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Keep the Giving in Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is almost here, and with the holiday comes etiquette challenges. Make your Thanksgiving a happy occasion by following these tips.

Approach Thanksgiving with a giving heart

While you may not look forward to seeing loud Uncle Ernie or crazy Cousin Sally this is a time to be gracious and kind even to those who irritate you. Don’t engage in conflict or arguments. Let others “win” or steer the conversation to something more neutral.

I am part of an online kindness class and the assignment this week is to be useful, whatever that means to us. Someone in the class wrote:

A few days ago, I received a sharp comment from one of my sisters at a family gathering. In the original family-of-origin mode of reacting, I went quiet within and felt the pain of the sting of her words for a moment, but 10 minutes later, I asked for a private communication away from the gathering of others. I told her what I was feeling. We talked, we hugged, we cried, all in 15 minutes. I learned this somewhere along the way outside of my family, and these amazing family members are here to show me how useful it is to learn to communicate differently over a lifetime.

What a nice way to handle a family conflict. Instead of reacting, this person graciously took her sister aside and cleared the air. This act strengthened their relationship. A great example to follow next time you feel the sting of a sharp comment.

Related: The Competitive Advantage of Kindness

Related: Etiquette Defines the Rules for How We Present Ourselves and Interact With Others

Be helpful

Offer to help the host/ess. Getting a Thanksgiving meal together can be stressful and time sensitive, so jump in and do what you can to help get the meal ready. Then, offer to clear and help clean up after the meal.

Avoid being demanding

Be grateful for what is served and compliment the cook(s) even if it tastes awful. The cook(s) worked hard, so let them know how much you appreciate what was served.

Be polite at the table

At the table, watch the boarding house reach. Ask politely to have things passed to you. Be sure to ask if others want some more of something before taking the last serving unless you are the last to be served. And remember to slow down and enjoy the food and the company. Sometimes it’s one of only a couple of times a year we get to see family and friends so savor the bountiful meal and the conversation.

Toasting etiquette

Remember, the host/ess makes the first toast. If s/he doesn’t make one after some time passes ask if you may make a toast. Keep your toast short and to the point and, make it nice. No rude or passive aggressive comments.

Above all, be grateful for your family and friends, the food on the table and the abundance you enjoy.

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