Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and you know what that means. You (if you’re “lucky” enough to be hosting the event) will have to worry about the politics of the table. This is more important than any seating plan ever, including your wedding, because let’s face it. At your wedding it didn’t matter at the end of the day if your college roommates sat next to your great uncle, but have the wrong people sit next to each other at Thanksgiving can ruin the holiday season. Let’s meet the players.
YOU, The Host: Your job is to plan, cook, keep the wine glasses full, socialize, stop fights, keep the peace, and clean up. You are basically a superhero at this event. There is exactly nothing that is too good for you during this event, and YOU sit at the head of the table. That’s right. I don’t care if Great Grandpa is the patriarch of the family and 93 years old. This is your rodeo, and you, my friend, sit at the top. Anyway, the head of the table is the closest to the kitchen, and the kitchen contains wine. Take your seat at your throne.
YOUR SPOUSE, The Tag Team Partner: Now things can get complicated with this person right off the bat. You have spent the day pushing them out of the kitchen, growling “No. Get out of my way. Let me do it. I SAID LET ME DO IT.” The Spouse means well, but is usually not helpful at all. This person goes on the other end of the table. This is both because they should be overseeing the table now that you are too tired to think, and also far enough away that you might not kill them by the end of the meal.
ELDERLY RELATIVES: The Wild Cards: Now this can go many ways. You might get lucky and have Grandma or your aunties help you with the meal, be actually helpful in their “helpfulness” and dissipate a lot of the stress of cooking. They also could be doing nothing but criticizing what you are doing and passively let you know that when THEY are doing the holiday, there’s nothing out of place. Depending on their levels of helpfulness, they should be either seated close to you (YAY!) or put at the other end of the table with the spouse because you’re sick to death of the criticism. Your call entirely.
THE COUSINS: Welcome To “Meet The Press”: The cousins will be fighting. Probably about politics. To prevent screaming matches and threats of disowning the family, scatter the cousins around the table. Do not put them too close to each other in case the fighting escalates to the point of stabbing each other with forks. Cousin fights are the worst fights, and if they’re screaming about their issues with Congress as you’re passing the gravy, the whole night could be ruined. Spread them out.
THE KIDS: The Buffers: You might think that a kids table might be the best option, and it very well could be. It also could be the instigator of a gigantic mess. My suggestion is to use the kids as buffers between guests that don’t get along. The cuter the kid, the easier it is to shove them between cousins fighting about politics and criticizing grannies. Kids are awesome that way, and they’re attention grabbers, so you’ll be able to eat without screaming at full grown adults who should know better.
So there you have it. A map for your Thanksgiving. May the odds ever be in your favor.