My question is about Thanksgiving guest etiquette.
What should we know about being perfect guests? My fiancée and I are spending the long Thanksgiving weekend as guests of my aunt and uncle. It is a mini-family reunion with my parents, and brother and sister-in-law, who have a toddler.
–AJ, Middletown, RI
Thanksgiving Guest Etiquette
Never arrive empty handed, and I don’t mean that pushing your wheeled garment bag will do. Bring a small hostess gift. Either really good chocolates or bottle of wine, or flowers. If you know they will read it, bring a current best-selling thriller. Be mindful of setting up your technology.
Help out often. Be tidy and always thankful.
In a nut shell:
- Be in the present and I not texting your office or dog-sitter every half hour. Be in the here and now.
- Share your travel plans ahead of time. Communicate delays and changes along the way. That means clarifying exactly who you’ll be arriving with, how you’ll be getting there, and the time of your arrival. Include the time and day of your departure.
Will you be needing directions? Renting a car at the airport? Arriving in an Uber or do you need the name of the local cab company? Do you have to be picked up at the train station? Running behind schedule, let your host know by phoning her to tell her not to wait dinner for your arrival.
Ask if you need to bring a tie and jacket.
- Bring up any special needs ahead of time so your host is not blindsided. Such as asking if you can bring your dog, because your dog sitter isn’t available. Or announcing that your child is allergic to tree nuts.
- Special dietary needs can be a bummer for your host, but it doesn’t have to be if you can be either silent or flexible about your issues.
- Be helpful, pitch in. Even if it is to take out the garbage.
Offer to lay the logs for the fire, open the wine bottles, sweep the dusting of snow off the porch, go out to buy ice or ice-cream.
- Be a self-sustaining guest by not asking for the WiFi info while your hostess is whipping up the pumpkin pie to put in the oven. Ask all your tech questions during a down time, such as where to charge your phone.
- Keep all your possessions in one place, and not strewn out all over the house; that includes your tech gear and puffer jacket.
- Don’t charge your phone in the kitchen, but in your room; away from a child’s reach.
- When answering texts, emails and phone calls, find a quiet place where you won’t be in the way and condense your tech time into small doses.
- Bring your own charger, but don’t charge your phone in heavily trafficked areas such as the kitchen, dinning room, front hall, bathroom.
- Share WiFi, don’t hog it.
- Never leave the house without asking, “Is there anything I can pick up for you?”
- Volunteer (I can’t emphasis this enough.) to walk the dog, play checkers or read to the child, load the dishwasher. Be useful. You’re visiting not to be waited on, you’re there to participate.
- Before going off to bed the final night of your visit, ask your host what you should do about your towels and bed linens: fold them and leave them at the foot of your bed in the morning or take all used linens to the laundry room? Empty your wastepaper basket.
- When you get home, within two weeks follow up with a thank-you note giving a recap of the highlights of your visit.
My point is this. If you wish to be invited again, be a good guest and follow the above.
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Accepting A Compliment