7 Tips To Follow This Thanksgiving
Being a gracious, well-mannered guest is often overlooked at Thanksgiving, but it is as important as being a great host. Here are seven ways you can impress as a guest
and make sure you are welcomed back in years to come.
If you have been invited into someone's home this holiday be considerate and RSVP in a timely manner. Also be clear on if you can bring a "plus one" if it is not clear on the invite. Most likely "the more the merrier" will be your host's attitude, but knowing in advance if you plan to bring a guest will be helpful, especially in the event of a formal dinner. If you have other events or commitments that will force you to be late for the event communicate that during your RSVP as well.
Just as an added note, whether you are happy with the outcome or not of the Presidential race, do not start heated conversations over the dinner table. It is Thanksgiving and as Americans we all have much to be thankful for.
2. Offer to Bring a Dish
Hosting Thanksgiving is a big undertaking, even for those Martha Stewart-types who make if look effortless. But the truth is it's a lot of work and your offer to contribute a dish will likely be welcomed with open arms. Ask the host for suggestions as not to show up with a duplicate side dish. If the hose says she has it all covered, insist on at least bringing a gourmet cheese board.
3. Bring a Hostess Gift
It does not have to be an extravagant gift, just a token of gratitude for his or her hospitality. Here are a few ideas:
4. Arrive on Time
When it comes to hosting Thanksgiving dinner, timing is crucial and your host likely has a detailed itinerary. For this reason you should arrive on time. If your event is more casual and there is not a set time for when you show up by all means come early and "hang out or help out" before the dinner. Otherwise do not show up early. Showing up 30 minutes early is just as bad as arriving an hour late.
5.Put Away Your Phone
Put away my phone?? My phone at the table is not rude, is it??
My simple answer is socialize, don't social network. Put down the phone, pick up the conversation. However, not everyone will agree with my answer and I enjoy taking a photo of my plate for Instagram as much as anyone else. So here is a compromise that should satisfy wherever you land on this issue.
Before dinner take pictures of the table setting for Facebook, pictures with family and friends for Snapchat, and your dinner plate for Instagram. Then put away your phone for the meal and engage with the guests around the table. After you are full and happy, take pictures of your dessert, a few more candid shots, maybe a selfie or two. Again, put your phone away. Enjoy the fellowship, games and family traditions. Finally at the end of the day reflect on your time and compose all social media posts after the event instead of in real time. Your host will appreciate it, those who sit around you at the dinner table will feel appreciated and seen and most importantly, you will make memories face to face instead of through the lens of your camera.
6. Help Clean Up
We can all think of family members or friends that disappear during clean up. Don't be that person. Do not offer to help clean up, just jump in and do it. Help clear the table, put away leftovers, prep for desserts. Follow your hosts lead and do not begin clean up until your host gets up from the table. This small act your host will take notice of.
7. Send a Handwritten Thank You Note
Show your gratitude by sending a handwritten thank you note. Be prompt and send it within a week. A personal note goes a long way in letting your host know how much you appreciate their planning, generosity and hard work.
I have this friend, Julie, who has been reminding me lately that life and entertaining is about building relationships, and not the event or perfection achieved while entertaining. That is a very difficult lesson for me to learn, because 1) I tend to believe you can have both and 2) Martha Stewart, through her magazines, literature and media has literally taught me everything I know.
Having said that, during this time of year, I place pressure on myself to host elegant holidays, set the perfect dining table, cook pinterest worthy and instagram ready meals. I thrive on a perfect presentation, and creating moments that others truly enjoy. It is a pressure I love. It gives me some kind of high when I accomplish my goals. I try to reach Martha Stewart levels of perfection, but the reality is I am no Martha Stewart and I definitely do not have her staff. Knowing this, I am going to make every effort to host an equally beautiful Thanksgiving, while cutting out some of the unnecessary burdens that come along with this holiday. This is my three point game plan to try and be in the moment this year.
Taking the stress out of any event begins with communication. I am currently obsessed with www.punchbowl.com. They have beautiful, free and non expensive invites for any celebration. The potluck feature, as well as the rsvp makes managing your party a breeze. This keeps you from chasing down responses, planning a menu and giving your guests the freedom to choose what they want to bring and share.
This year I am going to a friend's house and am responsible for the tables cape, but since I love to to cook I am bringing a few sides and a dessert. In order to enjoy my day, I am cooking all items the day before as well as making table preparations. I am hoping the day of I can set the table and enjoy making memories with friends and family.
I am going to use as many disposable products as I can. With a guest list of 40, this seems like the reasonable thing to do even though I love eating on my "pretty dishes" during the holidays. With many options available that are nicer than your typical paper plate, my challenge this year is to set an equally gorgeous table using majority disposable dinnerware. I will post pictures after and you can judge for yourself if I was successful.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. This year, I have been inspired by black and white gingham and am building my entire tablescape around it.
Find a palette you love and be inspired to think outside of the box.
Here are a few things I plan on incorporating to make my vision come to life.
Mix and match fabric and texture to give your table dimension. I love the idea of adding burlap as well as two or three patterns to keep your eye's attention.
2. Chalkboard Runner
There are countless ways to incorporate chalkboard runners into your tablescape, no matter your color palette. Here are a few ideas, on how to make that happen.
Give every guest a piece of chalk and have them write down three things they are thankful for.
Use a chalkboard runner to let your guests know where to place their items on the buffet.
Taking time to lay out your buffet ahead of time will minimize interruptions during those critical moments when you are trying to get hot food on the table.
Using botanicals, both rustic and elegant combined, give the feeling of a casual, relaxed atmosphere, but also signal a special celebration.
Alabama cotton will be the perfect southern touch.