Pass the Gravy-and a little graciousness

Thanksgiving is just a week or so away.  Those who plan and excute the meal–and the day–are in overdrive.  They want everything to be perfect on this day of giving thanks.

What about the rest of us?  The lucky ones.  You know–the “guests”.  What can we do to show our gratitude to our host and his/her family?  Here are a few suggestions.

  • It’s common sense, but offer to bring a side dish, dessert, salad, paper goods, wine–whatever is needed. If you have something special that you’d like to make, offer it–but don’t be offended if the host tells you that it’s already covered.
  • If your offer is accepted, bring the dish fully prepared and ready to eat in an appropriate dish complete with a serving spoon or fork.
  • If your dish needs to be refrigerated, re-heated or otherwise requires preparation right before the meal, ask your host if they can accommodate you.  If it’s not possible, find something else to contribute.
  • Wear something nice.  Leave the jeans at home unless football on the lawn is one of the planned activities for the day.  Show respect by looking the part of a grateful guest.  There will likely be many photos commerating the day–you don’t want to be the sloppy one in the back (or even worse, the sloppy one in the front!) And remember to smile–the photos will probably find thier way to facebook for the world to see!
  • Use your very best table manners.  Introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know.  Try to talk to everyone.  Be especially courteous and kind to the elders of the group.  Pull out chairs for the ladies.  Watch your language and the volume of your conversations.
  • Don’t expect your hosts to plan dinner around football games.  If “the” game is on when the meal is served (it’s an art, you know, not a science), politely comply, knowing that your presence in front of the TV will not impact the outcome of the game.  Really.
  • Be gracious when serving yourself.  Best not to overdo it on the first round.
  • When asked what you are thankful for, have a ready answer.
  • Offer to help both before and after the meal.  Some hostesses have a system and prefer to do things themselves but you should at least ask.
  • Be effusive in your praise and abundunt with your thanks to the providers and preparers of the food.
  • Write a thank you note to your hosts.  It can be short but should convey your gratitude for their kindness and generousity.  It means so much to a host or hostess to know that their efforts were appreciated.

Have a most wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

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