Being a dinner guest is an easier gig than being a dinner host, but the best guests always contribute in some fashion. Bringing a side dish the most classic move (bringing a bottle of wine is a close second), but there are lots of practical, non-edible things you can bring if you find yourself invited to a feast where the food is already taken care of.
My stepmom and I have had many conversations about holiday dinners, and all of them have been, at least in part, about serving spoons. We are, as a pair, ever-concerned about a lack of serving spoons, as there never seem to be enough. If you are bringing a dish to a holiday dinner, make sure to bring serving spoons to go with it; if you aren’t bringing a dish, bring servings spoons anyway. Someone else is definitely going to forget them.
Towels (of the dish and paper persuasions)
Pretty dish towels make a lovely host gift, but they’re also incredibly practical. Whether you’re mopping up messes as they happen or drying the just-rinsed wine glasses, these small towels get a lot of use on Turkey Day, and it never hurts to have extras. Paper towels are similarly helpful; yes, they are more wasteful, but some messes — like turkey fat spills, for example — are too greasy and gross for proper dish towels. (Can you imagine if someone showed up to your home with a roll of paper towels and a pretty dish towel? I would kiss them on the mouth!)
Takeout containers, freezer bags, and plastic wrap
Leftovers are almost as important as the meal, but I doubt your host wants to send everyone home with their best Tupperware. Bringing along reusable soup containers, takeout boxes, Ziplock bags, and/or plastic wrap will help facilitate leftover distribution and storage without dipping into your host’s already strained supply.
There’s gonna be a lot of butts around the dinner table and, most likely, in your host’s bathroom. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that more butts means more toilet paper, but bringing extra TP for your host is nevertheless a genius move. Even if the host has plenty, they will appreciate not having to restock immediately after their guests go home. Much like the food itself, everyone is happiest when there is an abundance of toilet paper.