Seating Politics at Thanksgiving – When a Lap Becomes the Hot Seat

Displeased woman holding knife and fork during thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinners are often anticipated for the delicious food, the warmth of family gatherings, and the camaraderie shared among loved ones. However, one recent Thanksgiving dinner brought forth an unexpected spectacle that had social media buzzing.

Narrating the story, the original poster (OP), a 29-year-old woman, recounted an incident that took place during Thanksgiving dinner with her husband’s family. As the story unfolds, OP details her two-year relationship with her husband, Shaun, who is 33 years old.

Despite a mostly positive rapport with her husband’s family, her mother-in-law (MIL), who possesses a penchant for passive-aggressiveness, has proved to be a source of tension. OP also mentioned that her husband’s ex, Julissa, receives special treatment from the MIL and frequently visits their house, a situation that doesn’t concern OP.

The crux of the issue arose when OP arrived at her MIL’s home for Thanksgiving dinner. To her astonishment, all the chairs were occupied, and OP was left standing, a misstep that would set the stage for a truly unforgettable evening.

When OP inquired about her missing seat, her MIL offered a curt apology, citing a last-minute guest’s unexpected appearance. OP shared that Julissa, her husband’s ex, was seated right beside him. This unexpected twist only fanned the flames of an already simmering rivalry between OP on one side and Julissa and the MIL on the other.

Desperate to establish her place within the family and reclaim the respect OP felt she deserved as the daughter-in-law, OP opted for a bold solution. OP audaciously seated herself on her husband’s lap, nonchalantly savoring her Thanksgiving feast while engaging in casual conversation.

An awkward silence ensued, with family members attempting to divert the conversation away from the uncomfortable scene. But as hard as they tried, the tension lingered like an uninvited guest at the table. Notably, the two figures at the center of this familial storm, the MIL and the husband’s ex, Julissa, seemingly engaged in a silent battle of wills. Julissa finished her dinner quietly and left.

Later, when OP reached her place, the MIL texted her, saying that OP had ruined the dinner gathering and that OP could have simply dragged an extra chair from the kitchen by herself without causing any drama.

OP thinks that she did nothing wrong and turns to the online community to seek advice.

A Lap of Controversy

The social media sphere lit up as users chimed in with their thoughts on the ordeal.

One commenter, Jaxbravesfan, supported OP’s audacious move, stating that her husband should have preemptively saved a seat for her or fetched a chair.

“The whole ordeal could have been avoided [if your husband had done what he should have done], and [given] you his seat while he went to fetch another one.”

The husband’s failure to do so is painted as a missed opportunity to protect his wife from the impending awkwardness.

Another voice, ABeerAndABook, also shifted the blame toward the husband, arguing that his passivity in managing his mother and curbing her attempts at matchmaking with Julissa only served to escalate the situation. The implication here is that the husband should have preemptively nipped the tension in the bud.

A particularly pointed comment came from B1lllevansatmariposa, who laid the responsibility squarely on the MIL. The commenter argued that it was the host’s obligation to provide proper seating and that her failure to do so amounted to an attempt to unsettle OP.

“MIL suggests after the fact that OP could have dragged a chair from the kitchen? It was MIL’s job, as host, to do that herself; failure to do so was an obvious attempt to make OP ill at ease. OP responded delightfully. It was MIL’s fault that it turned out the way it did.”

Taking a lighter tone, Floppyfishie seemed to revel in the irony of the situation, applauding OP for outplaying her opponents in the familial chess game.

This perspective seems to view the lap maneuver as a masterstroke of wit, a checkmate in the battle for seating supremacy.

The Verdict

OP’s seating saga stands as a testament to the delicate art of navigating family dynamics during a holiday meal. From OP’s audacious lap-sitting escapade to the reactions of various family members, this narrative presents a fascinating microcosm of social interactions and power plays.

While some applauded OP’s strategic response to a less-than-welcoming atmosphere, others shifted blame to the husband for his passive approach and the host for neglecting her duties.

The incident illuminates the complex dance of family dynamics, underscoring the roles of communication, etiquette, and assertiveness.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

Featured Image Credit: RostyslavOleksin /

This article was originally published on Ash & Pri.

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Annika Stepanov

Annika is passionate about personal finance and travel, pouring her extensive experience into her writing on these topics. She has a diploma in Creative English Writing and has been working in the industry since 2016.