If you will be attending a meal at someone’s home for the holidays, congratulations, you are a lucky person. If you will be hosting, you are lucky too, but we will get to you later.
Here are a few timely tips that will make the host want to say the most wonderful things about you afterward.
- Bring a gift for the host. It is always a kind gesture. Baked goods, candles, wine (if it is appropriate) or anything small that you know the host would enjoy is perfect.
- Offer your assistance whether in the kitchen, helping other guests with their jackets when they arrive or just keeping an eye on the children.
- If seats are not assigned at the dining table, don’t just plop down in any seat. Ask the host where they would like for you to sit.
- When you sit down at the table, put your napkin in your lap.
- If you are a guest in someone’s home, wait for the host to begin the meal. Often times a blessing or a few words will be shared to thank everyone for being there.
- If six people or less are at a table, wait until all are served and seated before starting to eat.
- If the dinner is buffet style and there are eight or ten people at a table, wait until half the table has been seated before starting to eat.
- If you have to sneeze or cough at the table, always turn your head to the side and cover your mouth with the napkin.
- Eat slowly!
- Don’t overload the fork or spoon.
- Be ready to listen and ask questions. No one likes to hear someone go on and on.
- If you have to remove a piece of meat or a bite of food that you can’t chew, discreetly slide it back onto your fork and place it on your plate. Try to cover it up with something else so that it is not visible to others.
- Traditions and customs are meaningful. If the host has something they do each year and want you to be a part of it, do your best and try to participate.
- If you ate too much food and feel stuffed, there is no need to tell anyone. Avoid saying, “I ate too much,” or “I’m stuffed!”
- After your meal is over, say something nice about the food to your host.
- When guests help clean up after a dinner, the host always appreciates it. Even if they decline you should see what you can do to be of assistance.
- Know when it’s time to leave. Look around and take cues. The host will often subtly let the guests know when it is time to call it a night.
- Send a thank-you card after the dinner (within 3 days or a week) expressing your gratitude and appreciation for the meal.