12 Things You Should Never Do on Thanksgiving

host of thanksgiving stressed out

Cheapism / Bing Image Creator

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
host of thanksgiving stressed out
Cheapism / Bing Image Creator

Turkey Day Etiquette

We're in the home stretch heading toward Thanksgiving and gearing up for the holiday isn't just about getting in the mood for turkey and mashed potatoes. There are some unspoken rules revolving around Turkey Day that should be revered, including this list of things you should refrain from doing on the holiday.

Guests come to visit and see new house

1. Show Up Unannounced

Life happens, and most dinner hosts will understand if you end up not being able to make it. But if there is even a sliver of a chance you will attend Thanksgiving dinner, let the host know you'll be there so they can plan accordingly. And this should go without saying, but don't pop up at a Turkey Day shindig you weren't invited to to begin with.

Related: Holiday Houseguest Horror Stories

Senior woman feeling sad while sitting alone at dining table on Thanksgiving.
Drazen Zigic/istockphoto

2. Bring a Surprise Guest

If the host of your holiday dinner has planned everything down to the last detail and spent the better part of their day cooking a big turkey dinner, that person deserves to enjoy that meal with people they want to share the table with. Bringing someone who wasn't invited or approved in advance is a monkey wrench you're better off not tinkering with.

Related: Rude Awakenings: Etiquette Rules No One Follows Anymore

Woman carrying a bowl with roasted potatoes

3. Show Up Late ... Especially If You're Bringing a Dish

In every family, there is always someone (and sometimes more than one someone) who is habitually late. If you know you're that person, convince yourself that dinner is earlier than it is and get yourself there in time for the festitivites, especially if you're bringing a side dish, which removes the option to just go ahead and eat without you. 

We've Brought Desert

4. Not Bring the Dish You Said You Would

If your Thanksgiving dinner host is counting on you to bring green bean casserole and you show up with a pumpkin pie instead, you're more than likely going to be the least favorite guest of the evening. 

Tired Housewife Baking Until Late making a Cake

5. Bring a Dish That Requires Cooking

Unless you've preapproved this with the cook ahead of time, it's best to bring an already-complete and ready-to-eat dish to Thanksgiving dinner. The host might not have room in the oven or their pool of patience to tackle cooking anything else.

Related: The 22 Best Costco Thanksgiving Sides That Shoppers Are Obsessed With

Woman looking worried with mobile phone in hand in kitchen

6. Fail to Plan Ahead

Whether you're hosting or attending, planning ahead on Thanksgiving is the way to go. From a host's perspective, planning your menu and the day's events will help keep you organized and more stress-free (we can't guarantee an entire absence of stress). As a guest, if you have more than one dinner to attend or you're charged with bringing a dish to pass, it's important to keep yourself on somewhat of a schedule.

For more helpful tips, sign up for our free newsletters.

woman in the kitchen

7. Serve All Hot Dishes

Do yourself a favor and throw a couple of salads and chilled hors d'oeuvres onto your menu for Turkey Day. It'll free up some room on the stove top and in the oven, and leave room for some day-before prep work.

Ring Around the Tuna
Teenage Family Having Argument Whilst Eating Lunch Together In Kitchen

9. Talk Politics at the Table

Even if you know that everyone at the dinner table has the same political views as you, it's still not good table talk. If there is one surefire way to get people riled up, it's talking about politics, and Thanksgiving is not the time for getting riled up. 

Funny Housewife perplexed and angry. Loser is destiny!

10. Get Too Ambitious With Your Menu

It's easy to get swept away in the festivities of Thanksgiving and swing for the fences when it comes to planning your menu, but getting too carried away creates a breeding ground for mishaps and mistakes. It's okay to experiment a little, but try and reign your culinary creativity in as much as possible to ensure cooking goes off without a hitch.

Related: Deep-Fried Disasters and Other Thanksgiving Mistakes to Avoid

Teenage girl helping her sister blend her pie batter.
Alex Potemkin/istockphoto

11. Take Over in the Kitchen Without Being Asked

You might think you have the mustard-to-mayo ratio for deviled eggs down pat, but that doesn't mean the dinner host wants you to weasel your way into the kitchen and start mashing yolks up. If your help is welcome, offer it, otherwise, be a good guest and take a seat.

Couple Greeting Senior Parents At Front Door As They Come To Visit