What to Bring to Thanksgiving: 4 Things to Take a Long (and 3 to Avoid)

Off the hook for hosting this year? First, take a moment to revel in your good fortune. Then read this list of the very important dos and don’ts of what to bring to Thanksgiving so that you can secure your invite for next year. (Because although the hostess may say, “Oh, just bring yourself,” trust us—she doesn’t mean it.)

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thanksgiving dinner cheers
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1. Do: Bring Wine

Ask if there’s a specific type your host would like first (white, red or sparkling) and then scope out the best ones to bring under $25. For bonus points, surprise them with a digestif (in addition to a bottle of wine) that will help guests wind down after all that food. 

thanksgiving dinner on the table

2. Don’t: Bring A Dish Unless Asked

You may make the best damn pumpkin pie around, but don’t even think about bringing it unless you’ve been specifically requested to do so. It may seem like a nice gesture but there’s nothing like slaving away on a dessert all day only to be upstaged by someone else. And if tasked with bringing some pre-dinner snacks, don’t just pick up your favorite cheese from Trader Joe’s and call it a day—crackers, chutneys or grapes are also required.

trimmed bouquet of flowers in a jar

3. Do: Bring Flowers In Their Own Vase

A pretty bouquet is a perfectly acceptable (and lovely) hostess gift. But getting dinner ready (and keeping Aunt Miriam away from Aunt Sally) is a feat of superhuman strength—don’t busy your host with more work (like digging around the cabinet to try and find a vase). Instead, come with flowers already trimmed and arranged in a vessel that you’re happy to leave behind.

woman cutting butter into apple pie
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4. Don’t: Bring Anything That Requires Assembly

And ditto on bringing anything that uses up precious oven or fridge space.

takeaway container with food
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5. Do: Bring Your Own To-go Containers

We like these ones that are easy to transport and practically spill-proof.

stuffing on the dinner table
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6. Don’t: Bring Up Your Food Allergies At The Table

Please inform the host of any allergies or medical conditions beforehand (mentioning you have celiac disease as the stuffing is being dished up is not appropriate). And no, an aversion to green beans doesn't count as a medical condition. 

loading the dishwasher

7. Do: Bring Some Elbow Grease

You should, of course, offer to clear the table and do the dishes after the meal. 

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...