Episode 12: An Awesome Etiquette Thanksgiving
Speaker 1: Maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social. Could you see? That's old fashioned
Speaker 1: watch. How is he post and damn posted Act as host and hostess?
Speaker 1: They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person. Really friendliness.
Speaker 1: Welcome to another episode of Awesome Etiquette, which is proud to be a part of the infinite guest network. I'm Lizzie
Speaker 2: Post, and I'm Dan Post sending from the Emily Post Institute,
Speaker 1: and today is our big Thanksgiving episode. Everything Thanksgiving themed. This is like my favorite holiday. It's the holiday Ever since I was a kid, it's not about presence, and I'm that kid that, like I still refer to myself as a kid. 32. I'm that kid who I can't sit in a room with presence that air unopened. I'm always just like dying to know, So I kind of love the fact that Thanksgiving has no presence like all that anxiety and pressure is off. It's just about you bringing yourself and enjoying and being grateful for the people that you have in your life, and I'm a sentimental sap and that just it strikes such a warm, fuzzy cord. And it's the kickoff to our holiday season. I mean, you've got Thanksgiving. We celebrate Christmas in my family and the new years, and I love that. This is like the start of the parties and the fun and the merriment and the decorations and e get excited about it. I'm like, really excited for the holidays this year. You call
Speaker 2: yourself a sentimental sap. I'd call you one of the most social and gregarious people I know. So it
Speaker 1: really is. It's the beginning of that. That's so that that's social time and your e Absolutely. Uh, it's also the quintessential etiquette holiday. It's the holiday that's that's built
Speaker 2: around appreciation and giving thanks and whether it's the magic word, thank you or the spirit of gratitude that that really is the heart of gracious living. And
Speaker 1: it's all about hosting and entertaining, which, let's face it, that's got etiquette all over it.
Speaker 2: Spending time with the people that matter to you, our approach to etiquette. That's about relationships. And this is a holiday. That's about celebrating those relationships as much as the bounty and the abundance of our world.
Speaker 1: Also, what I love about this holiday is that it is such a holiday of the more the merrier, like Christmas is a little bit intimate. It's one like where you really are. At least I'm just talking about Christmas because that's what we celebrate. I'm not trying to ignore other holidays here, but you know, that's one that it is a little more personal to your family, a little more intimate with your family. At least like I know, Christmas Morning is for my family. But Thanksgiving is always the more the merrier kind of holiday. It's like, you know, it's like we're always taking extra people and and just saying, Oh, wait, you don't have anything going on. Come to our house. There's always plenty of food.
Speaker 2: It's such a treat. It's so special, it really is. I'm reminded of my favorite Thanksgiving tradition when I was living in California for 10 years and I was away from my family. Oftentimes, that was the holiday where the sending family gathered and I often wasn't there. The man that was the director for the mime company that I was a part of, I know I was part of a mime company for about five years, used to host a vegetarian Thanksgiving. He was a vegetarian. He would invite all the members of the company who were a very international group. There were people from all over the world, Brazil and Belgium in Australia and Greece and Singapore, Japan. There was, Ah, really remarkable gathering, and all of these people would get together and we would talk about arts and we would share good food and we would celebrate all that we had to be thankful for. And it there was, ah, for someone that grew up in New England, a very nontraditional Thanksgiving. At the same time, it started to have a really special place in my heart. And I always think about those people this time of year and what they're doing out there in Claremont, Calif. But you're right. It's that spirit of Come one come all, let's get together and let's celebrate and and spend some time together appreciating one another and all that we have. It's really remarkable.
Speaker 1: And with that, let's make sure that you have a fabulous Thanksgiving by answering some of your etiquette questions about the holiday. Sure, you're right. There's so much to learn how to do. Sure, there's a lot to learn, but it's worth it on. Learning is easy. One way is by watching others on each
Speaker 2: episode of awesome etiquette. We take your questions on how to behave.
Speaker 1: So all of our questions today have to do with Thanksgiving, and they are also all anonymous, which doesn't usually happen. But let's start with. Is there a specific protocol for the most polite way to split up the holidays? Once you're married, I don't want anyone to feel left out, but we all know not every holiday can be spent together. Dan, you're going to be dealing with this for the first time this year. I absolutely no way
Speaker 2: am. And this question really speaks to me because Pooch and I are just having this discussion. Who are
Speaker 1: we going to spend Thanksgiving
Speaker 2: with? And it's gonna be her family this year, and I'll tell you are thinking that I have a brother and where it's just the two of us and he's married and he spends every other Christmas with his in laws, and they rotate so that he spends Thanksgiving with the sending family and then Christmas with his in laws, and the next year they switch it okay, Got ends Christmas with sending family Thanksgiving going on, and this is the year where he'll be spending Christmas with the settings. So we're trying to get Putin and I are trying to get coordinated with my brother. So that will do Christmas this year with the settings, and we'll do Thanksgiving with Pooja's family. So this year we're gonna Thanksgiving with pooches family, and I really recommend thinking about some way to reach an equitable situation. Thistles gonna matter. It's gonna matter to everybody. It's gonna matter to you where where you get to spend your Thanksgiving's also gonna matter to your family. They want to see you and they want to include you in the traditions that oftentimes have been building up for a lifetime. So I think it's really nice toe. Think about everybody involved, try to find an equitable solution and be prepared to give a little bit, because that's gonna be part of the equation. Sometimes there is, ah, sidedness to the situation. Sometimes only one side of the family is a lot smaller, and maybe they could be invited to come spend Thanksgiving with the other side. Or maybe you could host and get all the families together and start to build a new tradition that requires a little more thinking a little more planning. But But again, you want to keep in mind equity. You wanna be thinking about what's fair. You wanna think about everybody involved so both yourselves and the families that are affected and impacted be prepared, talk about it ahead of time, be willing to listen and be willing to negotiate. That's the best advice I can give. There's no single right answer. They're gonna be different solutions that work for different families. Our next question deals with preparing for Thanksgiving troubles and specifically, a complaining relative. It begins every year my mother in law insists on planning the entire Thanksgiving meal and then complains about the workload. Should I stay out of the way or continue to offer my help? How do you deal with a Thanksgiving murder? Was, he
Speaker 1: thinks, is This is always a difficult one because it, like, deals with someone's own issues of of control and yet also execution of workload, Which, let's face it, Thanksgiving is a massive meal for most families, so it can be really difficult once you take all of that on. If one thing goes wrong all of a sudden, you know your pies air backed up on the side. Dishes aren't getting hot enough for, you know, you've missed an ingredient, but you don't have time to go out. I think you have two good options. One is to just simply sit back and be supportive. This might just be the way that this works. This mother in law might want the control over it, but also feel like she needs to express her dislike of the workload. But yet, if she's never willing to give up that control, then they go hand in hand together. And you just kind of have to sit back and praise her and always say, You know, you've out done yourself again. What a wonderful meal. I don't know how you do it every year. It's amazing, you know, really? Give her. Give her that support what she's looking for. Yeah, and you might want to talk with your spouse about it. But if you suspect that she actually is angling and would like help offering, it is a great way to go, you know, maybe sometime in October, call her up and say, I know Thanksgiving is just so much work I would love to contribute in some way If there's something you'd like me to take over or help out with, Um, you know, sometimes that's a really great way of letting this person know that they can still be, you know, the master of ceremonies. Very. They can still say, you know, let us all know how it's gonna be happening exactly what they like. But you could actually execute some of the work for them, and that might help out, Um, you could also consider offering to host now that can ruffle some feathers. So I do suggest talking with family members first before you actually do the invite. Um, you don't want to step on any toes, but it is another way to avoid the drama. Eso Good luck. And I truly hope that that helps.
Speaker 1: Our next question comes from the mother of a newborn, she writes. I'm the mother of a newborn and not up to the three hour drive to my in laws annual Thanksgiving dinner. My husband and I would like to invite the family to the house, meaning their house, but I'm not sure I can handle all the cooking either. Is there a polite way that I can ask guests to help out? And yes, there is. But, Dan, you've got a pretty good thought as well.
Speaker 2: The thought that instantly comes to mind
Speaker 1: is
Speaker 2: thought about traditions and family traditions and how important they become, how quickly they become important to people. And if you don't think this is true, try changing something on your
Speaker 1: kids someday. But this isn't
Speaker 2: the way we do it.
Speaker 1: This isn't
Speaker 2: the way we did it last year.
Speaker 1: Where my creamed onions,
Speaker 2: where are my creamed onions? Absolutely. And traditions are important. They really ground us and in time and in place. And, uh, they are the cement that we build relationships around often.
Speaker 1: So you wanna think about really wanna think
Speaker 2: when you're interrupting a traditional, you're looking to initiate a new one. And I love the forethought here, someone who's in a new situations really thinking ahead. And they're thinking, How can I handle this in a way that's gonna have everyone feeling feeling good?
Speaker 1: So one thing you might want to think about is would your husband's family be open to the idea of changing venues. Is this like a 50 year event? You know, that's been going on. Or is it something that you know? No. People aren't actually attached to the venue. And therefore, coming to your house might be just what you know, just yeah, you got the new baby. You could. I mean, there's all kinds of reasons why it could be a great new tradition. But first I talk with your husband and kind of get a feel for whether or not the changing of venues is all right in terms of, can you ask other people to help out? Of course, Thanksgiving has always been a very sort of potluck community, communal, community style holiday. And so it's perfectly OK. In fact, in my family, what my mother does is, um, she takes care of the turkey and all the stuffings and a few other side dishes. But she creates a list and whether it's orders like crew today, or smoked salmon or shrimp or whether it's pies for dessert or it's, you know, the green beans or the mashed potatoes with the marshmallows. Yeah, yeah, whatever it is, um, she makes a list of all those extra dishes. And when she's calling around to the family to find out, you know, my mother has six brothers and sisters, by the way. So it's we have a big family when we're doing the coward side of the family and she calls around and asks everyone, if they're coming and then if they are coming, would they be willing to bring a dish? And then she lets them select from whatever it is that's on the list, because that way they could do something. They're comfortable with that Will, you know, if they're if they're traveling up, it might be easier to go to the local grocery store and pick up a platter of crudity A. Than it is to bring up mashed potatoes that you have nowhere to cook because you're staying in a hotel or something like that. Yeah, exactly. Eso What I would suggest, though, is if you if you do decide to ask people, you really want to make sure that 2 to 3 weeks before Thanksgiving, so we're a little beyond that point now. But 23 weeks before Thanksgiving, you've let people know you know what's going on and that there cooking a certain dish, and that's really gonna help you stay organized. And then the last bit is to remember to say thank you to them for all the help that they've done, because it really does make it. Ah, whole lot easier.
Speaker 2: I'll take a final thought When you mentioned the saying Thank you. This is the Thanksgiving holiday. It brings to mind another tradition that's that's often really nice. And that's the tradition of people saying what they're thankful for around the table. That could be a really nice thing to do, and you might think about. It is a way to initiate and submit that new tradition at your place when you're hosting it for the first time. Um, good luck, and I hope that goes really will help. Our next question is a bit of a Thanksgiving classic. It has to do with how you deal with a relative or a friend. You anticipate behaving badly at the dinner around that meal that everyone's worked so hard to prepare. So here we go. My brother's new girlfriend is loud and tells off color jokes and is coming to our Thanksgiving dinner this year what's the best way to handle her?
Speaker 1: This is always like I get secretly gleeful over these questions because it's like that is so difficult. She's a guest in your home and you're already thinking about how you're gonna have to correct her behavior. Ouch! And like, it's not just a normal dinner. It's Thanksgiving dinner s O that one of the best ways to do this is actually chat with your brother ahead of time, and it's to talk with him and say, I'm so excited that you and Lisa are gonna come for dinner. But could you talk with her about maybe toning down the jokes? Like I know she really loves to make everyone laugh, but sometimes they overstep a little bit. And if if there's some kind of signal you could give her or if you could even just talk to her, maybe let her know Grandma's gonna be here. So she's sensitive. She's sensitive about it. I like Dan's language right there. She's sensitive about it, just so it takes the pressure off of accusing Lisa of being really, you know, inappropriate and not politically correct, and instead says there's just other people here that might not be as receptive to it, and that's a That's a really great way to try to handle that. If, um, it doesn't work and if maybe maybe Lisa has a couple glasses of wine, or maybe she's just excited by all the, you know, the the happiness that's going on, she might start telling those jokes. It's okay for you as the host to step in in that moment and actually say, Hey, Lisa, um, you know, I really do. Your sense of humor is great and I'm so glad that you're, you know, jumping in. But I think a few of these jokes or just crossing some lines or they're feeling a little uncomfortable to me. If you could tone it down a bit, that would be great. You pull
Speaker 2: her aside to say something like that,
Speaker 1: I would never say it to her in front of everybody at the table. When she's a guest, I mean, she's This is her first Thanksgiving
Speaker 2: with the family. Yeah, no, I I hear you and that's that tough responsibility that the host has to think about everybody because it's one guest is saying something that's really offending everybody else. how do you interject? And sometimes a quick change of subject might be the most appropriate thing. So how about the way you know exactly is delicious? I don't think you ever nailed it quite like that. Exactly. Um, and and save her from herself, uh, save her the embarrassment. But I do like your willingness toe to pull someone aside and let them know, particularly that keeps happening.
Speaker 1: I was gonna say, If you've tried to change the conversation a couple times and she keeps going back to the jokes or she keeps going back to the comments, that's when you really do want to pull her aside and talk about it. But in the moment that you know great go twos for changing conversation, by the way asking someone about an upcoming vacation because it just immediately puts all the attention on Oh, that's right, Suze going to the Bahamas like we want to hear about that trip or that trip. She just went on. Um, anything work related is usually a decent. I mean, you don't usually want to talk work, but, hey, you just got a new job. How's it going?
Speaker 2: It's gonna be safe territory
Speaker 1: you guys just bought a new house. Try to think of the things that are happening in your relatives lives. Because when you just throw out like, hey, did anyone see that movie? If nobody saw the movie, it falls really flat. So you want to try to pick something you know someone's gonna be able to continue on with? I like
Speaker 2: your three tiered approach.
Speaker 1: I think
Speaker 2: ahead, try to talk to him ahead. If you need to pull them aside and interrupt in the moment if you're really gonna save someone some embarrassment.
Speaker 1: Well, there you have it. Three simple ways to approach the problem, especially if it escalates. And good luck. We hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving.
Speaker 2: Our next question is another Thanksgiving hosting question. We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for a slew of our out of town relatives. Is it okay to ask some to stay at a hotel?
Speaker 1: It is always okay to ask people to stay somewhere else. You never have to feel like you have tow. Have everyone staying at your house. Um, some people are a little uncomfortable with or don't know how to say that to someone, but when you know mom or your sister calls up and says yes to Thanksgiving, and then they start talking about where they're going to stay. You say, Well, this year we're not gonna be able to host anyone at our house, and you don't have to give a real reason why you just say, you know, we're not gonna be able to host in our house, But they're these great hotels. There's this great bed and breakfast. You can also do something like an Airbnb. You can either rent a house or an apartment in your area so that it has that hoe, meer cozy feel, and that's definitely an easy way to go. I like that there are options for people, but I also think making sure that when you, um when your guests ask you about it, that you have options for them. Another thing is, I know a lot of people go away for Thanksgiving. So in years past, like my parents, friends, the Philips have gone away and our relatives have gone and stayed at the Phillips House. So the Phillips get someone to watch their house over the holidays and my family gets, um, you know, kind of like a free place to stay and a really nice place to stay, too. So maybe you can try to arrange that with a close friend. Um, but it's perfectly okay. Just get the word out early so that people can make plans.
Speaker 2: Setting those boundaries, in a clear way, is, is so it's so important. I'm reminded of the National Lampoon's Christmas vacation. I mean,
Speaker 1: everybody come on, those
Speaker 2: relatives that you're really not prepared for who make themselves at home. It is a classic holiday scenario. You know, it's it's kind of you to be thinking about hosting and to really be taking that responsibility seriously. But you're, as Lizzie says, you're never expected toe steps so far out of your comfort zone that you can no longer be a good host.
Speaker 1: So we hope that gives you some options and that you'll be able to say with confidence. No, not our house This year, E. She says. You're not as rude as you used to be. Thank
Speaker 2: you. Thank you. Thank you for sending in your questions on this Thanksgiving holiday.
Speaker 1: You can
Speaker 2: submit your next question toe awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com. You can also send them in via Facebook or Twitter. Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette so that we know you want it on the show.
Speaker 1: So today we have, ah, a little bit of history, the history of Thanksgiving, and this comes from Plymouth dot org's Plimoth Plantation website. It's, um, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. Um, I know feel so incredibly official and they right, giving thanks for the creators. Gifts had always been a part of the Wampanoag daily life from ancient times. Native people of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of good growing season in early spring and for other good fortunes, such as the birth of a child. Giving thanks was and still is the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations. As with native traditions in America, celebrations complete with merrymaking and feasting in England and throughout Europe after a successful crop, are as ancient as the harvest time itself. In 16 21 when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrim's gave thanks to God and celebrated his bounty in the harvest home tradition with feasting and sport To these people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a rebel. It was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude. The arrival of the pilgrims and Puritans brought new Thanksgiving traditions to the American scene. Today's national Thanksgiving celebration is a blend of two traditions. The New England custom of rejoicing after successful harvest based on ancient English harvest festivals, and the Puritan Thanksgiving, Ah, solemn religious observance, combining prayer and feasting. Now Florida, Texas, Maine, in Virginia each declare itself the site of the first Thanksgiving, and historical documents support the various claims. The Spanish explorers and other English colonists celebrated religious services of Thanksgiving years before the Mayflower arrived. However, few people knew about these events until the 20th century. They were isolated celebrations for gotten long before the establishment of the American holiday, and they played no role in the evolution of Thanksgiving. But as James W. Baker states in his book Thanks giving the biography of American holiday quote despite the disagreements over the details, the three day event in Plymouth in the fall of 16 21 was the historical birth of the American Thanksgiving holiday, so you can carry that with you to your Thanksgiving table and feel like a smarty pants because you know where everything came from. Thank you.
Speaker 1: Social Courtesy does pay, doesn't it? Thanks. Our etiquette
Speaker 2: salute this week really has to do with giving thanks and Thanksgiving traditions. And we want to start by thanking a man named John Kralik. And he's an author who wrote a book called 365 Thank You's The Year. A simple act of gratitude changed my life, and this is a remarkable and sweet little book about a man who committed to writing a personal thank you note every day for a year. When he started the project, he did it almost out of desperation. His life was in disarray at the time. He was feeling unsuccessful in his personal life, is well as professionally, and he found almost instantaneously when he started the act of consciously and intentionally looking for things to be thankful for and thanking those people that that were part of that for those things in his life. It instantly changed his outlook, and this this simple act of cultivating gratitude was really transformative, and he shares that in a book that's that's lovely and sweet and short called 365. Thank you's and I really want to thank John for writing that book and sharing it. It's something I love to tell people about, and and I agree with him. I do think that the act of looking for gratitude in life can be transformative and can be a really important part of living well. So in that spirit, I want to thank all the people that have hosted Thanksgiving for me over the course of the years, whether it's my aunt and Uncle Burton, Carol or Tom and Sally Lab heart out in California, and I'm really looking forward Toa Pramila Boo and FUFA and their Thanksgiving this year. So thank you to all of my most gracious host. I really appreciate you
Speaker 1: well into that. And I really want to thank my family because tradition is extremely important to me and our Thanksgiving is incredibly traditional. I mean, it's it's almost always the same people, almost always the same meal, and that that kind of consistency and and nod to how much we enjoy it each year by bringing it back each year is is really something. I am very grateful for. And I want to thank my mother, who does such an amazing job of pulling together our Thanksgiving Day and who is always willing to take the strays that I bring with me. I hate calling them strays, but that's that's just sort of the the running joke with my friends. I have a lot of friends who are from other countries Ahmed from Baghdad and Karen from Peru. And they come and they get to enjoy. And I'm really grateful to come from a family that's so inclusionary like that.
Speaker 2: So that's our Thanksgiving, Thank you. And we hope that your Thanksgiving is is wonderful this year. Also. Thanks so much for joining us as
Speaker 1: always.
Speaker 1: Well, now wasn't that better?
Speaker 1: Look at the effect of a little politeness.
Speaker 2: Thank you so much for listening. We really hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family. We do love to hear from you. Please send us your questions, your etiquette salutes or your suggestions for the show. Tow awesome etiquette. Emily post dot com If you like what you hear, we love to hear from you. Please leave us a review when you subscribe at iTunes. You can also find us on Facebook, where the Emily Post Institute or on Twitter, I'm at Daniel Underscore Post,
Speaker 1: and I'm at Lizzie a
Speaker 2: Post, or you can visit our website. Emily post dot com. Our theme music was composed and performed by Bob Wagner.
Speaker 1: Thanksgiving is upon us. An infinite guest has you covered? Check out big appetites this week where Patty teaches us to swaddle a turkey in banana leaves. And if you have any kitchen emergencies on the big day, make sure to call into Turkey Confidential. The annual live broadcast Call in Special from the Splendid Table from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time on Thanksgiving Day, Lynn Rossetto Casper will be live coaching listeners through the biggest food day of the year. It's all at Infinite Guest dot or G'kar.