Watch CBS News

Mr. Manners Offers Tips On Thanksgiving Etiquette

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - This Thursday's turkey dinner is all about giving thanks and being grateful.

But people should also be gracious, and that's not just advice for the person hosting.

CBS2's Elise Finch checked in with the experts for a quick refresher on Thanksgiving etiquette.

If you want to make sure you're on your best behavior this Thanksgiving, the first rule is don't show up empty handed, even if your host said you didn't need to bring anything.

"This is a festivity that is all about sharing responsibility," said Thomas Farley, an etiquette expert best known as Mister Manners. "A bottle of wine, some flowers... I think a really nice touch is to bring a thank you note on the day of the occasion thanking them for including you in the celebration.

Farley says you can also bring dessert, extra platters, and even serving spoons.

What you shouldn't bring without first asking permission is an uninvited guest.

However, some people think that's the one rule you can bend during the holidays.

"I don't think anyone would have a problem," Kips Bay resident Lauren Critelli told Finch. "There's something about the holidays, especially in New York City, that makes people a lot nicer and fluffier."

Relationship expert Andrea Syrtash says come prepared to share a little about your personal life, especially if you show up with your new boyfriend or girlfriend.

"You're going to be at the table with a lot of eyes on both of you, and the significant other you bring is probably going to be asked a whole host of questions," Syrtash said. "So just come prepared for that and answer with a smile, you don't want to be defensive."

But what do you do if that or any other conversation becomes uncomfortable?

"I might just say directly 'Well this is getting weird, let's talk about something else,'" said Coral Palmon of Ridgewood, Queens.

"I would designate a friend, have this person be your wingperson for good conversation to jump in ever-so-deftly, shift things around," said Farley.

After everyone has enjoyed great food and hopefully great conversation, how does the host politely let people know it's time to go?

"I'm shutting down the kitchen, and the alcohol, start storing it away. Usually when you start doing things like that they get the hint," said Newark resident Jesse Parker.

Farley also says you can start preparing to-go bags, or designate a friend to sweetly announce to everyone that the host is tired and it's time to go.

A small gift, a nice floral arrangement and of course a hand-written thank you card to your host should follow in the days after dinner.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.