Satellite Sisters, Liz Dolan talked with Tra'Renee about how to be a good holiday guest! Click here for more information about the Satellite Sisters.
What TO DO:
Follow the instructions of the host/hostess re: arrival time, what to bring, etc. Arriving too early is just as bad as arriving too late.
Get/Give your info days before: food allergies, any needs for dishes, etc. My mother always said Good Planning Makes For Good Fun.
There is no winging it on Thanksgiving.
Talk to the untalked-to. During mingling and dinner, its your job to talk to Grandma or Awkward Cousin Louie. Take a social load off the host by engaging the people who otherwise would look sad and alone.
Bring toys for the kids or a game for after dinner or both. Our Uncle Dick Kirshner always played this role is our family. He had some clown supply warehouse he would hit before any holiday and he always came gearing balsa wood airplanes, drinking birds, puzzles, etc.
Offer to be the official photographer. At the right moment, offer to take a nice group photo. We often forget to get gather together and capture the moment of the whole group together. It's nice to have in future years.
At the table, lead the conversation with civility. Or hilarity. The whole nation is not going to heal over one dinner, but it's nice not to create further damage if we can avoid it.
Maybe have a safe word with the host? If she knows that Crazy Cousin Louise is about to start on one of her tirades, arrange a secret word in advance (Rutabaga?) so that when you hear her say it, you know your job is to create a conversational diversion. Interrupt with your most hilarious story of that time you fell into the crocodile exhibit. This story does not need to be true. Just believable enough to bewitch the audience.
What NOT TO DO:
Don't expect to cook your own side dishes in the hosts kitchen. Come ready.
That includes your own serving dishes and utensils. Seriously. COME READY.
Same for flowers. Don't expect vases, scissors, etc. COME READY!!!!! Or even drop them off the day before.
Plus no unexpected guests, unexpected pets or unexpected communicable diseases!
I am amazed when I hear stories of people who bring their dogs or rats or tarantulas without clearing that in advance.
Don't stand in the middle of the kitchen making idle chitchat with the hostess in the last moments of getting dinner on the table. That is not helpful. You deserve to get a full gravy boat dumped down your back.
Clean up. Make serious headway in the kitchen, not just the old trick of "i'll just let this soak for a while"
Don't take all the leftovers. Honestly, the people who hosted the dinner EARNED those leftovers. Back off.
Don't drink too much and DO NOT overserve others.
THE NEXT DAY:
REALLY nice people send a thank you note and maybe even a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
Nice people call and say thank you and that EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT.
Sorta nice people text with that message.
Losers call and say they are not feeling well. Did anyone else get sick?