What Time of Day Do You Prefer for Thanksgiving Dinner?

To keep it simple, we’ll have 3 choices: lunchtime (noon, 1pm), afternoon (2pm, 3pm, 4pm), and suppertime (5pm and later).

My family has always done holiday dinners (Thanksgiving and Christmas) in mid-afternoon. My wife’s family has always done those dinners at the noon hour. I guess some people have those dinners at suppertime. So I was curious about which of the three options Dopers prefer.

Suppertime is all I’ve known. That said I don’t cook the thing, and I don’t set the time.

Early afternoon was always how we did it. Get totally stuffed at 2. Be ready for desserts at 5 or so. Pick at leftovers if you’re hungry again later.

You forgot about eating twice. The tradition in my family is to start eating around noon, when the Lions game starts. By halftime everyone is ready for a nap. Nap time usually is over around the time the Cowboys start, which is when the second Thanksgiving dinner starts as well :slight_smile:

People eat Thanksgiving at lunch? I’d never even considered anything except dinner.

Even before I worked Thanksgiving nights I preferred the dinner around say 1-2. It got us, or our guests, off the roads and home earlier before the amateurs hit the bricks and gave us time to adjust from our food coma and get leftovers put away.

Its not a bad idea, I’d just never considered it.

You eat thanksgiving meal for lunch, then lounge around, then eat leftovers for dinner.

Afternoon. It’s the only main meal I like to do at that time. 3-PM is perfect, especially here in CA since it’s often still warm enough to eat outside. I don’t do it much anymore, but we used to host large Thanksgiving meals for our friends and we’d drag the dining room table outside for the occasion whenever possible.

This year the forecast is calling for rain (fingers crossed).

We eat it like we do our Sunday dinners, which is early-to-mid afternoon. A target of about 3 p.m. seems right. Christmas Eve, though, we do 6-7 p.m. I guess because it’s not really an “eve” dinner if it’s only 2 p.m.

I’d prefer to do it in the evening, but it will be around 1:00 or 2:00 as it has been in recent years.

When my great grandmother was alive, it was 11:00 sharp yawn, which her mother had ordained as the proper time for the midday meal.

I voted suppertime.

It has long been a theory of mine that having a large meal at an unusual time adds a lot stress to holidays; some people are gonna be cranky because they skipped lunch and some will be stressed from having to hurry up a meal that would normally be had later in the day.

A few years ago I convinced my sister to hold her big Thanksgiving dinner at 5PM instead of her usual 3PM and I tell you, it was the most relaxed, stress free holiday dinner we’ve ever had. It makes me sad that it was a one time thing – I don‘t understand people and their clinging to pointless traditions even when presented with irrefutable evidence that there is a better way.

With my wife’s side of the family (where we’ve always celebrated, because reasons), the hostess will tell us to be there at 11:30. What that actually means is that no one will even start showing up until noon at the earliest, some not until 1:00. There will be much faffing about and discussion in the kitchen, but long story short, food won’t be on the table until 3:00-ish.

With my mom’s side of the family, where I would much rather have Thanksgiving (preferably at my brother’s house, where he has more room), the hostess will tell everyone to be there at noon. Everyone will be there at noon, and the meal will be served at noon. Funny how that works.

Because it’s not always a better way for everyone. It’s great if nobody is traveling a long way and nobody has to go to work the next day, but there were a couple of times I ended up at a sister-in-laws evening Thanksgiving and I hated it. I didn’t have to travel a long way- but I don’t particularly enjoy getting home after 11 pm and then having to get up for work the next day.

If I’m cooking, I prefer suppertime. If I’m just a guest, I am happy with either a lunch-feast or a supper-feast, and might give the nod to lunch-time. What I really dislike is a giant meal at 3 in the afternoon.

I’m cranky about missing lunch, but don’t want to ruin my appetite. Then we have this huge meal and I don’t want to do anything for a while, but come around 8 or 9PM I’m hungry, because I didn’t really have supper.

My mom likes 3PM, but lucky for me, my brother can’t arrive until 5:30 or 6, because he does two Thanksgivings each year and his wife’s enormous family has the early slot.

No one in my family has to work the Friday after Thanksgiving, and no one sleeps more than half an hour away from dinner on Thursday night, so that’s not an issue.

Thought I’d bump this, now that the big day’s just a few days off.

Two pm is good for me. I like to have time after the meal to visit or play games. And I like having the leftovers later in the day.

We eat at 4pm - But I consider that more of a supper/evening time, not afternoon.

I remember when I was a kid, my mom would have to get up at some ungodly hour in the morning to put the turkey in the oven. We must have eaten really early. No idea why. She would always complain about it. I wonder now why she just didn’t change the time. It was just us (mom, dad, sisters), my grandma and my great-aunt. My aunt, uncle and cousins would come later in the evening for dessert. So there were no time constraints. Must have been something she’d always done even as a kid.

Afternoon is good for me. We usually drive 1½ hrs to my cousin’s, so we don’t have to be up and leaving too early, but we don’t get back home too late either. We usually eat at 4. Plenty of time before and after the meal to visit with everyone, play games, etc.

Can’t say I expected the preference for afternoon to be so overwhelming! I wasn’t even sure it would come out ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all, no matter what time of day you’re eating!

(Guess it’s time for me to start cooking!)

If we are cooking, we have Thanksgiving dinner a bit earlier than our usual dinner time. But it’s still an evening meal. I haven’t started cooking yet today. :slight_smile: My husband defers to me on Thanksgiving, since he only began celebrating it after immigrating to the US as an adult.

If someone else is doing the cooking, I couldn’t care less when we eat.