Turkey day is a big deal for most red-blooded Americans, but delivering a perfectly cooked bird and flavorful sides to match is a tall order. The solution? Spend the day at someone else’s house, of course! You’ll be able to enjoy a no-fuss holiday, all thanks to your gracious Thanksgiving host.
Before you hit the wine too hard, though, take a moment to exercise a little social grace. Think about the kind of relationships you have with the people at the dinner, and mind your manners.
If you don’t and you say these obnoxious things to your host, you run the risk of getting the boot before the bird’s even out of the oven.
1. Just walks in: ‘Dinner’s not ready yet?’
No, it’s not. After all, half the fun of celebrating the day with friends and family is getting time to catch up with everyone else. Chances are, your host isn’t going to have dinner fully prepared the second you walk in. So relax, have a drink, and take the time to enjoy the company of your loved ones, because it doesn’t happen often.
Next: Keep your opinions to yourself.
2. ‘Wow, you’re all dressed up’
No one appreciates this kind of backhanded compliment, and that’s exactly what it is. Saying something like, “You look gorgeous in that dress,” or “I love that jacket on you” is definitely a better way to go.
But sounding surprised at how fancy your host is? Well, that’s only suggesting that either they normally look terrible, or they are way too overdressed for the occasion.
Next: Doing the opposite isn’t good, either.
3. ‘Wow, you look comfortable’
On the flip side, telling someone they look “comfy” conveys one sentiment: You think they look like a slob. Maybe the host spilled all over their clothes while cooking (your) dinner and had to throw something less fancy on before you got there. Or, perhaps they just want to wear sweats all day — who could blame them? Whatever the case, it’s none of your business, so keep all wardrobe-based opinions to yourself.
Next: You think you could do a better job?
4. ‘You should have told me to come earlier to help’
If you’ve been invited to someone else’s home for Thanksgiving, show up at the time you were told, and keep quiet about it. Your host has been gracious enough to plan and prepare a huge feast for everyone. Suggesting that you could have come sooner to help out says that you wish everything was ready earlier and you don’t think they can handle it on their own.
Next: Free range is all I eat.
5. ‘Is that organic?’
If you really wanted to guarantee that your entire meal would be organic, you would have made it yourself. Organic food is expensive, and if someone is cooking for a large group of people, they may opt for the less-expensive option of — gasp — non-organic. Of course, we all may prefer free-range everything, but asking the host whether the turkey fits your high standards is just plain pretentious.
Next: Keep your mouth shut when you’re in someone else’s kitchen.
6. ‘That’s not the way my mom used to make it’
OK, so you should have gone to your mom’s house, then. When it comes to cooks in the kitchen, there’s only one who matters in this situation, and that’s the host. They’re in charge of making the meal, and unless they specifically ask for your help, you can go ahead and keep that unsolicited advice to yourself.
Next: These would only spoil the aromas coming from the kitchen.
7. ‘You should really have some candles in here’
Nope, not going to happen. As we all know, half the draw of cooking Thanksgiving dinner is that everyone in the house gets to enjoy the sweet and savory aromas. The turkey’s been in the oven all day, and that’s the only scent that everyone should be enjoying.
Next: You must be crazy!
8. ‘Can we turn the football game off?’
OK, so here’s the thing: Fan or not, Thanksgiving day football is tradition. Unless you’re going to a house where you’re absolutely certain everyone hates football and never has the TV on during a dinner party, you really have no dog in this fight. Football games will likely be on, so just let it be.
Next: Don’t assume that everyone there has the same type of relationship.
9. ‘You should have told me that I could have brought a plus one’
Just like an invitation to a wedding, if you’re not invited with a guest, then you don’t bring one — simple as that. And just because you see other attendees with a guest doesn’t mean that you should have automatically gotten one, too.
There are a lot of factors to consider when planning Thanksgiving dinner, like how people will get along, the state of someone’s relationship, etc. So, just have faith in your host because, surely, they must know how to make a guest list.
Next: This is another big no no.
10. ‘Can I change my seat at the table?’
Once again, keep in mind that your host likely put a great deal of planning into this event. In most cases, they will have sorted out some kind of seating arrangement in advance. By doing so, they’re avoiding any potentially awkward encounters. So, sit at the seat you’ve been assigned, slap a smile on that face, and remember that you didn’t have to do any of the hard work this year. Be thankful.
Next: Shame on you.
11. ‘You didn’t plan for a kids table?’
What, no kids table? If you don’t see one, there probably isn’t one hiding in the corner, so try to refrain from commenting on this. Your host would have planned for a kids table if they thought they’d need it. Clearly, that wasn’t the case, so just zip it, OK?
Next: Mayday, mayday!
12. ‘Wouldn’t it be more fun if you had kids of your own running around?’
Anytime someone comments on the subject of whether another person plans on having kids of their own, it’s painful. It’s painful to witness, and painful for the person on the receiving end. With that, be sure to steer very, very clear of this insensitive line of questioning. If there were ever a time to mind your own business, this is it.
Next: This is never acceptable.
13. Just sat down: ‘I have to take this call’
Um … rude! It’s bad enough that people keep their phones on the table when they’re out to eat, but at Thanksgiving dinner? Really? It’s just bad form. Unless it’s an emergency, resist the urge to answer your phone. Better yet, keep it tucked away in your bag or pocket of the coat you left in the other room.
Next: Want to stick to your diet? Then don’t attend Thanksgiving dinner.
14. ‘This food is not part of my diet’
No kidding. Generally speaking, turkey day fare isn’t really part of anyone’s diet. It’s one of the things that makes the once-a-year binge fest oh so special. So sit down, shut up, and eat to your heart’s content — and then some.
Next: Politics have no place at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
15. ‘So, what about Trump’s latest disaster?’
Trying to keep everyone from jumping down each other’s throats? Then definitely don’t bring up our current president. Most people have pretty strong feelings one way or the other, so it’s best to avoid political topics altogether, along with sex and religion, because we all know that these three things are huge party faux pas. Just be thankful that presidential elections only come around every four years.
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