“Mister Manners” talks Thanksgiving faux pas, etiquette for holiday gatherings

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The holidays mean spending time with friends and family you may not frequently see. Conversations about anything from politics to lifestyles and everything in between may get brought up, making it a potentially anxiety-inducing season.

“Mister Manners,” or Thomas Farley, dropped by Good Morning Arizona to talk about how you and your family can avoid conversation faux pas, avoid arguments, and practice etiquette before the holidays. Farley has made several appearances on NBC’s Today Show, Rachael Ray, Inside Edition, and much more. “Typically, it’s one or two troublemakers who really stir the pot, so avoid those troublemakers but show up, so you don’t deprive yourself of the presence and conviviality that Thanksgiving is truly about,” Farley said.

He suggests skipping the arguments and not the gathering, setting rules before you set the table, designating a caucus room, don’t take the bait, and offering gratitude without the attitude. “I recommend the person having the party...set those ground rules in the invitation, so your guests know to respect your issues as hosts right up front, he said.

Farley also suggests using the “caucus room” for family members to host a discussion in a separate room away from guests who may not want to overhear the goings-on of politics, hot-button topics, etc. “There’s no meal throughout the year that has more emotions and stress attached to it like the Thanksgiving meal,” Farley said. “Express gratitude and thank the host. They tried their best even if it’s not exactly what you wanted or were looking for.”

Farley says to bring a gift for the host or hostess to enjoy and to bring something of your own to alleviate the cooking load on Thanksgiving. “Don’t bring something that will outdo something you know someone is known for,” he said. “Don’t outshine your Aunt Emma!” Want to learn more etiquette tips before the holidays arrive? Click here.