Is This too many people for T'Giving Dinner?

pdg777October 24, 2008

Long-time lurker, first time poster on this particular forum.

I would like to hear your opinions on having two separate tables (one in dining room, one in living room, which are separated by the kitchen, not an open floor plan) at Thanksgiving Dinner. Do you think that's awkward? Or do you think just being together as a family trumps any awkwardness that might result? Do you think those delegated to the living room would feel slighted? Everyone is over 21 here, so I can't disguise it as being the "children's table". LOL! Or would you just keep it to the number of people the dining room table can hold?

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It's never too many for a get together....
I have done 2 tables many times...sometimes a kid table in the loving room that is connedted to the diningroom and sometimes in the family room.
Just be sure you divide the group fairly evenly and don't have 12 in the dining room and 4 in the living room....and make sure both tables are beautifully decorated, so it's not like putting the 4 youngest kids at a card table with a wipe off table cloth sippy cups and plastic plates! LOL!
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 10:34AM
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The more the merrier... I think it's fine but I wouldn't delegate anyone to sit at a specific table. Let people decide where to sit themselves.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 3:37PM
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I agree that you need to make the two tables equal. That includes both the number sitting at each and the table setting -- they don't have to be identical but they need to be on par with each other.

As for who sits where, well this is the only thing I can see that might cause a problem. What if everyone seats themselves and one person who is part of a particular group can't at the same table with the rest of that group, for example? That person has to go to sit at the other table which might make them uncomfortable. Or else they might just decide to pull up an extra chair making that table over crowded and leaving a hole in the other table.

You know your guests and might be able to predict if this sort of thing could happen. IME people tend to stick with those they know and they don't want to mix necessarily. But I think mixing is what makes a party fun.

SO.... if it were me..... I'd probably assign seats. I'd purposely mix the groups up so that people aren't seated next to and at the same table with the one(s) they came with. If there are multiple hosts, you and your spouse for example, make sure each of you sits at a different table. Make sure each table has at least one person who likes to pop up and help, or assign someone at each table to be your helper so that you don't find yourself running back & forth between the rooms instead of enjoying the dinner with your guests.

If you're going to have drinks/appetizers before the meal, this gives everyone a chance to hang out with their respective group, so that when they are split out at the tables, they should feel ok about it. If you do a good job of mixing everyone at both tables no one should feel as if they got stuck at the #2 table so to speak.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 5:17PM
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Our family has gotten large and we almost always have 2 (sometimes 3) tables. We are in a position presently where there are 6 - 8 little ones so that makes an easy child table. I prefer letting people sit where they choose but we are all family so it works.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 10:25AM
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I'd assign seats. We're family, too, but even with one table I had people who seated themselves, and it was chaos and not a good situation for most people. I carefully plan who sits where. For holiday dinners, I try to put families together, so that husbands and wives are not apart. I also put their kids (they're all little) with them. I have to accommodate: left-handers, people too heavy for my DR chairs, wine drinkers, non-wine drinkers, and so forth. Last year, I decorated gingerbread boys with everyone's name. Instead of having 2 tables for 8 each, which I was contemplating this year for Christmas, I am going for a T-shape, putting a folding table at a right angle to the main table. I will put on pads and tablecloths to disguise who is sitting at the mahogany table and who is at the formica one. MY DR is large enough for this, and everyone will be at the same table (sort of!) I saw this in the newspaper last year, and the table(s) looked very festive.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 10:41AM
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Lot of us so usually dining room, LR & patio (We're in CA.) should weather be bad extra tables in family room. 24-30 of us & sometimes some Pepperdine students. Everybody goes through the buffet line (we all bring dishes) & seats themselves. None of us drink so that isn't problem. ice tea, sodas, water, coffee & Martinelli's does it for drinks. Appetizers are ready when we get there relative brings the rolls ready for baking- homemade & when they are done we eat. There as never been any problems, of course we all like each other!! SinL uses cloth tablecloths & high quality large paper plates.We all prefer to sit around & talk after dinner than do cleanup,3-4 of us do silverware up & baking dishes etc. If your dish is used up it goes home clean! Good Luck! Jan

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 12:21PM
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I'm surprised so many have suggested assigned seating. I find often family members are fighting or sick of each other and prefer to sit with others. Sometimes the funnest occasions are spent with my sister in law's, brother in law (who, generally I would have never chosen to sit with). Plus, you still may run into the same problems of someone being left out only this time you will personally be blamed for it. You really don't know who wants to sit with who. My husband and I often prefer to divide up. While other couples prefer to be seating right next to each other. My husband even likes to sit at the kids table (while that would be my last choice!). I still say, let people fight it out for themselves. Little Johnnie may want to sit by grandma or Uncle Jimmy instead of his mom, and his mom may prefer that to.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 2:29PM
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Thanks for all your opinions! so its unanimous that its "the more the merrier". I had honestly not even considered letting people choose their own seats! Maybe I'll do name place setting but let evryone select their seats as they arrive - a subtle way of doing "first come first served" LOL! thanks agaain for everyone's input.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 3:33PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I set up several tables and have all the food on a buffet. I usually have anywhere from 15-30.
Because each table is decorated with different linens and china patterns, I just tell everyone to get their plate from wherever they are going to sit and take it to the buffet.
Same with water glasses.
It works well.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 8:27PM
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We have observed that an effective way to seat family is to put alternate generations together. Grandparents and grandchildren love to sit together, and the middle generation likes to get a break!

I don't think I would assign seats, although I might assign tables. It just depends on your family's dynamic.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 10:58PM
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We do T-day every year at our house for 15-30 people. I wouldn't consider assigned seating. I like the first come first served method. Another problem is we rarely have an exact count, somebody may bring an extra friend or have a last minute conflict. We have 3 tables going and serve buffet style. I bought service for 30 of a basic Corelle pattern ($4-5 per setting) several years ago and it works out great. I also bought silverware for 30+. The biggest problem tends to be having counter/buffet space for everything. It works best to have several defined areas, salad bar, main buffet, dessert bar, drink area, so people don't feel compelled to try to carry every thing in one pass through the line.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 3:03PM
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I agree with the others who said don't assign seats to anyone. Just let people sit where they may. Thats what I do at all my dinners with family and even when there are friends included. Its not a big deal to anyone we all love each other and have a great time.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 9:54AM
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pdg777, that's a GREAT idea to have nametags and let people place them wherever they choose when they arrive!

My parents almost always have way too many people to fit at one table, and then the overflow goes to the kitchen table, some individual "TV" tables in the LR, and either of the generally 3-season porches -- where they light pelletstoves for temperature comfort. It's family and close friends, so it works fine for us. There is never assigned seating, but when it comes time to eat there is the general chaos of who chose what seat (because they set their glass down. lol!). They always have at least two serving dishes of everything: one at the main DR table, and one either in the kitchen or at a buffet in the DR. It allows everyone to have a chance to get to everything. Nametags that are chosen and placed at preferred seating beforehand would be fun. :)

One year my father tried to make one LOOOONNNG table by adjoining several tables from the dining room, through the wide entryway, and across the living room. That didn't work because it stopped the flow between the rooms -- so I wouldn't try that again. lol!

One other wild alternative that I've read of others using is to have everyone draw straws for which table they get. They claimed that worked great because it was TOTALLY random and nobody could feel slighted for any reason.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 12:50PM
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When I use to have 20, 30 or 40 people over for Thanksgiving I never assigned seats. I set two tables and they could sit where they wanted and with who. Some people like to sit on the sofa. I prefer eating at the table. These were all family and friends. Always set a buffet and let them decide.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 9:52PM
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