How to be a Gracious Thanksgiving Guest

Having Thanksgiving dinner with family or heading over to a friend’s house is the easiest way to do Thanksgiving … for the guests!

Being the holiday host can be extremely stressful. If you want to be invited back, be the best Thanksgiving guest possible! Here are some helpful tips:

  • Be on time. From the RSVP to showing up, there’s no such thing as fashionably late when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. And whatever you do, don’t cancel at the last minute unless there’s a true emergency.
  • Mention dietary issues. Vegetarian, gluten intolerant, or allergic to something? Let your host know and offer to bring a dish that you’re able to eat — with enough to share.
  • Ask about attire. If you go dressy, you won’t be comfortable for an after-dinner walk or touch football game. Go too casual and you may feel out of place. So it’s best to ask your host what you should wear.
  • Be considerate of others. Don’t wear inappropriate clothing that’s too revealing or includes vulgar images or language. Similarly, don’t arrive heavily perfumed, as it could irritate another guest’s fragrance sensitivities.
  • Don’t arrive empty-handed. When you RSVP, ask if you can bring something. Even if your host says no, you should still bring something. Whether it’s a traditional bottle of wine or something more creative, like non toxic hand soap, body lotion or a candle, a gift is a thoughtful gesture, especially at Thanksgiving.
  • Silence and put away your phone. Yes, for the entire time. If you absolutely must check on something, do it on the sly in the bathroom. Otherwise, be present and enjoy your visit.
  • Wait to eat until everyone’s ready. Just in case your host likes to say grace or ask everyone what they’re thankful for before digging into the meal, don’t start eating until your host does.
  • Compliment the chef. Let the host know how much you appreciate their food. A specific compliment about a certain dish or flavor you enjoyed will mean a lot.
  • Talk to everyone. Make sure you’re friendly to everyone at the table.
  • Participate in after-dinner activities. This is where the appropriate attire comes in! Participate in whatever the activity may be and you’ll be remembered as a fun, gracious guest if you make yourself part of the family.
  • Offer to help. It’s nice to offer help before and after dinner, but be prepared to get out of the way if your host has it under control. At the very least, clear your plate and the plates of your dinner companions.
  • Leave on time. Your host is tired and likely has some cleanup to do that she or he is too polite to tackle with guests around. Linger for about an hour after dinner and then say your goodbyes. Or leave after the after-dinner activities. You don’t want to be the last to leave.
  • Send a thank you. Whether a simple handwritten thank you note, flowers or a memento from the day, make this small but much-appreciated gesture.

For help finding the right gift or thank you item for your host, contact your pure haven Consultant today. Pure haven offers a variety of safe, non toxic items that make perfect host gifts.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving, remember to enjoy the company of your loved ones. Reach out to those you won’t get to see for the holiday and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your lives.

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season!


Laux, Sara. (4 Oct 2017). 10 commandments for Thanksgiving guests. Cottage Life.

Mondry, Sydney. (19 Nov 2015). Be the Best Thanksgiving Guest Ever with These 6 Simple Tips. InStyle.

Mims, Ben. Thanksgiving Guest Etiquette 101. Food Network.