Thanksgiving: Football on TV or No Football on TV?

This post is part of a series on being a hostess with the mostess using Successful Entertaining at Home: A Complete Guide for Informal Entertaining written by Carolyn Coggins and published in 1952 by Prentiss-Hall.

There is a football game on and you want to see it.
~Carolyn Coggins

Miss Coggins tells us that it is perfectly acceptable to offer a Thanksgiving buffet instead of a traditional dinner so that your guests can enjoy watching a football game.  I suspect, however, that there weren’t back to back to back football games on television in 1952 like there are now.  Anyway, Miss Coggins reminds us that we still need to use our finest china and silver even if the focus is the game.

Here is her menu idea:

Thanksgiving Buffet for 24

Valliant Vrai
Turkey Lucy
French Green Peas
Orange Rice
Spiced Fruit Tray
Crisp Hard Rolls
Mincemeat Brandy Sauce on Ice Cream
Jellied Wind Mold with Rum Eggnog Sauce
No Second Date For Him

Image courtesy of Paul Malon on

Okay, truth be told, I’m a bit torn about this idea.  Help me out here.  What do you think (and why)?

What a brilliant idea!  I wouldn’t have to deal with that boorish cousin-once removed!


Football on in the other room before/after dinner is okay but this is Thanksgiving! It’s not like it can’t be DVRed during the meal!

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Dr. Julie-Ann

I'm Dr. Julie-Ann, living life in its Technicolor finest by channeling my Grandma, Donna Reed, and June Cleaver with a bit of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly glamour thrown in for good measure, too. I work outside of the home full-time as a university administrator but I nourish my soul and find my greatest happiness by trying to be the "perfect" 1950s homemaker.

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  1. 1

    Marie says

    My fondest memories are not of some snobbish fine china and silver with a thanksgiving bird on a platter and a fixing of sides placed pretty on a table quickly getting cold and only there for looks anyway. They’re of family. My uncle and cousins shouting at the game. All of us mixing and chatting it up in turn, while picking from a potluck style buffet with a yummy ham and turkey quickly disappearing on *gasp* paper plates with plastic forks!

    Theres always a time and place for what is proper and polite but sometimes it’s so good just to enjoy the company your with rather than worry over noticing silverware. I thoroughly believe that holidays are to be about the ones we love, not the appearances we make. And if enjoying our company includes a lively game of football playing on TV that everyone can enjoy, then that really can be very wonderful. I’ll always treasure my Uncle’s hoots and hollers.

    I am a southern girl, so my opinion is one of family and comfort. What matters is how people relate to and enjoy each other. If that is best done around a table with fancy forks and plates then great… But I wouldn’t shut off the game just for the sake of some pretentious ideas.

  2. 2


    Since I DO NOT like football – I feel like it is a huge waste of time spent watching such – I would never have such a thing in my home. Thanksgiving is to give thanks with your family around the table not the TV!
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  3. 3


    Football is awesome. And it makes Thanksgiving all the more special since we are a football-loving family. However, we do excuse ourselves from the TV for the actual dinner and have a formal dining room meal. But we do keep the sound on just in case something phenomenal happens that we just have to see.
    Also, the Steelers never play on Thanksgiving so we’re not too terribly invested.
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