Thanksgiving – Hold the Dessert

Pumpkin Pie

Our guest blogger for Thanksgiving week is no stranger to Heritage of Truth viewers. Jay Payleitner has been our guest several times and offers great suggestions for the family meal on Thanksgiving Day. You can find links to his Heritage of Truth interviews below his comments.

Heritage of Truth wishes you all a happy, grace-filled time of loving one another and praising our Creator and Savior this Thanksgiving.

Hold Off on Dessert.

By Jay Payleitner

Dear Dads and Moms:

This Thanksgiving, I recommend you hold off dessert for an hour or so. And talk. And listen. And share memories and dreams.

Go ahead and clear most of the dirty dishes. Maybe pour coffee. And then be intentional about passing around a basket with pre-printed questions. Everyone picks one. There are entire books and card decks devoted to thought-provoking, discussion-starting questions. Or just make up your own. (You’ll want to have at least two questions for each person at the table.)

“What’s your earliest memory?”
“What are you most proud of this past year?”
“What’s the worst hairstyle you’ve ever had?”
“What was the toughest job you ever had?”
“What’s the biggest challenge you’re expecting in the next year?”
“What nicknames have you been called?”

Over the years, answering questions after stuffing ourselves with turkey has led to some surprising insights from loved ones. Bits of Payleitner history that would have been long forgotten.

My grandmother described seeing a bi-plane fly over her backyard when she and her mom were hanging laundry back in 1914.

A few years ago at Thanksgiving, my own mom described the unpleasant scene when she broke off her engagement to a fellow who got more than a little angry. Her brothers (my uncles) stepped in just in time. A year later, she met my dad.

After looking at his question, one of my sons was moved to reveal an unspoken personal goal that would later come true.

Don’t let anyone pass the basket. If they don’t like the question they pick, it’s okay if they pick another. If someone else at the table wants to ask follow up questions or add their own story, awesome. I know from experience, the discussion will swing from silly to serious.

This only works if no one rushes off to do dishes, text girlfriends, watch football, or race to department store sales. If a baby needs changing or someone has to excuse themselves to keep a commitment to their in-laws, that’s perfectly fine.

And surprise! Teenagers love this kind of stuff.

Oh yeah. Remind everyone that if they don’t leave the table, they eventually will get dessert!

Let me know how it goes,


Much of this was excerpted from Jay’s new book from Bethany House which includes 144 parenting hacks similar to this idea. Quick Tips for Busy Families is coming out this February.

Jay Payleitner Interviews:

52 Things Daughters Need from Their Dads
A Birthday Card from God to You
Conversations Kids Need to Have with Dad
What If God Wrote Your Bucket List?
52 Ways to Pray for Your Kids







To find links for all Heritage of Truth interviews and blog posts, go to TV and Blog by Topic or TV and Blog by Guest/Author.

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