Tell me what Thanksgiving is like for you.
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  1. #1
    Registered User PrairieRose's Avatar
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    Default Tell me what Thanksgiving is like for you.

    In our family, I'm the one that usually hosts it. My dmom isn't able any longer nor is my mil. We normally have Gripey and I, our 3 kids and ddil, my mom and dad, Gripey's mom and brother. Sometimes we also have my brother's family (he and wife, dd & sil and now baby-soon to be another one, son, ddil and now they have a baby) and also my sister and her 5 kids, spouses and anywhere from 2-4 kids to each couple. I usually do most or all of the cooking for various reasons but mostly b/c everyone else has to travel to get here and it's not easy to cook ahead and bring food. I'm feeling really overwhelmed by it and my mom thinks we need to pare it down. I feel badly b/c I'd love to have the t.v. family gathering where everyone is soooo happy to see each other and love the cooking and hub bub of it all. But honestly I don't get to enjoy any of it. I'm so tired after the meal is cleaned up that I seriously just want to have a nap. My house is a mess after everyone leaves and about 1/2 of the people that come don't even say thank you it was good. I'm not one to complain much but Gripey is really fed up with it and I think I'll have to cut back for sure this year.

    Please share with me what it's like at your family Thanksgiving. I know that most families share the cooking more but it won't happen here. And if anyone has the whole big thing, it will be me or not at all. I'm seriously thinking about suggesting that we just meet in the city the day after Thanksgiving and having a nice buffet meal together (dutch treat) and let that be that. Does it sound like I don't love my family? I hope not b/c I do, very much. I'm just tired of being the only one to do it.

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    Registered User brenda67's Avatar
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    Lisa, If I were in your situation traveling long distant or not each couple should bring a covered dish or 2 doesnt mean it has to be cooked...I would find that very overwhelming to..IMHO I think that is very rude....When I lived in a bigger home years ago I had all my Family members which included 16 people they all brought a covered dish and they also did all the dishes and helped cleanup.Where I live now theres no way I could have it here theres not enough room..we always go to my BIL & SIL now ..on rare occassions my MIL..I have to work so I will make a couple of covered dishes a day or 2 ahead of time..I also found that you can make ahead side dishes and freeze them for that day..like mashed potatoes,turnips,rolls,veggie casserole and desserts that way you won't have so many things to do on one day and enjoy your family and not be totally exhausted...

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    Registered User Neeley's Avatar
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    Well, it varies from year to year. We never know what we are going to do from year to year. Some years we go to the beach and stay at DH company condo, enjoy the ocean and each other - this is my favorite way!! We go out to eat somewhere and shop like crazy the next day at the outlet mall. Some years we just stay home and stop by Dh's parent's house for dinner and if my step-sister is not at my dad's go by there as well. Maybe do a movie that evening. Then there have been other years we have just stayed home and done thanksgiving with ourselves, ordering all of the food in from a local catering service.
    We use to have to spend every holiday going from my mom's family, to my dad's, to DH's parent's then to my other grandfather's and we hated it!! We had to drive over 100 miles and eat 4 times in an afternoon. Never got to relax and just enjoy the day. We will decide around the week before Thanksgiving exactly what we are going to do that particular year. We do every Christmas at Disney World and I think one year I would like to do Thanksgiving there as well.

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    Registered User Michelle's Avatar
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    Ever since my fil & his wife started going to FL for the winter, we've been going over my sil's. My bil & mil go too. Last year we provided the 20 lb turkey, and I brought desserts. My bil brought a few pies, and my sil did the rest. It's really laid back and enjoyable.

    I am in a similar position as you, Lisa. I have the Christmas get together here every year. I was just telling Dave today that I wish we could stop doing it every year because it takes so much out of me. I don't see an alternative though because there are no other places with "neutral gound". My parents, Dave's father & his wife, Dave's mother...well the only place they'd all feel comfortable is MY house. Granted, having it at home means I don't have to travel all over the place to see everyone, so I guess it's good in that respect.

    I don't think it would be out of line for you to ask your guests to contribute to your meal. Even if cooked food gets cold on the way, it can always be reheated, yk? Are they aware how you feel? They may not even know, and if you speak up, they may feel badly enough to help out. If not, I say you do what is comfortable for YOU. Cook ahead, buy pre-made stuff from stores/restaurants/caterers, only cook the bare minimum to YOUR level of comfort. And who cares what they think? If they're that insulted, they can go somewhere else next year :p

    Good luck. I know how you feel. I should probably take my own advice

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    Registered User PrairieRose's Avatar
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    Ok so here's the deal......the real, down and dirty deal. If I have it again this year, we'd have about 35 people here. My mom and mil are not able to cook much at all. Mom would probably do the dressing and my mil would bring rolls and a salad. My brother's family would all come from N.M. and the rest of the family.....if they brought anything cooked I wouldn't be able to eat it. I don't know how to say it without saying it.....it would be cooked in less than "sanitary" conditions. So there. I don't ask them to bring b/c of that, I don't say that's why but it is. I don't ask my bro's family b/c I don't ask the rest of the family. Don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I feel like I'm caught in a loop here.

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    Registered User Katybird's Avatar
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    Lisa, how about having it catered by a local company and just letting your family know how much it will be and that you are splitting the costs this year evenly and how much it will be for each family. That way you are not out the entire cost of the meal and you know that it will be made sanitary location and you will be able to enjoy the meal. You could buy plastic plates (not the paper ones that you would use at an outdoor picnic but the clear plastic toss away plates that are still disposable but a bit more sturdy and nice looking). It would make clean up a breeze and you have more time for visiting.

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    Registered User Michelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katybird View Post
    Lisa, how about having it catered by a local company and just letting your family know how much it will be and that you are splitting the costs this year evenly and how much it will be for each family. That way you are not out the entire cost of the meal and you know that it will be made sanitary location and you will be able to enjoy the meal. You could buy plastic plates (not the paper ones that you would use at an outdoor picnic but the clear plastic toss away plates that are still disposable but a bit more sturdy and nice looking). It would make clean up a breeze and you have more time for visiting.
    I think this is a great idea. That's a TON of people to cook for by yourself. No wonder you're exhausted afterwards!

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    Registered User pqb57's Avatar
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    I get up early, make stuffing, stuff the turkey and put it in the oven. The rest of the morning is spent preparing the rest of the meal with my dw. Around 1 pm my 2 daughters, their husbands and the 4 grandchildren arrive and spend the rest of the day.

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    Registered User bevjean's Avatar
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    It's usually just me, hubby, & the boys. (occasionally hubby invites a couple friiends). Even with just the 5 of us, hubby expects a zillion course meal. I fix it all, I clean it all up. This year two of my boys can probably help with the clean up a bit. I hate it when he invites his friends. They are usually inconsiderate. They never let us know until the last minute whether or not they are coming, are very late, or change their minds at the last minute. Every year hubby says he wants a big dinner with guests, but so far it hasn't happened. The few times his friends have had dinner with us, they did contribute something (dessert, wine, beer)

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    Hmm, personally if out of the blue, I was asked to pay for a family, holiday dinner I had no input into I would be offended and probably confused. In your situation, Lisa, I think I'd tell all involved that while you treasure spending the holiday with everyone it has become too much work for you alone. Offer three alternatives: perhaps the catered meal like KatyBird suggested, a restaurant meal like you suggested, or a potluck.

    If you have folks traveling long distances, the potluck should get nixed first (which is what you want anyway to avoid the unclean kitchen situation). That leaves two suggestions (and tell them you're open to others) but makes it clear that you're no longer cooking and cleaning the holiday away.

    At this point, no one should be offended or confused. You've given an opportunity to participate, and if they can't agree on something you now can step down as Thanksgiving provider and let the others fend for themselves.

    Our family is small...Turkey Day will be myself, DH, Mom, and MIL. Mom will cook at my house since I'm recovering from surgery. Hopefully I'll be well enough to help out. We'll likely have a Honeybaked ham (we're not turkey people) and our stand-bys like cornbread, mac and cheese, greenbean caserole, pecan pie, etc. Everything is homemade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cele View Post
    Hmm, personally if out of the blue, I was asked to pay for a family, holiday dinner I had no input into I would be offended and probably confused. In your situation, Lisa, I think I'd tell all involved that while you treasure spending the holiday with everyone it has become too much work for you alone. Offer three alternatives: perhaps the catered meal like KatyBird suggested, a restaurant meal like you suggested, or a potluck.

    I agree with this. I think I would be taken aback if someone suddenly told me I had to pay for the dinner. I like the three alternatives idea.

    As for us, we always go to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. I have decided this year to bring some dishes with me, because my m-i-l never asks for help but several of the foods I associate with Thanksgiving are not served, so I'll contribute them. I would love to have Thanksgiving here at my house some day but I don't see it happening any time soon.

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    Registered User Goodwin17's Avatar
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    Last year I started doing my own Thanksgiving. I'll be doing it again this year. Last year it was me, my Dh, and my dad. I"m trying to encourage him bringing my grandmother down this year. He doesn't really want to because she's a little ornery, and the thought of a 5 1/2 hour car trip and spending a week with her doesn't exactly excite him. But I don't want my grandmother to be alone this Thanksgiving, and I thought I'd go out and do some things with her while the guys watched football on television. Anyway here is what I fixed last year: turkey breast (in the crockpot!), from scratch homemade dressing, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, corn, green beans, and rolls (my dh kept adding food he wanted me to make), and for dessert I had store bought pecan pie and pumpkin pie. I'll be doing similar things this year. I'm excited and ready. I never cook, and I did really well last year, so this is my time to shine...

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    Member Darlene's Avatar
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    Big hug Lisa!! We used to go to the inlaws for holiday meals but once the kids got to be about 5 or so we stayed home. So much less stress. We still get together with family but it's not over a big holiday meal that is ripe for unmet unrealistic expectations and cold food when the last person is finally served.
    We get together before or after the holiday for pizza, beer & soda...soup & sandwiches. Play in the snow just have fun together.




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    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I hosted it once to give my mom a break but I think everyone really prefers to be at my mom's. We(bro #1, sis-il, niece from NC, my sis and my gang) show up early between 9-10am. We have dips and snacks and hot spiced apple cider. Bro #2 and sis-il show up around noon or later, depends if the surf's up that morning. Sadly, bro #3 won't be there this year. We eat around 2pm. We've done buffet before but it takes so long. We all like passing the food so we squeeze in. The guys usually play golf, or frisbee golf, or football or basketball after dinner. How they can exercise with 2lbs of food in their bellies is beyond me! The gals clean up and chat all afternoon over cups of hot tea, cider and coffee. Wish we could have Thanksgiving every month!~

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    I have done Thanksgiving for the last twenty years. When my parents were a live they loved nothing better than for me to cook for them. Now it is just me , my family ,my 2 brothers and there familys. I cook a giant meal. Two turkeys two hams and every side dish and dessert known to man lol lol I really love the time we spend together.

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