There are a million references for how to COOK Thanksgiving dinner, but not as much can be found on how to be an excellent guest-slash-consumer.  Most people know to ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?” This is just the beginning.  For the love of peace and harmony, if they say “No, I’ve got it,” then leave them be.  If they want your help, they’ll ask for it again so don’t get too entrenched in what you are doing instead.

  1. As the meal is being prepared, please stay far, far away from the prep area, but close enough to materialize immediately when summoned for random tasks such as stirring, fetching, tossing carcasses and Stove Top boxes, and carrying irreplaceable delicate breakables to the table without dropping. Be sure to ask EXACTLY where they go.
  2. Do not under any circumstances throw anything away such as: butter wrappers, gently used paper towels, empty jelly jars, egg shells or banana peels. These deceptively crucial items WILL BE USED. Where and when are classified– on a Need To Know basis.
  3. If you get hungry, thirsty, rowdy, clumsy or bored at any time during the meal prep, enter the Meal Prep Zone with all your affairs in order and at your own peril. It is wise to have a trusted advisor or professional counselor on speed dial for follow up after the inevitable verbal assault.
  4. Once the meal is fully ready and on display, guests should materialize from thin air with clean hands and heart for Genuine Family Fellowship.
  5. Fill your plate and return at least once until all food is consumed. If any leftovers are present, lots will be cast along with sideways glances to determine who takes home the good stuff for Black Friday lunch.
  6. Children leaving “perfectly good food” on their plates shall receive a timely lecture on gratitude, world poverty, and may potentially be force fed, for which it is understood there will be a high level of amazement and wondrous awe for the trouble and expense the cook went to for the family. This also applies to grandchildren.
  7. Dinner commentary must at some point include the following:

~Specific “thank you” to the cook or preparer of each dish along with meaningful specific original complement.

~Moaning and other sounds of pleasure during consumption—but not exaggerated, sarcastic or creepy.

~Random comments about the taste (positive)

WARNING:  Do NOT under ANY circumstances follow a “thank you” with a barrage of compliments from around the table.  The timing of the gratitude is of the utmost importance.  Sincerity is of epic significance but must be appropriately spaced throughout the meal.  Use the following simple mathematical equation to quickly determine when to thank your Thanksgiving cook(s). 

Original Primary Thankful Response = Prayer + 2 minutes after 1st bite consumed

Subsequent Affirmations = Number of People at the Table / divided by ½ distance between each guest x :30 second intervals alternating +/- :12 sec to show spontaneity.

It is most polite to wait and let the newest guest offer their Grateful Comment first, then begin the pattern outlined above.  A helpful foot nudge under the table can assist those who struggle with math or  eat too fast.

The Kids Table should be encouraged to follow this modified equation:

Oldest and/or The One Who Ate The Most = Primary Feedback Presenter

Then gratitude expressions continue in no particular order and should end with the youngest mobile child who talks (for cuteness purposes).

8. Under no circumstances can a grandchild take only one kind of food offered (i.e. mac & cheese). This will render gratitude Null & Void and cause The Greatest Generation to question the child’s patriotism. Thanks offered from The Child Who Only Took One Food Item will render all remaining Expressions of Gratitude for the rest of the grandchildren as empty and not applicable and may result in subsequent meals with increased undesirable stewed vegetables and the unavoidable parental lecture on the drive home.

9.  There shall be no less than 93 minutes AFTER the last dish is cleaned, dried and put away before anyone can utter any of the following words: hungry, thirsty, dessert, breakfast, snack, plate, cup, ice, starving, cereal, Goldfish crackers, chips, salsa. It is strongly encouraged that you nap or vacate the premises during this time period.

Thanksgiving success is not an exact science, but these timely tips can be applied to gatherings of any size.    May we all be the kind of guests that we would welcome into our own homes—gracious, thoughtful, refined & sincere.


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