How to Be a Good House Guest this Thanksgiving

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Nothing puts us on edge quite like hearing the words “honey, we’re staying at my parent’s for Thanksgiving” does. That almost constant feeling like you’re stepping on someone else’s toes (and turf) is a high price to pay for arguably the best holiday meal of the year. And so, while the idea of spending a few nights in someone else’s house under someone else’s rules might sound like a disaster waiting to happen, it’s just something we have to do.

That being said, we think it’s possible to make it through Thanksgiving without committing any house guest faux pas. Which is why we’ve brought back Maria Everding of The Etiquette Institute to provide us with some simple tips to make your visit at the relatives’ as painless—for everyone—as possible.

Changing Your Routine

If I normally like to take my time on the toilet should I speed up my routine? “Absolutely! Consideration is key, especially if you want to be invited back.”

What about showers? Do I have to speed up if I usually take long showers? “Consideration again, especially if several people are using the same shower.”

Should I go to sleep when my hosts go to sleep, and should I wake up when they wake up? “Absolutely.”

And…what about having sex? “No. Go without—you don’t want to make your host uncomfortable.”

What You Can and Can’t Use

Is it alright to share my host’s toiletries, like shampoo, toothpaste and soap? “Bring your own. If they provide new items designated for your use, though, that’s fine.”

Can I use loofahs and washcloths if they’re in the shower? “NO.”

If there’s a bathtub, am I allowed to use it? “Showers only.”

Is it alright to wash my clothes using their washing machine? “It depends on how long you stay and if the washing machine was offered to you for your own use.”

Can I help myself to food in the fridge and the pantry? “You don’t ask for anything you don’t see. And it’s always a good idea to have a snack bar in your bag when a snack attack occurs.”


Is it ever alright to commandeer the television remote? “If asked what you would like to watch, then say so, otherwise no.”

Being a Considerate Guest

If I go #2, should I light a candle in the bathroom? “I would only light a candle if it’s already been lit before.”

Am I supposed to wash used linens before I leave? “I would just ask where to put the used sheets and towels.”

Is there anything I need to consider on the way out? “Don’t forget to send a thank-you note to the host or hostess!”