Going back to this blog’s intention of “Things I Can’t Say,” I would never actually say these things to someone. I really actually like hosting holiday meals: I like being in charge of the cooking and planning. And I much prefer to be in my own home than to go to someone else’s(it’s just easier with my kids).
But, as I was talking to some other karate moms last week, a few Thanksgiving dinner pet peeves came up. Based on that conversation, here’s a I’d-never-say-it-but-I-wish-people-would-follow-this-list list:
If someone asks you to come to their Thanksgiving dinner, you need to reply. * RIGHT NOW, if you haven’t already. How much your host will make will vary depending on how many people are coming, so you need to let them know. Also, if you’re attending another dinner first, let your host know by saying something like “We’re having dinner with my in-laws, but we’ll be happy to have dessert with you.” Again, it’s that whole quantity of food thing.
Mention allergies when you do reply. Not all of them might be able to be accommodated for in every single dish. But if your host is aware (and in plenty of time before Thanksgiving shopping needs to be done), that will help.
If you’re not hosting, be sure to ask your host what you can bring. Even if they say they’ve got it all covered, you can still bring something… super tight budget? Buy two 2-liters of soda. It’s at least a gesture, more drinks can be appreciated, and if they aren’t needed, they can be used another time.
If you’re bringing something that you’ll need to bake, let your host know ahead of time. If you need the oven to be a certain temperature, if it has to cook for a certain amount of time, if you’ll need some sort of utensils or pots, saying something first. It’s okay if you just need the microwave for a few minutes or you just need a spoon, but extra pots and oven space can be at a minimum.
If you don’t like it, just don’t eat it. My kids know this one. No need to make a big fuss over not liking a certain dish or two. There’s other things to eat, so move on, quietly.
The same goes for that dish you wish were there: move on, quietly. Why didn’t YOU bring it, then? Even when cooking for a crowd, there’s still a limit to the amount of dishes your host could possibly make.
Let everyone have firsts before you go back for seconds. The exception would be if you discover your very hungry toddler actually only liked one thing on his plate and you need to go back for more before hunger pains make him very cranky. But unless you are a toddler, wait for round two.
You don’t have to help clean up, but don’t make a mess. I don’t need anyone helping me clean up- guests can just relax. But don’t make a bigger mess, like tossing your full plate right into the sink. That wasn’t a help, I’d rather you have just left it on the table.
Take leftovers only if offered. Look, most Thanksgiving meals have leftovers. And maybe it’s enough for you to take some home. But wait to see if your host offers them. Maybe they were planning on feeding their own family with the leftovers for the next several days because they blew the whole week’s grocery budget on the Thanksgiving meal.
Don’t take all of something. So, let’s say you are offered leftovers. Great, please take some. But don’t then take all of the leftover sweet potato casserole, for example. Make a plate as if you were making a meal for yourself for the next day and take a little of this and a little of that. Loading an entire plate full of one thing unless you’re offered it: again, you’re taking what could be someone else’s meal.
*If you haven’t given a solid yes or no because you have a difficult situation going on and you literally have to wait until the day of to know what you’re doing, I’m not talking to you: that’s understandable. But otherwise, you need to respond to a dinner invite.