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9 Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips for Hosts, and 8 for Guests

Hosts: Don’t serve anything too messy

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“Normally for Thanksgiving, people dress up, but you don’t want guests to wear foods on their outfit,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert and author of Poised for Success. “Serve foods that are easy to eat.” Make sure hors d’oeuvres are (literally) bite-sized, and stay away from messy finger foods, she says.

Hosts: Cook way more food than necessary

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Instead of planning your Thanksgiving meal to a T, with every person getting one reasonable portion, have enough food that anyone can go back for seconds. “You want to anticipate there will be seconds or a surprise,” says Gottsman. “You can always have leftovers.” Besides, is there really anything better than a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce? Try these quick recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Hosts: Serve dessert in another room

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Take dessert to the living room or another seating area to give diners the chance to stretch after feasting on turkey and mashed potatoes. Plus, you won’t need to clear off the whole table before digging in to the sweet stuff. “I serve dessert and drinks in another room, not at the table, because everyone has been at the table for long periods of time,” says Whitmore. “It gets people up and moving.”

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