Food & Drink

Why The Kids' Table Should Be Forever Banished From Thanksgiving Dinner

Children should be a part of the conversation. (And so should all the unmarried adults who are forced to sit with them.)
11/20/2018 05:45am ET
dodo4466 via Getty Images

The kids’ table is as much a part of Thanksgiving as all the other elements ― like the turkey, the pie, arguing about politics and eating leftovers while you argue about politics the next day.

It’s time to fly that kids’ table into the sun.

Some Thanksgiving traditions are perfect and should never be retired ― drinking bourbon and watching football come to mind ― but the kids’ table is not one of them.

As far as I can tell, the separate table exists to give adults a break from their annoying children. I know this because I was once an annoying child, albeit one who turned into a slightly less annoying adult. My parents rightfully needed a break from my opinions about Upper Deck baseball cards and hot takes on why ”Salute Your Shorts” was the funniest show ever created. “Did you not see that everyone put their boxers on the flagpole?”

But while having two tables is a good idea in theory, here are five reasons why the kids’ table should be abolished.

It’s better to pay attention to your kids than your phone.

The kids’ table sends kids to one end of the room so elder family members can talk among themselves while refreshing their Facebook feeds.

There’s research to show that parents would rather mess around on their phones than engage with their kids. How about we make Thanksgiving a day when everyone stuffs their phones in a drawer, shares a table with their extended family and actually looks at their kids while they speak? Besides, the only thing you’ll see on your phone is an Instagram feed full of other people’s Thanksgiving dinners, friend’s kids stuffing their faces and group shots of happy family moments before the screaming matches about income inequality. Parents can wait until Black Friday to look at the internet, as it will still exist then.

Kids should be leading the conversation at the table.

What do adults like to talk about? Their jobs. Their boring jobs and their boring stories about office politics, and, holy moly, isn’t there more to life than that? Kids are explorers. Everything is new to them. They’re voracious learners. I’d take hearing a kid talk about the dead slug he found outside to Uncle Greg’s problems with upper management 10 times out of 10.

Kids will make sure arguing doesn’t ruin the night.

Sure, adults could potentially enjoy a dinner with other adults and talk about things adults talk about, like the news and their finances. But does this sound like a good idea in 2018? There are 364 other days a year to talk about those important issues (including potentially ruining every other holiday!), but Thanksgiving does not have to be that day. It’s impossible to have a serious discussion about the opiate crisis when a kid is yelling about not getting enough gravy. And the night will be better for it.

The kids’ table makes things weird for unmarried people without kids.

I don’t have kids, so I’m technically still a kid in the eyes of some seating charts. Luckily, I have a family that welcomes me to sit with the adults, but I have a friend in her 30s who’s banished to sit with her nieces and nephews in what seems like some sort of bizarre punishment for not procreating or being married. Even more offensive: She’s the one who cooks the entire Thanksgiving dinner.

This is not unusual. If you don’t bring a guest to Thanksgiving dinner or have kids of your own, you often sit with the kids. This is Billy Madison-levels of weirdness, and it’s a practice that needs to stop. Besides, how the heck is someone in their 30s supposed to relate to someone that much younger? It’s not like they both go to camp. Moving on!

Death happens. Make the most of the moment.

Bet you didn’t think a fluff opinion piece about the kids’ table would swerve into a meditation on death, eh? But that’s exactly what we need to talk about, because it’s an unavoidable part of life. Every year you have Thanksgiving, you usually think next year will be the same, except for everyone will be a year older. Life sometimes has other plans, people.

Thanksgiving is a time when everyone young and old gathers around one single table and hangs out for a gloriously messy, loud, gluttonous feast. Let’s all sit together and appreciate this (and every!) year we get together as a family.