Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thanksgiving Tables

I'm going to host my in laws again this Thanksgiving and I have a question for ya'll I need feeback on so please comment!
We have a very large family. My husband has three brothers and a sister and they have 14 children. This Thanksgiving we total 28 -12 adults and 16 children attending. In years past the children were smaller and either didn't have a seated place or I set up small tables and chairs. Now many are in high school and our youngest neice is two. Do I do three tables of ten or a table of 12 for the adults and send all the kids down to our family room? Is a sit down meal really practical for almost 30 people? I will buffet set the food in our dining room either way as serving would be a nightmare.


  1. Wow!! Can I just say you are a very brave lady! ;0) How about the buffet table for food, and then everyone just finds a seat somewhere to eat. No tables at all. I know a nice "sit down" meal is the traditional way to do Thanksgiving, but to set up 3 tables of 10 would be a HUGE undertaking in itself. If there are elderly people they could be given a TV tray to eat their meal. I hope you have lots of help with food prep and cleanup!! :0)

  2. My mom host our entire family, over 25 people each year. She sets the main table for the older adults and grandparents. Everyone else finds seating on the couches in the adjoining living room and den. Everyone can hear each other and is close so that we having the feeling of being together. Food is served buffet style. Hope this helps.

  3. I love the idea of a sit down dinner for Thanksgiving. Wow, that is a lot of people. Setting all the food up buffet style is perfect. If you have enough room to set up a table for the children and some of them are old enough to help feed and take care of the younger ones, then I would do that and then have a table for the adults. One other idea is to feed the children first and then send them all to the family room, and then feed the adults. I guess you know how well everyone acts together and inter-acts with each other. You could also fix 3 big table if you can do that and then let everyone sit where they want. That way parents could be responsible for their own small children. I think if I had the room this is what I would do. I hope you have a super day and God Bless on your decision. Hugs, Marty

  4. Very nice to meet you. You do have a rather large family. It makes it difficult because Thanksgiving is usually about being together.
    Buffet style is the key for large parties.
    I would feed the younger children first.
    Set up the adults at a table for 12 and then set up the teenagers at another table. They usually want to feel grown-up. Good luck on your decision. I am sure either way, everyone will be happy to be together.

  5. We haven't had little ones in a long time in our family, so I'd definitely encourage the parents of the little ones to take care of them. Setting 2 other tables would be nice, but sometimes the teenagers just like to find their own spot, often in front of the tv. I think the adults enjoy a sit down with each other. It's lots of work, but so rewarding to have the whole family. make sure you get lots of help!! thanks so much for coming to visit! xo Debra

  6. Wow! You do have a large family! I like the idea of sitting down, but I know that would be hard with such a large group. Perhaps you could set up tables, but not assign places. That way they can choose where to sit and help the little ones eat if necessary. We used to have a child size table pulled up beside the grown-up table so we could keep an eye on the little guys. Let us know what you decide! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

  7. My two sisters and I alternate years. When everyone is here I have 28-30. I always do set down with 3-4 tables and the parents of the youngsters have always freely sat with and taken care of their children. Everyone else is free to sit wherever they want. Usually the teenagers will move to the family room where there is a table with chairs. We always do buffet style, but all my tables have linens, centerpieces and no paper goods.

  8. Well, I hope your guests will help you out with the food - that's a bunch of folks! :) How nice of you to host the dinner. I do think the buffet style is the easiest way to serve food to a big bunch. I agree with the others if you can, feel the little ones first and then they can play while the others eat. Maybe you could set up extra tables for the teens.
    Thanks so much for popping in to see me.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  9. We have a big family too. Thank goodness big families are pretty flexible! I always set up tables for everyone if possible. Even in the living room. Adults do better there. I think it's safer to have young ones sitting at the table. Less mess. It's ALWAYS buffet with a crowd that big unless you live in a mansion.

  10. You are going to have a house full! I can imagine this will take tons of prep and a very very organized kitchen! Please tell me that everyone is pitching in and bringing the food?
    You are so smart to have a buffet. When the numbers get this big a buffet with sturdy plastic ware and heavy paper plates are called for. You can fancy that up with pretty fall paper napkins and some pretty bowls of pumpkins for centerpieces!

    I would set 2 tables. I think the teens could have there own table. They will LOVE that!

    And parents should be responsible for their younger children. Nothing makes my blood boil more than having parents abdicate the parental responsibility at a big family gathering while their little ones run amuck and get tired and cranky. Maybe recruit (pay them or give them a little gift) a couple of responsible and sweet teenagers to get the little ones after they eat to play games etc so the parents can have a little free time. But make sure these teens take the little ones back to their parents at the end of this free time.

    One last thing if you don't mind... I served 22 one thanksgiving and thank goodness so many people wanted to help clean up. I bought 10 dish pans from the dollar store, and lots of dish towels. I wrote EVERY clean up chore on a 3x5 card I could think of and passed them out. For example: pick up all silverware and put in a dish pan (these dish pans then were filled with warm sudsy water and they went on a long table set up in my laundry room until they were ready to be washed).
    Example: 1/2 hour of dishwashing Example: 1/2 hour of drying Example vacuum floor. We were cleaned up in no time! It was wonderful. We put on Christmas music and danced through clean-up.
    Sorry this is so long, but I really feel your angst!
    I hope you can enjoy your Thanksgiving!

  11. My in laws have hosted that many people (and now more) ever since their children married. She sets up the dining room for 10, then at the kitchen she sets for 8. Card tables are set up for the rest in the family (which is adjacent to the kitchen). I really don't like for the children to eat first, as we lose the meaning of family times. For these family occasions, the Mom's or Dad's usually sit with their children while they eat. I've found that as the children get older, and into the teen years, they like to be part of the adult tables and not thought of as little children. But really in the end, you need to do what works best for you :-)

    Jocelyn @

  12. How ever you do it, set up tables. I am not a fan of sitting wherever, like the couch!
    We have that many every year. I don't host, used to, the younger members of the family have taken over.
    No plastic or paper plates. Two sisters pitch in and mix and match the china, and silverware. Three tables of ten if you can swing it would be great, then you can do each table differently, but in co ordinated colors.
    I wish you lived near, I could lend you everything you need!
    Good luck with everything. Can't wait to see what you do, take pictures!

  13. I understand totally as Terry and I have a large crowd for Thanksgiving as well. We just let everyone fix their plate and sit wherever they want. I usually have 3 tables set up with chairs, but some like to sit in the living room, some out on the patio (yes, here in Louisiana it is warm enough to do that, lol), some sit at the island, well you get the idea. Just enjoy being together. It will work itself out Ÿ

  14. Hi lovely lady.
    I do a Buffet style in my kitchen and have two Table to eat it. this works for us.
    I would set up small tables for your 16 younger members this would work for you. We can eat on the patio because we are in Texas and we don't get the cold weather like you do.
    I would like to thank you for your sweet comments on my new tablescape.
    XXOO Diane