The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

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Tip of the Week: Activities for the “Kids Table”


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Thanksgiving is probably the most memorable (and biggest) family meal most of us have!  Thanksgiving lunch and dinner at grandmothers’ houses every year has to be one of my favorite holiday family memories. Each year, my grandma Betty would host lunch at her house. All five of her children and their families would attend. We always laughed at seeing “the pink stuff”, a pink dessert my grandma prepared every holiday that no one would eat.

After lunch, we would go to my grandma Sally’s house to gather with my dad’s side of the family, his three brothers and sister and their families, to eat dinner. Grandma Sally’s house was a bit formal and all the grandkids had to sit at “the kids table” in the small hot kitchen. If you are like my grandma Sally and like to host formal parties where children are present, the following tips might make everyone’s visit more enjoyable.

I suggest using parchment paper as the table covering at the kids table (if you have a special setting for them). This will allow the children to have an activity to do during the feast. They can use white chalk so you won’t have to worry about little ones drawing on the walls. You can have a goody bag filled with rubber stamps and ink pads for the older children to enjoy. You can also use free printouts for place settings if you do not want to use parchment paper as a tablecloth.

My family always likes to share what we are thankful for during dinner. Other friends have shared these traditions:
– A co-worker of mine said that each person in his family writes down what they are thankful for and they place it in a jar. At the end of the meal they each pull out a piece of paper and try to guess who wrote it.
– Our menu never changes – I cook exactly what was served at my childhood Thanksgivings. My children love knowing that the menu will always be the same – down to the candied sweet potatoes that no one eats!
– My mom always makes pumpkin pie. One very memorable year, she left the sugar out of the pie. To this day, it is mentioned every Thanksgiving (and probably Christmas, too!)

Jodie Godfrey

Marketing & Development Associate

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