Bethlehem Press

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Respectfully Yours: How to be gracious Thanksgiving dinner host

Friday, November 8, 2019 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

This year, I host my first Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends. I have my recipes and menu ready, but I am not sure what other details I should consider. Can you please provide tips for being a gracious host?

Dear Reader,

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest family holidays of the year and it can be daunting whether it’s your first time hosting or your 20th time.

As the host, not only are you preparing a feast, you are also responsible for making sure guests feel welcome and comfortable. The more organized your approach, the less overwhelmed you’ll be.

Start planning simple things. Whatever you can do ahead of time, do.

Send the invitations well in advance, clearly stating the time you’d like guests to arrive. In the weeks ahead, confirm your guest list and take note of how many people are attending. This will help you to better gauge the rest of your to-do list.

Take the time to get your home ready. For example, your guests will feel welcomed when they are greeted by a festive wreath on the front door.

Continue the theme indoors with Thanksgiving décor, holiday dishware and scented candles.

Save time on the big day by preplanning where you want guests to sit and set the table the night before.

Have plenty of disposable containers on hand. These can be used to send your guests home with leftover goodies.

Lastly, take time to prepare your welcome toast and you’ll be all set for a memorable meal.

This holiday is all about being grateful. Relax, have fun and take time to find moments of gratitude. That’s what will make your Thanksgiving gathering one for the books.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst