At a round table there is no dispute about place. (Italian proverb)
A friend once observed that friendly people have round dining room tables – so they can always make room for more — guests, that is, not food. Of course those with square or oblong tables are always willing to add leaves can also find linens and placements that fit the décor.
Still, it’s a round table that bespeaks hospitality – especially if it’s laden with holiday treats.
The holiday season is a good time to think about the symbolism of round and expandable tables. It’s a visual image that suggests the warm welcome that a family or a home can extend to embrace others – families in need, a lonely neighbor, youth or elderly who find themselves alone at holiday time.
During the holiday season households often stockpile more than enough food to share. There may even be an unopened gifts that meets the visitor’s need. Spare folding chairs or other sitting surfaces are just waiting to join the festivities. Or do it the old way with a kiddy card table or piano bench where young folks can get in a word, possibly free of the fine points of etiquette.
Round tables sometimes lack balance – but so do families, neighborhoods, congregations, holidays, even people’s lives. Lack of balance adds a special scintilla of panache to dining room tables and to holiday feasts alike.