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20-40-60 etiquette answers your holiday questions

20-40-60 etiquette offers some perspective on various questions related to Thanksgiving etiquette, including “Who should sit at the kids' table?” and “What if I don't like turkey?”
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Callie Athey Modified: November 18, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: November 18, 2013

Editor's note: This is part of 20-40-60 etiquette's series this month featuring questions related to Thanksgiving and holiday family events. Go online to for more information and to submit your own question.

Q: I do not like Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey and so the family hosts fix another meat, usually ham, for me. I always feel bad that I disclosed my dislike for the traditional bird, but I sure didn't expect everyone to cater to that taste. Should I tell them there is plenty of other foods I could eat and they don't have to cook a whole ham or a tenderloin?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: Why bring up that you don't like the turkey in the first place? If you don't like it I am sure there are PLENTY of other options. It is very nice of them to cook another meat for you. They must enjoy your company! I would suggest this year you bring your own meat.

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: What a nice family you have! I understand your angst over mentioning that to family members in the first place, especially since they altered their Thanksgiving menu because of it. I don't see any problem with trying to backpedal and tell them not to worry about your tastes because there are so many other dishes that you DO like. They may or may not agree — it sounds like both you and your family members want to make everyone happy, which is the perfect way to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day meal, whether you're having turkey or turkey and ham.

HELEN'S ANSWER: Please don't feel bad that you don't like turkey. That is your personal preference. Most of your family members know that fact about you and will lovingly try to fix you something you might like. Accept that gesture from family members, and if different meat is not available, then load up on vegetables and dessert. Or you could offer to bring your own meat. There may be others who prefer ham or beef too.

GUEST'S ANSWER: Richard Rosser, author of “Piggy Nation”: In this day and age of vegans, pescatarians and gluten-free, most cooks are happy to accommodate special dietary needs. However, given that you just don't like turkey, I suggest one of three options: 1) Suck it up and eat everything except the turkey. 2) Bring an alternate meat dish from home and heat it in the microwave. 3) Offer to host Thanksgiving dinner yourself and fix whatever you want. If you choose option 1 or 2, consider bringing dessert or a bottle of wine for your gracious host!

Q: How do you determine who sits at the kids' table? At what age should one be considered of age to sit with the grown-ups?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: Go with the flow or roll with the punches, as my mom says. Having a party at your house is stressful, but you have to let it go at some point. Set up the right amount of tables/chairs for everyone to fit and decide as a group if you prefer to have a kids' table. No need to set an age for who is or isn't at the kids' table. In the end, it's about being together. It should all work out.

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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by Callie Athey
Freelance Writer
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a...
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