This Will NOT Be My Family Today

For your holiday viewing enjoyment, I now present Thanksgiving Dining Etiquette for Young Children: Dining Together (ca. 1951).

Let the fantasies begin.

I can’t help but wonder how they got that family to behave so nicely.

“At the first Thanksgiving, the Indians didn’t eat turkey with a fork, but it is easy to learn to use one the right way to take small mouthfuls.”

“It is good to learn to chew with lips closed, and when to take a drink.”


And what’s up with those Christmas sweaters?

This will not be the scene in my house today. Except maybe for the sweaters.

For the record, I already know “when to take a drink.”

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Elizabeth is a professional genealogist, writer, and consultant. Likes: long walks in the cemetery, and the smell of old courthouse books. Dislikes: people who copy stuff off the internet without giving credit, and county clerks who can't tell the difference between Eastern and Pacific time zones. Secretly hopes her daughter will one day develop an interest in family history (but no luck so far).

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  1. Loved this post! Happy Thansgiving from Our home to yours.

  2. I also loved this post.
    For the record:
    Those sweaters were the “in thing” for winter wear, rather than for Christmas.
    My sister and I learned to serve formal meals (in a semi-formal way) when my parents entertained 12 to 24 people at home.
    In the fifties, I began to teach my young children table manners (“take smaller bite,” “let me show you how to cut that,” “wait your turn for speaking,” and so on. But only 1 item at a time and as a practical item not a formal preachy one. I imagine you do this today.
    My sister and I and later our children, and then our grandchildren ALL loved to help set the table.

  3. Thanks for explaining all that, @Sue! Even when I was a kid, my family was never so formal about any holiday meals. I am trying to teach my daughter some manners though, but at this point, I’m just glad when she eats anything at all so I try not to criticize!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you both!

  4. My husband says I would do well to learn how to eat soup without making noise too. Heh.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Our kids would be surprised by how it was at the table at our house! Very similar, skim milk was the ONLY beverage served to us at meals, napkin in your lap, table was set every night, we had to ask to be excused… our mother stressed table manners. But I don’t think my brother ever pulled the chair for my mother – ha! This video sounds so cheesey… and everyone is HAPPY and it’s so emphasized that it makes us GLAD to do these things! Funny! Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a hoot. The narrator with the Mr. Rogers voice drove me crazy though. I remember teaching my daughter all this,including table setting, napkin folding, flower arranging, etc. and now she is an event planner!


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