My excitement level is topping the charts. This year I am hosting Thanksgiving at my home. I will not be making the annual pilgrimage to my parent's home in Florida; those days are over. My kids and grandchildren are coming for their first Thanksgiving in New York; I hope the first of many. I plan to prepare our family's traditional Thanksgiving meal with all our homemade favorites. Marty and I have been discussing kid friendly activities as well as how to "entertain" the adults while caring for twin grandbabies. However my number one priority of the holiday is to enjoy the time with my family.
I know for many preparing a holiday meal is a tradition and can feel like a personal challenge. One that can be lonely and result in a feeling of "Oh, all that and over in 20 minutes". I recommend the following three steps to avoid the pressure of creating the "perfect holiday meal" while spending the day alone in the kitchen.
First, start early. I assembled the menu and shopping list, designed my table centerpiece, pulled out the holiday dishes and table cloth and ordered the turkey last week. All the shopping was done this past weekend so that I could start baking pies. In short, everything that can be done will be done before the kids arrive.
Next, the preparation and cooking of our Thanksgiving meal will be a family affair or as we say in our family, "All hands on deck". I am already planning for my granddaughter Lucy and me to make the table centerpiece together. It involves pumpkins, glue and glitter...what three year old wouldn't like that? My son excels at most everything he does, including making an apple pie. His name is next to that task. Everyone will be asked to help make our Thanksgiving meal special.
Third, set realistic expectations. I am not Martha Stewart (though I admire her work and use her as a resource regularly). Thanksgiving is about coming together with family and friends and sharing a good meal together with a thankful heart. If you forget the dinner rolls, save the rolls for Friday and prepare miniature left-over turkey sandwiches. Give yourself a break; you would do the same for a friend.
Finally, enjoy the day. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, life goes by fast. Take the day to hugs those you love, laugh together and maybe even play a little touch football.