You may know this holiday scenario all too well: a family member says something someone else thinks is kinda grimy. Words are exchanged. And just like that, grandma’s peach cobbler is flying across the dinner table. Why holiday gatherings bring out the sweet in some and the savage in others, we’ll never know. Here are 10 ways to err on the side of caution so your manners are in check during the festive season.

DON’T be tardy for the party
Arriving on CP time makes it seem like you don’t care, especially if your host has gone the extra mile to prepare the food.

DO avoid the drama
Inviting a divorced or separated couple is never a good idea unless they tell you they’re fine with it. And in most cases despite your efforts the holidays don’t change how people feel about each other. So if you must see them consider inviting either one.

DON’T party till the sun comes up
If your host has whipped out a pair of sweatpants and popped in a DVD of Sex and the City, take the hint. It’s time to take the party somewhere else.

DO ask if a plus-one is allowed
Some holiday parties are not child-friendly so ask before attending. Also avoid bringing uninvited guests to a party or dinner without speaking to the hostess.

DON’T be the resident gobbler in chief
Showing up to a holiday dinner with a big ole’ Tupperware tub is not a good look. If anything, wait for your host to offer takeaway. Also wait for everyone to eat before going for seconds…and thirds (don’t we all?).

DO smile, even if the gift sucks.
Could you really use yet another pair of gloves? Probably not. Still it’s the thought that counts. Be gracious and say thank you, and avoid asking for a gift receipt too soon.

DON’T sweat the small stuff
Expect there’s a chance Uncle Bill might comment about your weight again? Let it go. This is not the time to get upset or start a fight. You’re happy, you’re with your family; that’s the most important part.

DO bring your host a gift.
A little gift to say thank you is always a nice gesture. A bouquet of flowers. A glass of wine. Also consider cooking a special dish.

DON’T drink your own supply
Drinking while you’re preparing the meal may cloud your judgment, and we all know the results can be disastrous. If you must, sip lightly.

DO ask your guests about their dietary needs
They could have food allergies, or perhaps they’re vegetarian. Do you your best to accommodate your guests, but if you can’t ask them to bring their own dish.

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