compiled a list of tips to use whether you are a guest or if you are hosting Thanksgiving so everyone can enjoy the holiday!

Hosts- Set expectations and make guests feel welcome

Tip 1: Set clear “rules” and expectations for guests so everyone can understand how the event will go down. This ensures that the people with dietary restrictions can prepare ahead of time and it lets people know what time to arrive/leave and when to book a babysitter if necessary.

Tip 2: Set the date and time and stick to it. Make sure people coming for Thanksgiving know what time to arrive, when they’ll be eating and when events will be over.

Tip 3: Specify details: can people bring a guest? Are pets allowed? Will TV watching happen? Make that decision clear so guests know if the event is right for them or not.

Tip 4: Ask for help if you need it: If cooking on your own for a ton of people intimidates you then tell your guests how they can help. Suggest dishes they can bring, or ask if a few people wouldn’t mind cleaning up or putting things away after the meal.

Tip 5: Do trial runs on new recipes before the big day. If you’re making anything for the first time, make it a few days before so you have a chance to tweak the recipe to your liking and also so you can know the correct way to make it.

Tip 6: Don’t wanna spend all day in the kitchen? Make it a potluck. If you’re hosting a large gathering and have limited time or resources to prepare everything, it’s perfectly acceptable to take care of the turkey while guests bring side dishes and drinks.

Tip 7: Always start Thanksgiving with a clean and empty sink. When you’re prepping all the food, wash as you go or run the dishwasher right before you sit down to dinner. This cuts cleaning time in half and relieves your guests of polite obligation to clear the kitchen.

Guests: How to have fun and help out this holiday season 

Tip 1: RSVP on time: if someone invites you to Thanksgiving, be sure to RSVP as soon as possible so they have time to plan their meal accordingly.

Tip 2: Ask Ahead. If you’re planning to bring a plus one or want to inquire about bringing a friend who doesn’t have anywhere to spend the holiday, ask the host ahead of time so they can prepare or see if they have room. Some hosts prepare special name tags, gifts, etc. for guests, so they’d like the chance to make one- or at the very least prepare enough food- for the additional guests.

Tip 3: Helping Out: An old southern adage is “ask three times”. If someone insists they don’t need help after 3 offers, accept and move on. Sometimes an extra bottle of wine, some bread or an extra side dish is a huge help and people are too shy to ask.

Tip 4: Host Gift: It’s not required, but it’s always thoughtful to bring someone a gift for hosting a huge event at their home, especially if you’re not bringing food/wine or another contribution to the meal.

Tip 5: Help Clean Up: Unless a host force-ably removes you from the kitchen (and some will), it’s polite to help wash up a bit, help clear plates or take out trash.

Tip 6: Conversation: There are two things to remember at family events. One, avoid controversial topics. Unless you come from a family where political arguments are the norm, avoid topics that are likely to make others feel uncomfortable. Two, engaging in discussion is part of being a polite guest.

Tip 7: Thank Yous: Thanksgiving is no small event to host or cook for, so be sure to follow up with a thank you note or call after the event. It shows people how much their hard work was appreciated- and goes a long way toward getting an invite for next year.

~Happy Holidays from BTS Event Management~

Contact BTS Event Management for a complimentary consultation and let us be a part of your special day!

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