Showing up with an unexpected plus-one to Thanksgiving isn’t exactly an Emily-Post-approved move, but an unexpected guest is still a guest in your home, and can—and should—be graciously welcomed to your table. While it may add a bit of extra stress to your event, it needn’t ruin it. Here’s what to do.
After you’ve greeted the new arrivals, offer them something to drink and get them settled in. If you’re feeling annoyed, frustrated or resentful about the situation, excuse yourself to the kitchen or somewhere away from the crowd to take a deep breath (and perhaps a sip of wine) if you need to. Give yourself a mental moment, then get over it. Thanksgiving dinner is not the time for a freak out.
If you need to vent, do it later. For the moment, assess the situation, make space for your new guests at the table and pull out any extra plates, wine glasses and silverware you might need (if it doesn’t match, it’s not the end of the world). Thankfully, it’s Thanksgiving, where dinner is served family-style and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have enough food and drink to go around.
Though it’s easy to focus on getting the details of your celebration just right, at the end of the day, this holiday is about togetherness, sharing and showing gratitude for what you have, and that includes welcoming even the most unexpected of guests. Your friends and family are not going to judge you if the table is a bit mismatched or crowded, especially given the circumstances. Instead, focus on the opportunity to become acquainted with a new potential friend and get excited to share a delicious meal with your loved ones.