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“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go baste the turkey and hide the kitchen knives.” Mrs. Pascal

The House of Yes

Over the river and through the woods…

Whether it’s to grandmother’s house you go, or to a gathering of friends for Friendsgiving, here are a few tips to smooth the road to the Thanksgiving holiday.

1. Mind your manners.

Some of these are the old chestnuts we’ve known forever: elbows off the table, don’t chew with your mouth open, don’t talk with your mouth full, etc. Last week, I discussed a few additional elements of table etiquette on Access Carolina (link below). It always pays to brush up on these basics ahead of time.

2. If you are a guest, don’t show up empty handed.

Offer to bring a side, an appetizer, or a dessert, but be sure to talk to your host first so you don’t end up duplicating something he or she has already prepared. If extra food isn’t necessary, bring some fun paper cocktail napkins, some holiday soap, or something for your host to enjoy after all the guests have left (hello, Calgon and bottle of wine!). I also really like the idea of giving your host a set of plastic leftover containers complete with Sharpie for labelling—creative and incredibly useful.

3. If you are the host, head off incendiary topics before the big event.

Place a moratorium on those known family flash points. And guests, if great-uncle Henry is a rabid ___fill in the blank with political persuasion of choice___, put your manners where your mouth is and steer clear of riling him up just for grins and giggles. It never ends well. If the conversation heads south, interrupt and ask everyone to name one thing/person they are grateful for. Nothing settles down a dinner time conflict like reflecting on what’s good in the world.

4. Clean up, clean up, everybody, clean up!

Offer to help the host clear the table, pack up left-overs, and wash dishes. But if your host is reluctant for anyone else to handle Grandma’s irreplaceable china, don’t insist. At my own house, I have very specific and detailed ideas about how to wash said china and how to load a dishwasher. But if you want to pack up the leftovers and play refrigerator Tetris with them, be my guest!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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