Will you be traveling this holiday season? If so, then you will likely be a guest in someone’s home. Have you ever been uncomfortable in these type situations? Do you ever wonder what is the proper etiquette for a guest? You and your host are likely to enjoy the visit more when you follow these simple rules:

  1. Respond to the invitation as soon as possible. Be clear about arrival and departure times.
  2. Present a gift to your host. You could bring a book that interests your host, a bottle of wine (to be enjoyed later), or a monogrammed item for the home. Flowers are also an appropriate gift, if they are arranged. Your host will not have the time to cut and arrange them on the spot. It is also acceptable to send a gift on the day after your visit.
  3. Practice dining etiquette. You should watch for your host’s signal to sit down at the table. If there are no place cards and your host doesn’t indicate where you should sit, then take the chair nearest you. Place your napkin in your lap and keep it there unless you must leave the table. (The napkin should be placed in the chair if you must be excused.) It is safe to begin eating when the host or guest of honor begins to eat. If you are confused by which utensil to use, then mirror the host, relax, and enjoy.
  4. Advise your host of any special dietary restrictions ahead of your visit. This should be done in advance so the host has time to plan a menu that will accommodate your needs. If foods are served that you don’t like or cannot eat, then just avoid them.
  5. Compliment your host and their home in some way. Be genuine in your remarks.
  6. Silence smart technologies and be attentive during conversation. It’s rude to act bored or disinterested. You may learn something by listening.
  7. Clean up after yourself.
  8. Offer to do something for your host. You may offer to make coffee or to do the dishes. The gesture will be appreciated.
  9. Be polite and kind during your visit.
  10. Try to adapt to the host’s pattern of living. You should take the mindset of the host here and try to maintain the household routine. This is especially important if you will be staying several days. A good overnight guest will remember to: ask about house rules and schedules, be appropriate in their dress, and find ways to entertain themselves. It would also be appropriate to treat your host to a meal.
  11. Go home when you said you would do so. Your host may have other obligations and it would be wrong to overstay your welcome.
  12. Be appreciative and thank your host for their hospitality at the end of your stay. You will most certainly be invited back.