Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips

Etiquette expert Ellen Reddick has some tips for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Whether you're hosting a casual dinner at your home, visiting the grandparents for turkey or going out to a lovely restaurant, good manners will make the feast even better.

1. RSVP. Let your host know right away if you can come or not. If you received a 'family' invitation, let your host or hostess know how many of you can come.
2. Offer to contribute to the meal - but don`t dictate the menu.
3. Dress appropriately. At the very least, make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. As a true sign of consideration, dress one notch up. Your hosts are probably going all out, and your attire can either say, 'I appreciate the effort you are making for all of us,' or 'I thought you were ordering takeout.'
4. Arrive on time.
5. Don`t show up with uninvited guests.
6. Never have more than one cocktail before dinner.
7. Wait for the eldest adult to take their seat at the table first.
8. After being seated, simply unfold your napkin discreetly under the table and place it in your lap. Do not open your napkin by shaking it, and never tuck your napkin into your shirt.
9. Sit up straight — avoid slouching, leaning or putting your elbows on the table.
10. Put your cell phone away at the dinner table.
11. Wait. Do not begin the meal until everyone at the table has been served theirs, and until the host or hostess has taken his or her their first bite.
12. The cutlery that is furthest from the center of your plate is the cutlery you use first.
13. Never blow on your food — just wait until it cools.
14. Pass food from left to the right, and always pass the salt and pepper together.
15. Keep the discussions light and enjoyable.
16. Stay at the table.
17. Offer to help with the clean-up.
18. Don`t overstay your welcome.
19. Say thank you.