Ahhh, the holidays....the Norman Rockwell picture of the loving family gathered around the table, giving thanks for all they have. How many women feel part of that picture if they're hosting dinner for 25 relatives, some of whom don't get along, one family who is always late, and one insists on bringing their dog even though you've specifically told them not to do this?
That second scenario is not mine (thank goodness!) but is a compilation of problems that I hear from some who no longer enjoy hosting or even attending holiday dinners with family. I think it is a shame that we can't be closer to the Norman Rockwell version, but I understand the angst and anger some women feel.
My Michigan sister-in-law and I have traded off Thanksgiving and Christmas for over 30 years. Last year my single son hosted Thanksgiving and this year my married son and dear daughter-in-law are hosting it. Last year Bill and I hauled dishes, pans, table cloths and folding tables not just to our son's house but down to his basement. All 327 steps. What? You never noticed that the number of steps increases with each trip?
We'll be helping again this year, but my married son and his wife have more experience with cooking and entertaining. This will be their first turkey and their first meal for 26 people. Our youngest niece will be out of town and the middle one is hosting her husband's family. Their will be 14 diners who share my married surname, 11 with Kim's maiden name and one friend of the family who has had Thanksgiving with us for years. There will be 8 young children (ages from 20 months to 9 years) which is the most I can remember at any holiday meal.
I don't know yet who will be making desserts this year. I love to make them, but will make whatever is needed. Except gravy. I make lousy gravy. Regardless of who gets the joy of desserts, I plan to bring these, at least enough for the 8 kids, but more likely, enough for everyone.
Are you hosting or attending? Will people bring a dish to the meal? Are holiday dinners a joy or something to be endured?
Our extended family doesn't quite look like Norman Rockwell's family, but we do pull together and enjoy our meals together. I am very thankful not only for my sister-in-law and nieces who help clean up when they are here, but for my husband who starts prepping whenever I do, and is by my side throughout the entire process. My married son is following suit and that makes us both happy. Our single son is great with helping to clean up, and if you need someone to make Kraft macaroni and cheese...he's your man!
I'll let you in on a secret. My sis-in-law discovered that after the turkey is in the oven or roaster, the side dishes are cooking or chilling and ready to be finished just before everything goes to the table, it helps if you have a glass of wine. Or two. Honest.