It's HERE. The Holidays are HERE and I couldn't be more excited. There's a chill in the air, and, if you're from California like me, there's also a spare the air warning because the entire state is ablaze. But I digress. Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is a mere three and a half weeks away, so that means your family, friends, and neighbors will all be gathering around for dinners and parties. Thanksgiving dinner, Friendsgiving, Secret Santa and the like.
In this new-agey world we live in, the rules to being a good host and a good guest are different than they were 10, even 5, years ago. Instead of asking you about your new furniture, you'll be asked for the WiFi password. And instead of spending hours slaving over a turkey, you might order one from Popeye's. Or is that just my family?
Regardless, the rules have changed. SO I'm here to give you some etiquette tips for the 2019 Holiday Season. So you don't end up getting disinvited to the next family gathering.
Without further ado, here are my 2019 Holiday Dinner Etiquette Tips.
1) BE PRESENT. Don't be on your phone during dinner. This is the ONE time a year you will have most of your loved ones around you. Whatever is on social media can wait. And I can guarantee, Instagram is just going to be a bunch of photos of what everyone is having for dinner....and we're all having the same thing. So put the phone down, sit next to grandma, and ask her about her life. These moments are precious and you can't get them back.
2) Don't show up EMPTY-HANDED. Even if you're just going to your parent's house and you go to their house for dinner every Sunday, be gracious in bringing a gift or a plate to share. Whether it's a bottle of wine or a pecan pie, the host will be grateful that you thought of helping in any way. Pick up a dessert from your local bakery or whip together an appetizer the night before! Whatever you choose to bring, your thoughtfulness will go a long way.
3) Leave the political debates for Facebook. *cue my eye-roll* I wish I didn't have to add this one and that people would just use discretion and good judgement. But given the current, tense political climate we live in, I have to say this. The only reason political topics are brought up, is for conversation pieces. Throw distant family together, who feel comfortable enough to dispel their personal opinions. Mix in flowing alcohol and a warm fire, and you've got a thanksgiving recipe for disaster. Instead, try bringing up a new book that you're reading or a movie that you recently saw. There are just so many better things to talk about. Talk about anything else. Literally anything.
4) Be helpful without being overbearing. We had a friend like this who would come over for events and offer to help, but was so overbearing in her ways of helping that it came to the point where we would tell her to come at the time we expected to already be done preparing and ready for dinner. The host is probably already a little stressed out, so they don't need someone coming in and trying to be helpful, but really shining a light on whatever insecurities they might have around hosting.
5) Be ON TIME. This is dependent upon what type of party you're attending, but regardless, whatever time the invitation says to arrive is when you should plan to arrive. The host has carefully decided what time to have this event, and it is disrespectful to arrive an hour or even 30 minutes after that set time. If you're coming from far away, make sure that you leave with enough time to allow for traffic or any other mishaps that may occur.
6) Don't Bring Extra Guests!! I have nothing more to say about this.
7) Don't wander around the space. It's not your house. Please don't go wandering around opening doors that aren't the bathroom. This is someone's personal space and it is incredibly rude to give yourself the authority of sneaking a peak in areas other than the designated party space.
8) Silverware is used from the OUTSIDE-In. This is an oldie but goodie, as some people still don't know which fork to use for what course. Remember that the utensils on the outside are used first for the occurring course. This will help you not to use your dessert spoon for your soup. You're welcome.
9) Take your shoes off! Again, if this is someone's home and you notice that there are shoes by the door, follow suit in removing your shoes before entering the home. Whatever mud or gunk that's potentially on your shoes, could wind up on their fancy rug. And that will definitely get you disinvited from next year's gathering.
10) Send a Thank You Note! After the event is done, send a cute thank you note expressing how much you enjoyed dinner and what a lovely time you had. It will mean a lot to the host, and while it's not necessary, it shows class, manners, and gratitude. A thank you note is always warmly welcomed.