Other

Things You Should Never Do at the Thanksgiving Table


In our increasingly casual society, it’s easy to forego table manners. Who cares where your napkin sits when you’re eating macaroni and cheese on the couch while watching Chopped? But if there’s one meal at which your table etiquette actually matters, it’s Thanksgiving dinner. While not a formal meal per se, the effort of roasting a turkey, chopping up countless onions and celery for stuffing, and baking the perfect pumpkin pie demands a little respect… or at least eating at the table.

So maybe you’re a little out of practice when it comes to basic table manners and etiquette. You’re not sure what the rules are regarding passing food (move the dishes to the right) or how to dress (nicely). But worry not, ye of little table etiquette. We have you covered with these 15 things you should never do at the Thanksgiving table and how to conduct yourself at an oftentimes stressful family gathering.

From who you can (and cannot) bring to dinner to how much you should drink to what topics to avoid, click here to read things you should not do at the Thanksgiving table.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.


6 Things You Should Never Serve at a Ladies Luncheon

You're hosting? Read these tips before you plan your menu.

The term "ladies luncheon" might make you think of your grandmother&aposs generation𠅊 group of women getting together for dainty finger sandwiches, tomato aspic, and girl talk. But there&aposs nothing old-fashioned about getting together with your friends for a great meal. Whether you&aposre planning lunch for a baby shower, book club, garden group, or just a regular old Saturday afternoon get-together, avoid these common mistakes.

Strong cocktails. Lunch with friends should feel fun and for some people, that means enjoying a glass or two of wine. But don&apost go overboard. It&aposs the middle of the day, everyone has to get home and finish the day&aposs to-do list. Skip the serious cocktails and go for a lower alcohol punch or spritzer. Or skip the alcohol altogether and mix up a refreshing Minted Tea Punch or Sunny Spring Lemonade.

Heavy food. Likewise, you don&apost want to send everyone off feeling weighed down and ready for a nap. If you are going to serve a heavier main dish like fried chicken, or pasta, or steak, make sure the portions are on the smaller side so people can take as much (or as little) as they like. For example, cut chicken into eighths, or slice grilled steak into thin strips.

Hot food. As any Thanksgiving host knows, one of the most stressful parts of serving a meal is figuring out the timing so that all the dishes are still hot when they hit the table. Thankfully, you don&apost need to serve a whole turkey for lunch (see above). Look for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like roasted chicken, pasta and grain salads, and sandwiches. The exception to this rule is soup, which can be kept warm on the stove, or anything made in a slow cooker, which can be made in advance and rewarmed on "low."

You Might Also be Interested In

"Composed" salads. Individually plated salads look pretty, but they&aposre not worth the energy𠅎specially if you&aposre feeding a crowd. If you&aposre serving salad, grab your favorite platter and use it to serve salad family-style.

Fussy desserts. Don&apost even think about skipping dessert. But choose your battles. If torching individual crème brulees for 30 people gives you joy, by all means, break out the mini blowtorch! For the rest of you, stick to make-ahead desserts. Sheet cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and ice cream are all terrific options that can be made in advance.

You Might Also be Interested In

Decaf. Guests might need a little pick-me-up before they hit the road, so have some coffee or tea on hand. Coffee is always a good excuse to linger a bit longer, too—which tends to happen at these sorts of gatherings. It&aposs hard to leave when you&aposre having fun.