This year, I took on Thanksgiving. I planned, shopped, organized, scheduled, delegated, and cooked, and–even though every muscle in my body ached–I loved every minute of it.
I learned a lot of things this Thanksgiving.
1) When there’s family and friends, you don’t need perfect.
2) If someone asks if they can help, let them. I could have never in a million years accomplish what I accomplished without everyone who came pitching in to help. I had a whole team of sous chefs rinsing, peeling, chopping, and cleaning just to help me get things done. It was wonderful.
I’ve always been that person who shuts herself off in the kitchen saying, “Oh, no. I’m fine–I don’t need any help,” and then been miserable because I felt isolated the whole breadth of the preparations. Not this time. If you’re one of those people, I highly recommend that you just say yes. You’ll thank yourself.
3) Preparation works. I may have been an organizational nut, but damned if everything didn’t come out of the oven and of of the stove top reasonably on time. Checking the times on my photos, and allowing for the fact that I’m slack and didn’t adjust my time stamp for the time change, everything was served at 12:30 on the dot.
4) There is such a thing as too much food. In an effort to make something that everyone would enjoy, I ended up offering those of us who love everything anyway too many options. I didn’t know where to start after I plated my food!
5) Find new ways to get the extra leftovers out of the house! It occurred to me that there had to be an easier way to send people home with leftovers instead of fumbling around with zip top bags and fake Tupperware containers. I took a cue from our fine dining (heh heh) establishments– take out trays!
After dinner everyone got a take out tray, and they went through the serving line again so that dinner would be an easy affair. While they did that, since we had fewer dessert selections, I boxed a sampler of the leftover desserts for each family. I labeled the tops of each person’s meals, so they’d know whose was whose, and–as it turned out– that was a good thing, since my dad accidentally left his behind. Of course, he’d labeled his “MINE! MINE! MINE!” But the handwriting and humor– yeah, I recognized one and inherited the other, so it wasn’t tough to figure whose it was. He stopped back by to pick his up later.
So, point? Take-out trays = brilliant idea.
6) Don’t be afraid to play with the camera, learning new-to-you features on the fly. I now love the self-timer feature. Hooray for getting to be in the family photo instead of someone being left out of it!
(I’m hiding in the back, standing on my tippy toes– man, my sis-in-law is way taller than me!)
7) Rotating holidays is a good thing. I think I’ll take New Year’s dinner next year. I’m not sure I have another Thanksgiving in me for at least two more years.
Last night after all the guests had left, we–boy, the husband, and I– were sitting at the table, and I made a comment about Thanksgiving being my favorite holiday and how I was tired but it as worth it. Boy asked why I did it all, and the husband’s response was, “Because your mommy likes doing things for other people so that she can see them be happy.”
I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, too.
P.S. And the Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Streusel… Oh my, yum. If you didn’t make those– you need to for Christmas. Sooooooo good.