Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Meals: How Do You Do It?

...How do you all do Thanksgiving? Does one person cook everything? Does each person bring a dish?

At my family, my dad or mom makes the entire meal but the non-cookers have to clean up the kitchen. My mom also typically doesn't have the typical holiday meal because she always figures that Matt and I are "turkeyed-out" by the time we make it to her house. We're having the official Thanksgiving/Christmas meal on Saturday which will be boiled shrimp and chicken enchiladas for me. I am not a fan of shrimp but I always help peel and in return my momma always makes one of my favorite dishes for me although I usually end up eating after everyone else since I'm busy peeling away.

With Matt's family, the person hosting usually provides the meat and then "everyone" is supposed to bring a dish. Maybe it's because we never did that with my family but sometimes it drives me bonkers! They try to coordinate but it doesn't always work out that way so we'll end up with like 4 different desserts, turkey and 2 side dishes plus not everyone has to bring something. Last year it really stressed me out because we drove to Cape for lunch with my dad then back to STL for dinner with his fam and had to bring mashed potatoes...I stressed for a couple of days about when I was going to make these potatoes, how I was going to keep them warm and what if we didn't get there in time!?! I ended up making them at like 7am, dropping them off at his aunt's driving to Cape where my stepmom made an extra pot of potatoes for me to take and then we headed back. Needless to say, we had plenty of potatoes.

This year, I volunteered macaroni-corn casserole because it's easy...you just throw everything in a pan and bake. Matt and I's actual Turkey Day plans are still up in the air so Matt might have to make this on his own, I have faith in him.

I would love to host a holiday at our house but it's WAY too small. His family is ginormous so no way and with my parents being divorced, we can't have one and not the other so until we get a bigger house (HA!), there will be no holidays at our house. The only ones we've hosted before has been Fourth of July and Father's Day where we could have people inside and out so it was okay then. I'm thinking about having a 31 Purse Party but I'm really concerned about where everyone will sit plus put the food and the purses-ah! Okay, I'm off on a different tangent-sorry!

So, tell me...how does your families do holiday meals???


Jennelle said...

Try having BOTH sets of parents be divorced. And some remarried. :| Actually, our families are starting to break away from big family celebrations and move more to immediate family celebrations (I guess as our parents get older and become the heads of the family?). For instance, this year we went down to Farmington and had "Thanksgiving" with my dad, his wife, sister, and Grandpa a week and a half ago. Matt's dad's family has Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving at 1PM without fail. And we're hosting my mom's family the Saturday after (only 10 of us--and two are kids). His mom will be out of town, so her family isn't having a Thanksgiving this year, and neither is his stepdad's family.

Christmas is a whole other bear! So much back and forth--my father-in-law's family on Christmas Eve, and then to my father-in-law's house on Christmas morning for Christmas with our immediate family. Then to my mother-in-law's house for THAT immediate family. She hosts her entire extended family later on that evening. My dad's family is usually the weekend before/after, and we squeeze in my mom's family whenever we can. Yeesh, I'm tired just typing it out!

Cecilia said...

We used to stress out about where to go and who's feelings would be hurt. 2 years ago, we decided we will do turkey day at our house. If people come, great. If they don't, oh well. It can just be too hectic especially when you have three kids and sometimes Grace and Tater are supposed to go to their dad's. It's simpler now.
This year is the first turkey day since Danny's g-ma passed away so it looks like a new tradition will be for one of us to do it. We are having it at our house this year. We have the most room and my hubs likes my food the bestest. :o) I'm making the bird and a couple sides. FIL is bringing dessert and SIL is bringing vegetable.

Julie said...

Its actually quite easy for Keith & I since his family does nothing for holidays. Turkey Day we go to my parents where my stepmom makes the big meal (she loves to cook) and we all clean up afterwards while watching football, the parade, etc. Keith's family usually goes to a cafe for lunch then stays at the movies all day and really doesn't care if we are with them or not. Christmas Eve we spend with his family at dinner somewhere and then do presents at his sister's house (no presents this year unless you have a grandbaby for them) and then on Christmas Day we go to my parents around 8 and spend the entire day eating, opening presents, hanging out. There are so many of us its always a blast :)

I'm the same as you, I would love to host things like Friendsgiving, parties, etc but there's not a lot of room in the condo. I held a pampered chef party once, it worked but now I know what I'll have to do before I do that again. Oh not to mention we got the old people below who will throw a fit if we have people over.

I love parties though :)

Stephany said...

Right now, it's easy for me since I'm single and go over to my family's house. My grandparents make everything and my grandma and mom usually clean up. I just lounge about. ;)

My brother has it harder because he has to come over to my grandparents and then leave around 5 and go to his girlfriend's family so they are definitely STUFFED by the end of Thanksgiving Day. ;)

When I do get married, I think it would just be easier to rotate which is what some of my family does. Thanksgiving with one family one year, the other family next year.

Teenage Bride said...

we all kind of help out... it makes it so that everyone can really enjoy themselves and it is really fun

Meredith said...

With Justin's family, his mom makes the turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes. Everyone else is assigned a side (i.e. vegetable, rolls, etc) that they can make however they want. We all also bring over appetizers, but don't coordinate those at all.

With my parents, my mom usually has the menu all planned out and all the ingredients, and then we just help cook/bake.

Slamdunk said...

I am a clean-up guy while the Mrs. cooks. This is no different from every night though. I have it good.

After a lunch at home we hit the road to my in-laws where for dinner where her mom cooks.

Sarah said...

With my family in NM, it's not like we have to worry about going back and forth on the actual holidays. :) Also, DH hates to fly, so clearly he won't be attending Thanksgiving with my parents any time soon. It's just such a short holiday that the only option for travel is air.

When I am with my parents though, my mom does the vast majority of the cooking though my dad and brother carve the turkey. She used to do 100 side dishes (exaggeration,) but we've come to realize that it is better to have a few that we all love and can enjoy rather than so many that we try to eat a little of each. This year the menu is: clam chowder for appetizer, green salad with bleu cheese, candied pecans, fresh pears and a pear vinaigrette, turkey, suffing and dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, cranberry pomegranate relish, Brussels sprouts with procutto and pine nuts, broccoli casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie, apple crisp, and that may be it. I'm sure I'm forgetting something though. When I write it all out, it doesn't look like a scaled down meal, but you should have seen those tables when I was a kid! Everything is from scratch too.

To be honest, I hate holiday meals with DH's family. The biggest reason is that they don't do anything from scratch. I mean, they make the turkey, but the potatoes are from a box, frozen green vegetables, boxed pies. You get the idea. If they have wine, it is pink. Blech.

Last year we were in town, but his grandma, the matriarch, didn't want to do turkey and his sister didn't want to drive in, so we took grandma out for Italian (her choice) on Wednesday and then met up with friends on Thanksgiving. It was awesome!

This year I'll be in NM and he'll meet his family in IL for their dinner. I'll be sad to be away from him, but I will not miss their meal. I hope when we move houses and no longer have the cat that we can host. Then I can be in charge and control the processed crap.

Christmas is still to be determined. But let's just say that their boxed crap doesn't hold a candle to my mom's ham, homemade potato gratin, and red wine poached pears. We'll be in town, but they never have a schedule until the last minute. My folks come to town on the 26th, so we'll at least have a second shot at it if the meal blows.

Hilary Lane said...

Thanksgiving is always the easiest holiday! My sister's hosts the dinner at her house, because she was the first to get married, and that way she can have her family and her in laws over at one time. Her MIL cooks for the entire week leading up to Turkey Day & because she cooks so much food, no one else is allowed to bring anything. I usually help my nieces make oreo turkeys for dessert, but that's it. It's a breeze!

Jen said...

Dinner @ Mom's all day, and then we usually go to one of Jeff's family members house. It's Christmas that's a little crazy for us. I could write a book about the craziness!

This year I have to make 3 dishes

- portobella green bean casserole
- Dark Chocolate & Milk Chocolate Truffles
- Some appetizer to be named later. I'm thinking baked brie - but I have no idea.

I'm so ready for tomorrow to be here! I'm ready to relax for a few days!

Aimee said...

Thanksgiving and Christmas are pretty easy for us. :-) We go to Alton to my parents for Thanksgiving. It's pretty small - my parents, my sister, Shine and me, my nana, my aunt, and maybe 1 other person. Christmas is the same. We head out to CA to see Shine's parents the day or two after Christmas.

I'd like to host Thanksgiving or Christmas eventually, but not in our current house. We don't have a dining room, and the kitchen table is really only meant to seat 6 people at the most.

Angie said...

Thanksgiving is super easy - Aaron works and I go to my parents' house. Or, if he's off work, we go to my parents' house LOL Normally my mom does everything (because she loves doing it, not because we don't offer) but this year is different - she is having surgery the day before so it's up to my dad and I to make the entire thing - all for 3 people. It will be a blast, can't wait! I will prob go see Aaron at work. I think he normally makes a turkey dinner for them too.

Christmas has turned into sort of an open house at our house - Aaron makes a huge dinner and family comes and goes, brings food, desert, whatever. It's fun to have our interesting, extended family (see Cecilia above!) to our house. The kids love it and I know the parents love it too. This year we have Wii and stuff so maybe we can have a family Wii off LOL