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CHICAGO – Ah, Thanksgiving!

It’s a time to give thanks while gathering with friends and family for the highly anticipated feast.

Many people will be spending more time with family members than they have all year long, while others dine with people they’ve never met before. This could cause a little tension with your turkey at the dinner table.

So here are a few things experts suggests you try not to do to make sure you don’t dampen the spirit of the holiday.

Don’t show up empty-handed: Even if the host says don’t worry about bringing anything, take a little something. It could be a small box of chocolates or even a family board game. Experts say the gesture shows your appreciation for being invited to dinner.

Don’t start difficult conversations: Experts advise you to try and avoid talking about politics or religious beliefs. That’s because it often leads to contentious and heated discussions, which will take away from the overall joy of the day. But if you should find yourself caught up in one of these conversations, simply change the topic or excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, whether you have to go or not.

Don’t get personal: Unless you’re asked, don’t give unsolicited advice on the following: Marriage, parenting/kids, your relationship status, career or job search, weight loss, etc. If you’re on the receiving end of these questions, then simply don’t answer or steer the conversation elsewhere.

Don’t gossip: Don’t gossip about family members who may or may not be at the dinner because, in most cases, you’ll be the one who looks bad, not them.

Don’t talk about money: Try to avoid talking about how much money a relative still owes you, how much your house or someone else’s car costs, or how your 401k or stock portfolio is doing. No one wants to hear that now; they just want to have a good time and eat.

Don’t talk about all of your kids’ accomplishments: It’s great to mention how your child is on the honor roll, won a scholarship, or scored the winning goal in hockey or soccer. But if you keep going on and on about it, you’re now bragging, experts say. Plus, you don’t know if the person you’re talking to has a child who is struggling.

Don’t criticize the cook: You may mean well, but don’t voice out loud how you would improve the recipe for a dish or insult the chef. Remember this is Thanksgiving, so be grateful the chef took the time to make all this food for you.

Don’t ask for leftovers: That’s right. Do. Not. Ask. For. Leftovers. If the host/hostess hasn’t offered to make you a take-home plate or doggie bag. You’re not getting one.