You know to say please and thank you and not bring up the hostess’ recent breakup. But if you really want to shine—and be invited back next year—take note of these simple rules from our friends at Real Simple.

Received a turkey-themed Evite? RSVP ASAP. If you need to mull it over for one or two days (max), set an alert on your phone to remind you.

  • If you bring something, make sure that it’s fully cooked, in a presentable dish, with the necessary serving tools.

  • Be a herder. When the host says, “Dinner’s ready,” and no one moves, say, “I think it’s time to go to the table,” and help scoot things along.

  • Put away your phone. Maybe others will follow your lead.

  • Talk to the stranger. If a cousin or a friend is sitting alone, do your host a solid and take over.

  • If you think that you’ve over-stayed your welcome (read: the host is dozing off on the couch), don’t apologize about hanging around. Your host will feel obligated to reply, “No, stay!” Just say “thank you” and leave.

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