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Thanksgiving Etiquette "Do's" and "Don't"s

We all want to be the perfect host and perfect guest during Thanksgiving festivities, but sometimes scenarios crop up that keep us from being our best.

So how can you get out of a sticky situation with good etiquette on Thanksgiving?

Lizzie Post, an etiquette expert, has got you covered.

The great-great granddaughter of etiquette expert Emily Post shared the following situations and solutions you can fall back on if Thanksgiving gets a little messy this year.

STICKY SITUATION: An unexpected dinner guest arrives
SOLUTION: A good host is always welcoming and prepared

If this happens to you, welcome him or her into your home and quickly set an extra place at the table. Think about what your menu is and how you can make it work to accommodate the extra guest. Graciously welcome the guest as if you'd planned on him/her joining you all along (this being one reason we always suggest you make a little extra food for your guests). The next day, however, it is perfectly OK to call up your intended guest and say, "Jane, while Kate is wonderful and I'm so glad to have met her, the next time you'd like to bring a guest, I'd appreciate it if you ask me first before letting them know about the party."

GOLDEN RULE FOR HOSTS: Confirm your guests' RSVPs a few days before!
GOLDEN RULE FOR GUESTS: A good guest should know NOT to show up with unmentioned/uninvited guests such as children, significant others, family and/or Fluffy or Rover.

STICKY SITUATION: A guest has food allergies/dietary restrictions
SOLUTION: A good host tries to accommodate his/her guests' needs

A good guest should NOT assume that a host knows of their allergies or dietary restrictions and should let the host know when he/she RSVPs about their concerns, even offering to bring a dish that meets his/her needs. It really is the guest's responsibility to notify hosts of allergies and if the allergy is severe they won't forget because they've been dealing with it for a while most likely.

GOLDEN RULE FOR HOSTS: Upon RSVP, check guests' dietary restrictions/food allergies!
GOLDEN RULE FOR GUESTS: Do NOT assume your needs are known!

STICKY SITUATION: A LIMITED AMOUNT OF FOOD
SOLUTION: Have a back-up plan and order in!

To avoid this problem in the first place, make extra. Another tip to try is to remind your family to abide by the FHB rule - Family Hold Back, so that all guests can be sure to have a little bit of everything they'd like to enjoy.

If for some reason, you've found yourself in this position, "Quick! Order in!" It's always best to know what stores what restaurants or take out places will be open on a holiday. This is your back-up plan if anything goes wrong - turkey burning, dog eats dinner, etc.

GOLDEN RULE FOR HOSTS: Employ Family Hold Back (FHB)
GOLDEN RULE FOR GUESTS: Do NOT complain!

The reality is that a good guest should survey the options and choose a small portion of each item he/she would like knowing that he/she can always go back for more once everybody has had firsts. If for some reason, you do end up missing out on something, don't complain or act put out. It certainly wasn't done on purpose.

STICKY SITUATION: An unruly child
SOLUTION: Calmly request that parent correct the behavior

The reality is that a good guest should always keep an eye on his/her children, remind them of respectful holiday manners and appropriately discipline them if necessary. Children who misbehave and refuse to cooperate are showing signs that they cannot participate in the holiday party. It's time for a time out or time to go home.

GOLDEN RULE FOR HOSTS: State the rules of the house to children
If the situation does arise, however, that a child is being unruly, you can softly request that the parent correct the behavior. If the children are related to you, it's ok to suggest that they stop what they are doing. "Carolyn at our house I'd prefer it if you kept your feet on the floor instead of the couch." If the behavior doesn't stop you should speak to the child's mother. If you don't know the child as well, say it's a child of a friend, then your comment should first be directed to the friend "Christine, would you mind asking Carolyn to keep her shoes off the furniture, I'd really appreciate it, thanks." It's ok to want your guest to correct a behavior and more so, it's perfectly ok for you to speak to the child and let them know their behavior is out of sync with house rules, "Kerry we don't use language like that in this house." But what's not ok is for you to punish or enforce consequences on someone else's child, or demand that the parent do so. (My mother always suggested that the kids run around the house three times as fast as possible if we were acting up.)

GOLDEN RULE FOR GUESTS: Do NOT forget your parenting responsibilities

STICKY SITUATION: Late arrivals
SOLUTION: Keep the party moving and let latecomers join when they arrive

Thanksgiving starts at different times in each family - but a host should always let her guests know when to show up. There is no such thing as fashionably late. Since most people gather, and have a little social hour before sitting down to the feast as the host, you can choose to wait an extra 15 or so minutes for late guests, but after that, feel free to start the feast and let latecomers join in when they get there.

GOLDEN RULE FOR HOSTS: Start your feast on time
A good host will keep his/her party/dinner on track by moving things along. He/She may wait ten or so minutes for a late guest but does not keep the rest of his/her guests waiting.

GOLDEN RULE FOR GUESTS: Do NOT arrive late
A good guest knows to call their host as soon as he/she knows they will be late and informs the host (i.e. no texts - you don't know if they'll be received) of when they are likely to arrive.

STICKY SITUATION: End of night stragglers
SOLUTION: Turn up the lights up and say goodnight

First of all, you should take this as a compliment that you've thrown a spectacular Thanksgiving. However, as the host you don't want the party to go into tomorrow!

GOLDEN RULE FOR HOST: It's OK to indicate to guests it's time to go home
If you find yourself with some stragglers, you can starts to indicate that the party is over by putting away the bar, clearing the coffee, turning up the lights and if need be, grabbing a straggler's coat and saying, "We'd love to have you over again, but Jim and I must be getting to those dishes soon or we'll never get to bed."

GOLDEN RULE FOR GUESTS: Do NOT overstay your welcome
A good guest should always take a hint and never overstay his/her welcome! If you do that one too many times, you probably won't be invited back!

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