Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner? Take a Deep Breath

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Are you feeling a little frazzled and stressed out right about now? This little post will be my attempt at calming you down.

I've watched my dear, sweet, wonderful, angelic mother host holiday dinners year after year – and I swear the poor thing gains a grey hair or two every time she does it (although, you'd never know it from looking at her). My sweet little mama sets impossibly high standards for herself, stresses out beyond the max about how she’ll be able to reach those standards, and then feels guilty if she feels like she’s fallen short.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? Have a seat, grab a cup of cocoa and listen to me, okay?

Does it really matter if the pumpkin pie is from Costco instead of your Aunt Ruth’s recipe that requires 5 different spices imported from the Amazon and 10 hours of intensive labor? Yes, it’s a tradition. Yes, it kind of matters, but does it really matter?

Will anyone’s day be ruined because you didn’t hand carve a mini replica of the Mayflower out of yellow squash…and make matching name cards out of baby pumpkins?

Will the world come to a crashing halt if the food isn’t quite ready when everyone arrives, or if the turkey is a little dry? Will it…really?

I know we all want to please. I know we want to put our best faces forward when we entertain, but remember what people REALLY care about. They care about spending time with you. They care about catching up on what they’ve missed since they last saw you. They care about laughing about that one time, when they were 16 and they accidentally knocked over a trash can by the side of the road with their car because you were a brand new driver (that was my friend Betsy by the way).

Let people pitch in and help you cook. Let go of expecting everything to be perfect…it doesn’t have to be. Enjoy spending time with your guests. Enjoy your food…even if the gravy isn’t as "perfect" as the gravy your mom used to make.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the memories that are being made.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Please don't throw mashed potatoes at me. I'm just the messenger :-).

25 Suburbanites Said:

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

How very true, AnNicole. I host many family get togethers, and while I like to fuss a bit over the set-up/decorating, there are often too many people for a sit down meal. By the time the dinner is almost ready and things get really busy, I'm grateful for any help. And as you said so well, the memories are made with the people connections, not whether the stuffing came crashing to the floor (it did one year) or if your sister-in-law offers to buy all the pumpkin pie that you love making. At least you can laugh together while you clean up the floor or cut that store bought pie.
Wishing you and your readers in the U.S. a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Love the Decor! said...

Great advice!! Even if your mom and I are probably "cut from the same cloth" I have learned to relax and let the 'Martha" in me go a little bit!! It is definately more fun! A year from now no one will remember if the pie came from Costco or you made it. thanks for the reminder. Have a blessed Thanksgiving

Susan S. said...

I totally agree. we all put too much pressure on ourselve for perfect, when the most important thing is spending time with loved ones and make memories. Even if it's a memory of a burnt pie or giblet bag cooked in the turkey, right? LOL!

Leen said...

So true and it's not that much fun to be around a hostess who is freaked out!

I do love Costco pumpkin pie :)

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

Perfect advice at a perfect time!

Anonymous said...

Great advice! I'm having my husband's family here for Thanksgiving and I'm blessed in that they are very "low maintenance". They're truly here to spend time with us and could care less about anything else. Makes my job a lot easier!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

pk @ Room Remix

Anonymous said...

I've been feeling a bit guilty because I ordered my pies this year from Bob Evans instead of rolling my own pie crust.....but I am cooking everything else so I guess it will be okay. One less thing to do...right?

Happy Thanksgiving.


jenjen said...

Good post! I am freaking out since it's at my house this year. I need to just calm down and have fun. Thanks for the reminder!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Suzann @ The Olive Cottage said...

Wonderful post. Thank You.

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

jennibell said...

Good post! And so, so true. It's about the food, yea, but it's the PEOPLE that matter.

TNelson said...

Thanks. I needed that today - it's getting close and and we just had two last minute guests added to the list last night. I am taking off work early today to get some things started ahead of time. Taking a deep breath right now and trying to use the mantra "this a day for family - enjoy..." and repeat...

Sjn said...

I love all the traditions and in my house they all want to keep them going. But in truth, it's all about being together with the people you love. I had the family over last night to kick off the holidays and I looked around the room and was so grateful we could all be together. I am blessed with a wonderful family.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Good, good, good!!! This needs to be shouted from the hilltops!

Danielle @ Transforming Home said...

What a wonderful post - thanks for the calm!
And you are soooooo right!

Have a great one!


Struggler said...

Agreed - I'm lucky, I'm not hosting, but both Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to have a lot of expectations around them, mostly created, I suspect, by food/decor/clothing retailers who are just trying to sell us more stuff.
I read on the radio, we will consume 4500 calories tomorrow. That's just crazy - time for some perspective I think!
Thanks for the sanity check.

Struggler said...

I guess I'd be really clever if I could read stuff on the radio.
Sorry, I meant 'heard' !

Anonymous said...

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Miss Mustard Seed said...

Thankfully we are spending Thanksgiving with my husband's family, so it's low key and I am not the hostess. I look forward to hosting Thanksgiving when my kids get a little older. With two toddlers, that would be tough. I can't wait to pull out my linen napkins, china, and silver, though.

sarah { abeachcottage } said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

AdronsCatherine said...

Love it! Have a happy Thanksgiving :o)

Rona's Home Page said...

Marcus and I are off to volunteer at our church. My husband is in for a long day at Kmart.

We had our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, just the three of us. Marcus and I made the whole dinner. It was my first turkey! And my husband loved it!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

CRICKET said...

Oh, the power of listening - well put!

Lori said...

So so true ~ we always want things to be perfect though and sometimes it is really hard to just let things "be". Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Jacci said...

What a great post :) Thank you for being so real!

Interestingly, this "too perfect" problem is NOT the problem in my circles. The issue with those I hang around with is that if you *like* things nice and pretty and if you *like* little details like simple placecards, **that** is considered being a perfectionist, and it's looked down on!!! Seriously, my friends act like I knock myself out and have this big goal of perfection, when really, all I want is "special" and "pretty". It's so very, hilariously **far from perfect** that is totally cracks me up that they have that perspective. Anyway, guess I'm just saying that the flip side of the coin is that someone might actually enjoy doing what someone else might dread and fret over. To restate what you've already said another way... It's the heart attitude, not the level of outward "perfection", that really matters. How much are we able to relax and really enjoy the moment we've been blessed with.

Good word, AnNicole!!!

Thanks :)

Dallas said...

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