Entertaining: How To Be A Good Guest

Nov 20, 2012 2:16 pm

What to bring, how to act as a holiday guest

Don't just stand around drinking and flirting. Ask the host if they need a hand.
Don't just stand around drinking and flirting. Ask the host if they need a hand.
 

It’s holiday season again, so we’ve enlisted a “lady friend,” Laura House of the Good House Guest blog, to school us on all matters of being the host with the most.

Nice, you’ve snagged a generous invitation to a Thanksgiving (or holiday) dinner. While this means you’ve escaped cooking a giant turkey and all the trimmings, some effort is still required on your part. Overall, keep in mind that a little consideration goes a long way, and good guests (usually) get invited back. Here are a few golden guest rules to keep in mind.

Ask "What can I make or bring?"
Offer to make or bring something in advance (not last minute) so your host can assign you a brussels sprouts side or dessert task while he/she is still in the menu planning stage. As a host I prefer it when people ask me what they can make, rather than just showing up with a big dish of something that doesn’t complement the planned menu.

Don’t show up empty handed
Even if your host insists that you shouldn’t bring a thing, bring something. A couple of well-selected bottles of wine or an after-dinner liqueur are generally appreciated. If you are known for your homemade caramels, sourdough bread or pickled beets, then make your best batch for your host to enjoy later. Or, appeal to your host’s interests with a token just for them like a terrarium, unique bar accessory or cool kitchen gadget.

Be on time
Running 10 or 15 minutes behind is totally acceptable and something most people factor in. However, beyond that (without a good reason) it comes off as very inconsiderate to your host who is has planned on having everyone seated and all dishes on the table at a certain time.

Dress up + unplug
Unless you know this is going to be a jeans and t-shirt kind of thing, gussy up a bit. And, when you do show up, turn off your phone and join the conversation with those you’re in the same room with. Facebook can wait.

Make your own introductions
If there are people you don’t know there, be a grown-up and introduce yourself. Your host would probably do it if they weren’t stuck in the kitchen.

Ask if you can help
Always ask what you can do to help before and after dinner. Even if a host refuses, it’s still nice to have the offer made.

Be grateful
Pop a note in the mail, give a call or at the very least send an email thanking your hosts for including you on Thanksgiving or any holiday. After all, gratitude is the whole point of the holiday, right?


This holiday entertaining guide is presented by our friends at Rioja Wines.

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