If I were hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner this year, I would want my guests to bring something. I’m not talking about green bean casserole, either. Although it’s full of deliciousness. Here’s a list of five things I hope my guests will bring. I try to do all of these things with varying levels of success. As well as following the most important rule of the holidays for family gatherings: keep your pants on.
Smiley, happy faces
Holidays are stressful. Traveling on Thanksgiving weekend between my house and my mother’s is about as much fun as watching Dora on a never-ending loop, while locked in a crowded prison cell and spiraling into soul-crushing madness. It’s actually *exactly* like that, except the prison cell is my mini-van on I-95 between DC and NY.
We’re also chronically late, my kids are constantly whining and my husband is grouchy because he’d rather be home watching football and taking it easy. None of this lends itself to mommy being a happy camper. So I get it when people show up and they’re peevish. I’ve been guilty of this myself. (Hangs head in shame.)
But for the family who’s hosting, it’s a bummer. So much work is involved and they’re probably feeling the pressure to do a good job and make it all special. Feeling like you have to wheedle your guests into a good mood just adds more stress, and no one needs that.
Willingness to help
I love to feed people and to spend time with my friends and my family. But it stinks to put a lot of work into a special meal or event and not actually get to talk to anyone because you’re working the entire time. If you’ve been at someone’s house for an hour or more, and you haven’t seen them at all — why not offer to help them out? Or at least keep them company in the kitchen. Because honestly? It’s nice to not feel like Dobby the House Elf on major holidays.
It’s a real problem. Families show up somewhere and the parents totally check out, leaving their kids to run around unsupervised in someone else’s house. I have gone weeks without the company of other adults and I totally get how intoxicating it can be to have an actual grown-up conversation. But someone has to watch the kiddos. It’s not fair to the host and hostess to have cook Thanksgiving dinner and wrangle a variety of small critters. It’s not only that it’s not fair it’s not always possible. And it’s not safe for the kids.
Sometimes people like to have a drink and discuss things like politics or religion or their seething hatred of SECC football or how some people go on vacation an awful lot while others actually work for a living. That’s all fine and dandy. But sometimes this crosses a line and the conversation becomes uncomfortable. Or it starts to feel personal. And then maybe someone sends a verbal zinger. Then it gets returned. And it becomes a volley.
You know the right time to pick a fight or drop a little nasty into the conversation? Well, it’s not at someone else’s house on Thanksgiving. It’s while you’re being filmed for The Real Housewives. Because they’re pretty much the only people who can get away with acting like that.
Just because you know yummy.
Here’s hoping everyone brings all the good stuff and none of the bad when they’re visiting (or hosting) this Thanksgiving.
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