The Art of Being the Perfect Thanksgiving Guest

The Art of being the perfect Thanksgiving Guest

Being a good guest is just as important as being a good host, so practicing the Art of being the Perfect Guest is essential. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is tough so if you are not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, focusing instead on being the guest is your number ONE priority. Today we are sharing Thanksgiving Guest Etiquette because it is the perfect time to evaluate what it means to be a guest at someone’s home.

Here are eleven etiquette tips to help you practice being the perfect Thanksgiving guest.

RSVP promptly and ask your host what you can contribute.

Once you have received your Thanksgiving dinner invite, be courteous and RSVP by the specified date. Make sure to ask your host what you can contribute–it is the best time to tell your host about any dietary restrictions you may have.

Bring something even if your host says it is not necessary.

Get into the habit of never showing up empty-handed when invited to someone’s home, no matter the occasion, especially at Thanksgiving. Even if your host insists you should not bring anything–a gift is a thoughtful gesture. For example, a nice bottle of wine, a wheel of good cheese accompanied by nice crackers, or a beautifully smelling candle is a good gesture.


Call your host a few days in advance and ask what kind of wine might complement what they are making. And do not forget the children or anyone not drinking Alcohol–a bottle of sparkling apple cider is a beautiful gesture.

Do not cancel at the last minute.

Unless there is a true emergency, you should never cancel at the last minute, and during Thanksgiving, that means up to two weeks before the holiday but certainly not within the week. Canceling last minute will not only throw your host’s food cost, and menu planning but also their seating arrangements.

Be on time.

One Thanksgiving, I had someone tell me they forgot the date and time; needless to say, I did not believe her. So please do not forget the date and most importantly arrive at the specified time.

Make a dish everyone can enjoy.

If you are asked to bring a specific dish, bring ONLY what is requested. If the dish is not specified, prepare something everyone can enjoy. Nowadays, everyone is on a different diet–some are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, et cetera. A vegetable dish is a beautiful option. Maybe green beans, carrots, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes.

Do away with the disposable aluminum pan.

I love showing up with a brand-new dish my host can add to her collection. I will purchase a new cake stand if I am tasked with bringing a cake, a new salad bowl if it is my turn to bring the salad, or a new casserole dish.


It is nice to bring your serving utensils when you bring a dish.

If you know your host’s color scheme for her serve ware and dishes, make sure you purchase something that will complement what she already owns.

If you are bringing a dish that requires fridge or oven space, ask your host in advance.

It is polite to call your host a week or so in advance to let them know you will need fridge or oven space. It is helpful for your host to know they need to save some room for you.

Mingle with other guests.

I usually spend time with the people I know, but it is nice to get to know someone new, so if there is someone you have never met before, introduce yourself and start a conversation. It is a lovely way to break the ice.

Compliment the food.

In the swing of things, it is easy to forget to compliment the food; however, your host has put a lot of work into the meal, and a compliment and a thank you go a long way in showing your appreciation.


Be sure the compliments are delivered between mouthfuls and throughout dinner. Compliments should be given to all the cooks around the table.

Offer to help with the cleanup.

Hosting is a lot of work that does not end when everyone finally sits down to eat. Offer to help with cleanup. The most challenging part of hosting Thanksgiving dinner is the cleanup. As your host begins to clean, offer to help in any way the host feels comfortable. I do not like anyone washing my wine or champagne glasses, but it is helpful if my guest loads the dishwasher with plates and dishes or empties the leftovers on the plates in the garbage.

Do not forget to thank your host.

I love receiving handwritten thank-you notes after I have hosted dinner or girls’ night. Handwritten notes are an extra special way to show your appreciation to your host. Flowers or a thank you card is also an attractive option.

The suggested tips are a selfless way of making your host job more manageable. But, of course, it is a sure way to guarantee you are invited back so you can enjoy the delicious sensation of not hosting next Thanksgiving again.

Comment below. What do you think makes a great Thanksgiving guest?

Nat C.


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