Holiday Table Talk by Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.

This holiday season whether you are gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year, the Winter Solstice, or even a family reunion, it is a perfect time to reminisce about the past and make new memories. If you wish to avoid uncomfortable or polarizing discussion topics, try encouraging fun and positive table talk with holiday place cards.

You can easily print these cards at home if you have a color printer and card stock or use a local or online printing service. Download free templates for Microsoft Word or PowerPoint from or card templates from Canva  If you prefer something fancier, purchase templates from Etsy

Once you have your desired template, create 10 questions (or more if you have a larger group) to use as fun icebreakers for the adults before or after the meal. Some examples of questions include:

  • Why did your parents give you your name?
  • What were your hobbies as a child or teen? What are they now?
  • What did you do for fun when you were a child? A teenager?
  • What were your favorite songs, books, or movies when you were young?
  • What’s your favorite holiday memory or your happiest memory?

Using scanned photos of ancestors or loved ones who can’t be present can be another fun way to engage people to share memories of these special people or events. Check out Vivid-Pix Prints for decorative options You can choose to assign seats at the table(s) and note the table number on each place card with the person’s first name. Have each guest answer the question on their card or ask another family member the question. Alternatively, if you opt for random seating simply put a selection of cards in a decorative bowl on each table and have each person draw one to start the conversation. Remember to take pictures. If the guests agree you could also record the stories with any number of Apps on your smartphone.