I get it. The holidays are all about togetherness and spending quality time with loved ones. But sometimes, kids (and even grown-ups) need a break from being friendly. Many of us just aren’t built for 4-6 hours of nonstop “bonding.” But during the holidays, we’re *expected* to do it.
So, what do you do when you need a moment to recalibrate after Uncle Larry starts dog-whistling (who keeps inviting him?!), or your cousin-in-law wants to ask, yet again, when you’ll have another baby? Take a cue from TikToker Michelle with Moonlight Makes, who has a simple but genius holiday dinner hack: the humble holiday craft table.
“I don’t think enough people know that if you have a craft table at your Thanksgiving dinner off to the side, the adults have just as much fun crafting as the kids,” says Michelle, our modern-day peacemaker-turned-host.
And, what’s really cool is that people who struggle with Thanksgiving, they struggle with the talking and the family aspect, will often find themselves much more comfortable at these events if there is something to do, something to keep their hands busy.
A football game might distract some, but it’s not the answer for everyone. (Though, you can take a cue from the NFL draft when dividing up Thanksgiving chores.) Plus, there are those pesky commercials and the halftime commentary you don’t want to talk over. And while you’d like to help with food prep, some superhosts — lookin’ at you, Mom — prefer their guests stay out of the kitchen.
So, why not move to the craft table, which is hopefully stocked with coloring pages of talkative turkeys and lovely fall leaves?
A good holiday craft table is like Switzerland: Neutral. It’s a place to hyper-fixate on how much glue you’re using instead of dealing with awkward family history. The only conversations that should happen at the craft table on Thanksgiving? Talking about favorite colors or complimenting turkey feather placement.
Sure, it’s a little more work for a hostess intent on doing it all. But, it’s also something you could put an eager guest in charge of or straw boss the sulking teens through organizing instead of just glowering in the corner.
Ultimately, you get the perfect escape for guests who’ve already mapped out their early escape. (This might still happen, but a well-stocked craft table could delay the inevitable by 15 minutes to an hour.)
The comment section backs this idea up and is full of other golden ideas and tidbits.
“We set up a Christmas puzzle for this reason,” commented @stef.pdd.
“1 year, I had Thanksgiving crafts out, and it ended up with all grown-ups sitting at the table drinking, crafting, and talking while the kids ran,” shared @leep004.
“Suggestion: DIY ornament painting station. It’s been a hit for me!” recommended @ditchyourdiet.
One year, I jokingly purchased paper tablecloths with activities and coloring book prints on them. The adults had so much fun,” said @loyaknow.
“We have made gingerbread houses for the past, like, 30 years, and I swear it saved my sanity,” commented @bigcitysammy.
“Even lining the dining table with brown paper + crayons, markers, etc. could be a good option,” suggested @livelongandprospermary.
One user added that it reminded them of the year their parents took suggestions for redesigning their bathroom. If you have a family full of thinkers or would-be designers, a pad of grid paper and a question about a room in your home is really all you need!
Want a craft table and need free or cheap ideas on what to include? Girl… try:
- Coloring books or printed holiday color pages or fall coloring pages.
- Construction paper, especially in fall and winter colors
- White printer paper
- Googly eyes
- Crayons, markers, and/or colored pencils
- Paint and brushes, cotton balls, or cotton swabs
- Coffee filters
- Glitter glue (warning: skip the actual glitter)
- Those foam craft kits from the store
- Wooden or clear plastic ornaments
- Gingerbread house kit
Just remember that there are no wrong answers when it comes to crafting. As long as you’re distracted and having a mild amount of fun, that’s a win in most books!