Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Telling (crumby) guests what to do

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So recently DH and I had a few family members over for dinner. While it was finishing cooking, we put out some cheese, crackers, napkins, and plates in the living room. Our guests proceeded to eat the cheese and crackers while sitting on our couch... without using plates. I was sitting there watching crumbs fall on the floor, under the couch, in the cushions, and I didn't know what to say. It feels presumptuous to tell someone twice my age to use a plate to catch crumbs. At one point I said something along the lines of "don't worry about making more dishes or anything - that's what the dishwasher is for! Feel free to use a plate if you like." The response was something like, "Oh, I'm okay."

Is this expected behavior? Is it okay to get crumbs all over when you're at someone else's house? Or can I say something? And if so, what can I say that doesn't come across as condescending or rude, but makes it clear that I expect a plate to be used?

 If serving crackers I'd assume some crumbs were going to need to be dealt with afterwards. Maybe next time serve them on a plate putting a few crackers and some cheese and hand them the plate.  Maybe the other guests would follow suit.

These were family members so bring them plates and hold them under their food as a gesture to put the food on it (and you could say, as you hold it under the food, "Here for you food; it'll contain any crumbs that fall."  I could see someone handing me a plate like that, and I wouldn't think twice about it.  I don't always think to grab a plate.

I would just hand out plates and napkins to people. It's not always obvious when you grab a cracker if it an explody kind or not.

Just take a plate over and hand t to them witha cheerful, "Here you are!' I'd be hoping they'd take the hint.


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