Getting together as friends and families for the holidays provides a wonderful opportunity for strengthening relationships and enjoying the company of others.
Unfortunately, it also provides time for damaging relationships and offending others. That is why proper Thanksgiving etiquette is important to know and observe. These are the people that mean the most to you in your life. You want them to leave feeling that way.
First of all, if you are the one throwing the party, it is a good idea to know if anyone coming has any kind of food allergies. There is nothing that will make a gathering go bad like someone getting sick at the table. It usually is made worse by others who get sick seeing someone else get sick. If this happens, this ends up being the "event" that everyone talks about 10 years later and they say, "Remember when..."
That is not the kind of memories you want to provide.
You should know who is coming to the event and the types of things they like to do. Let me give you an example...
Since football is very much a part of Thanksgiving tradition, I know many groups of people that will put together a football game. They usually call this gathering "The Turkey Bowl." For some of the groups that I know, The Turkey Bowl is more important than Thanksgiving dinner. So, for those groups of people, proper Thanksgiving etiquette would be to invite people earlier than when the meal will be held so that they have time to play football while dinner is being prepared.
Table manners are extremely important at Thanksgiving. For some reason, Thanksgiving also has some strange foods that rear their ugly heads. When else do you see sweet potatoes with marshmallows being served? Or cranberries in the form of a tin can? Even though you may or may not like these foods, proper Thanksgiving etiquette would be to keep those opinions to yourself. Someone took the time to make the food and you do not want to offend them.
Just as it is with any dinner occasion, use your table manners during Thanksgiving dinner. Chewing with yoour mouth open and belching does not show your host that you loved the meal...quite the opposite. Use your 'please pass the...' and 'thank you's' for all that you receive.
Depending on the group you are with, they may feel inclined to offer a prayer at the beginning of the meal or do a toast at some point. Regardless of your beliefs and opinions, it is best just to go with the flow. This is really the perogative of the host/hostess and it should be left that way.
Events like this are usually social in nature. It is a time to catch up on how people are doing and what is going on in their lives. Even though you might be shy (like I am), you will have a better time enjoying other people even if you are just around them. Good Thanksgiving etiquette would be to be polite and cordial with others there.
If you follow these ideas and tips, you will have a great Thanksgiving Party! Gobble, gobble...