#606 The Kids Table

The Kids Table is where all the kids eat dinner at holiday family gatherings.

It’s generally a rickety card table from the basement pushed beside a yellow plastic one from the playroom that ends up turning Grandma’s hallway into an eat-in kitchen. Sometimes it’s two different heights, sometimes the chairs are broken, and usually the whole thing is covered in a plastic Christmas tablecloth freshly ripped from the dollar store cellophane.

No matter what though, The Kids Table a great place to find burps, laughs, and juice spills at a holiday meal. Everyone’s enjoying a warm evening with cousins decked out in their finest cableknit sweaters, rosy red cheeks, and massive bedhead.

Yes, The Kids Table is great for many reasons.

First off, no parents, no problems. Nope, they’re all baking pies, playing ping-pong, or sipping eggnog by the fireplace. The parenting theory here is that the kids sort of form a group safety net who will likely come screaming if somebody gets hurt, so no need for a pesky watchful eye. So with all adults distracted, rules fly out the window and suddenly elbows lean up on tables, chewed-up brussel sprouts get hidden in napkins, and somebody starts eating mashed potatoes with their bare hands.

And no matter what how old everybody is the rule at The Kids Table is that you must act like you’re seven. Teenagers who think they’re too old for the table quickly start blowing bubbles in their milk, pouring salt in people’s drinks, and giggling like mad. Then someone pops a loud fart and everyone laughs for ten straight minutes.

Lastly, let’s not forget that The Kids Table eats first and sometimes features special items like lasagna with no onions, random chopped-up hot-dogs, or real Coke.

People, a lot of good times and great moments happen at The Kids Table. Little ones learn from older siblings and cousins. Childhood bonds and friendships are formed over toys, tears, and gravy spills. And for kids, it’s good practice for eating with high-school pals at the local greasy spoon when someone gets their driver’s license or scarfing a hungover breakfast with college roommates at the dining hall.

So thank you, The Kids Table.

For all you do.


Photos from: here, here, and here

63 thoughts on “#606 The Kids Table

  1. The kids tables at my family reunions are always made up mostly of teens to early 20’s, and are way more fun then those boring adult tables. We still all get extra whipped cream on our pie. So awesome! =D

  2. At 21 I’m still part of the kids table at our Christmas dinner because I’m still the youngest one there. AWESOME! Although, one of my cousins has a toddler now, so perhaps she will be joining us in the glory that is the kids table.

      1. I am also 21 and also still at the kids table with my 18 year old cousin and my 16 year old twin cousins. That card table has been our table for years!

        1. I’m 16 and the youngest at the kids table. My brother and my cousins are either in or finished college. In fact one of my cousins is now married and his wife has joined us at the kids table! It’s now more the young adult than kids table, but it’s still the one we grew up eating at.

  3. grr.. i’ve always hated the kids table. considering i’m the oldest “kid” in my family and got stuck with a bunch of babies. no one in my family was in the same age range as me, so it was friggin’ unbearable.

  4. I remember being a teenager and demanding to be seated with the adults after my drink ended up full of corn and the conversation consisted of everyone’s favorite TMNT. Now however, the kid’s table (ages 16-30) is the place to be!! Much cooler than sitting with the “adults”.

    1. And we’ve graduated from the rickety kitchen table to a poker table… there were too many kids to fit around the ol’ glass table that wasn’t actually secured to anything. Who decided it was a good idea for a table full of kids to eat from a round glass piece hovering on a metal leg??

  5. F#$% the kids’ table. Definitely a not-awesome thing when you’re a kid. As an adult, it’s not too great to have to look at it either. Permeate the kids throughout so that they don’t have an obnoxious cluster all to themselves.

  6. Oy, I will be there on friday…
    Funny thing is, being 8 years younger than the next of the grandkids, I always had to sit with the ‘rents at the main table, away from the teens. I always WANTED to sit with my cousins at the kids table.
    Now I get to sit there with their kids… just can’t win.

  7. I love how alliances are formed and broken with such ease at the kids table. One moment you are boys against girls, the next bigs against littles. Almost as quickly as the game changes, your friends become enemies and you form friendships where they never were before. Long lost cousins and the friends of your dads’ colleagues are suddenly all you need in life and you will be friends forever…so wonderfully refreshing.

  8. This article made me smile. I was always at the kids table with my nine other cousins. We always have huge family reunion/holiday dinners and no matter how old we get, I think we’ll always be at the kids table, but it truly is an AWESOME place. So many memories were made at that picnic table on our grandparents’ back porch! :)

  9. When we were much younger, our kid’s table was a child-sized picnic table that sat smack-dab in the middle of the kitchen. I have no idea how we managed to fit 8 kids around it, but it was pretty awesome!

  10. I’m a teenager, and I’ve been debating for a few hours if I should sit at the kids table with my sister and cousin tonight… decision made. :) AWESOME!

  11. Even when we had fancy parties, our families reserved a kid’s table. One year at a fancy New Years Party, my oldest cousin at the table popped a firecracker, then went outside and told us how to reuse it. Oh, memories! :D

  12. I am loving the write-up for this one! It’s EXACTLY how the kids’ table works in our family at every big gathering: birthdays, family reunions, and of course Christmas. I never want to go to the grown-ups table!

  13. The kids table! Ahh the memories. I was the youngest in our fam, but when we joined up with the other fams I was the third youngest! It was my time to shine and impart all of my worldly wisdom onto my cousins. Plus, I was a notoriously picky eater, and no one would watch me shove the green bean casserole and dry turkey into the trash! Kids table=awesome!

      1. Although it wasn’t necessarily food she didn’t like, when my eldest daughter was between 2 and 3, she used to save at least a bite of food~ then she’d walk over, tip the plate and say, “Here you go Oscar,” CERTAIN, we had Oscar the Grouch living in our trash can:D

  14. I have some awesome pictures of the kid table from back in that day, that small plastic yellow and blue kid sized picnic table we’d all squeeze around with my cousins and I slouching under the table or food all over our faces, but always HUGE smiles! My cousins and I still get our own table at my house. I look forward to it at dinner tomorrow :D SO AWESOME!!

  15. I always wanted to sit at the adult table. Any excuse to get over there and I used it. But the one time I actually made my way there I didn’t last a course. The adult table was so so boring. I just thought it was a secret treasure of secrets be all it really was was so so boring. (so so boring). Cheers to the kids table and never wanting to graduate. Happy festivities!

  16. I’m the oldest in my family and there are 7 other kids with me at the Kids Table at our meals. Sometimes we split and have a Big Kids Table and a Little Kids table seeing as the age difference ranges from 16 to 6. Either way, the Kids Table was always loud and obnoxious, but I wouldn’t want to sit anywhere else.

  17. At my kids table we range from 4 to 21. We older cousins teach the little cousins our ways, as we have spent many a holiday dinner at the kids table farting, eating without hands, and putting way too much sugar on our lefsa. Skol Kids Table!

    1. For some reason, the grown-ups always put the lefse on or near the kids table. Granted, we’re age 19-27 now, but we still all eat the lefse first.

  18. not so fun when you’re much older than the rest of the kids, and would rather be with the adults :( but still, a good tradition.

  19. When I was little there were so many kids in my family there wasn’t enough room for all of us at the kids table. So, the three youngest would eat on the oven door. My grandma would pull the door down and say ” well how nice, its just your size!” We would sit on the floor and eat. It was the greatest thing ever.

  20. Our kids table is now 11-24 yr olds, still the best.
    I remember we had a garden party and we had a folded picnic table for the kids table, as we were all getting a little too big it collapsed.. we still use it :D

  21. and the realization that the only way anyone ever gets promoted to the adult table is when a family member dies

  22. Our ‘kid’s table’ at Christmas had my 3 grown step children, one new son-in-law, and their 88 year old grandfather sharing stories.

  23. Now that we’re all grown up, our Christmas kid’s table has turned into a single’s table. Let the marrieds have their own fun!

  24. Some of my best memories of family gatherings and my cousins were at the kids table!! Some of us have never graduated to the grown up table yet, and we all have our favorite moments to relive! Milk out the nose will never die!!
    I don’t get to see those cousins all that often…but this is my best memory!

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  26. Wotcher!

    Never ever happened in my family. I have this HUGE family, really huge. I don’t know why, but we’ve never really had one of these. There are probably around six of us cousins that attend the big family gatherings. Two of them are really too young to be with the rest of us, but sadly, they cling onto all of us anyways X|. The rest of us are considered very mature and fit right in with the rest of the family without having to be babied like the rest. We all get along with our various aunts and uncles.
    But no, there are two tables, but they’re in the same room so we scatter out (the little ones whining as their parents sit next to them to feed them). Ugh. What a nasty concepts a “kids table” is for mature pre-teens who want to be treated as equals to the adults.

  27. Ohhh my god, we always had the kids table. For some crazy reason i thought that was just our family! Well we used to have a kids table when our ages ranged from 3-10 – 9-16, but now that my brother (the youngest) is almost 12 everyone just sits at the adult table (although the kids generally sit at one end and have their own conversations). Kids tables rule.

  28. My son and his cousins have been at the ‘kids’ table for almost 30 years now. For a long time they couldn’t wait to graduate and be at the adults table. In the past few years however, they have realized how good they have it, and now none of them wants to join us.

    I guess it really is awesome.

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  30. All of us who were kids at the kids’ table are grown up now, but we still sit at the same table at Thanksgiving.

  31. awesome!
    I’m 22 years old and STILL sit at the kids table …. It’s the best place to be – no one talks about stocks, grocery store sales or problems with ‘today’s society.’ We giggle, snort, spill food and generally have a great time!

  32. I hate hate hate the kids table cuz even when your at that stage where u are way more mature than everybody else at the table (around 10-12) grandmas and parents make u sit there

  33. In our church, we somehow have a kids table, but it’s called the “Youth Table.” Every youth sits at one table and talk, even the new kids join us. It’s really fun! :)

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