Over the Thanksgiving holiday you might be invited to stay a few days at the home of a friend or family member. The first thing to do is establish what time they would like you to arrive and what you should bring – both the type of clothes you may need and if there is anything you could bring to help out. Arrive with a gift for the host and something for their children (especially if they are giving up their room for you). Always ask the mother first if you intend to give sweets.

During your stay, be good company and help out whenever possible. Be considerate when using their hot water and if given the privilege to help yourself to their pantry. If an invitation to “help-yourself” has not been issued, ask permission for things like an apple or a cup of coffee but do not seek permission to help yourself to items like scotch (even if it was your gift) or cigarettes. These items are best considered private property and not for sharing.

If you have to borrow the car, be very sure it will not put a burden on anyone, and at the very least fill it up with gas before returning it. If you have time, have it totally cleaned inside and out. Whatever you spend on this small gift will outweigh what you would have spent on renting a car or taxi for the day. Your host will be elated.

Be flexible. Understand if plans need to be changed or moved around to accommodate unfortunate incidents. Your host may have duties they have to attend to while you’re visiting.

At night it is your responsibility to go to bed first and if you rise early do not make yourself helpful by happily clattering about the kitchen preparing breakfast for everyone, as this will make the host feel guilty. The only thing worse than a guest, who does nothing, is a guest who does too much.

Most hosts will rightfully feel resentful at a guest who uses their home as a base for visiting their friends. Even worse will be those who are thoughtless enough to invite other friends over.

Make your bed each day and keep your room tidy. On the morning of departure, ask it you can help by stripping the bed and placing your towels in the laundry basket; and only complete the task if your host says “yes”. Mattress protectors and uncovered pillows are not always for the guest’s eyes.

Before leaving, say ‘Thank You’

”Courtesy demands that you, when you are a guest, shall show neither annoyance nor disappointment – no matter what happens. If you go for a drive, and there is no top to the carriage or the car, and you are soaked to the skin and chilled to the marrow so that your teeth chatter, your lips must smile and must appear to enjoy the refreshing coolness.” –Emily Post

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