For the past three years our household has gotten out of having to host Thanksgiving. Last year I was weeks away from having our second daughter, and the one year my husband and I actually did host the meal was when I was pregnant with my first child. And here’s the kicker: I went into labor and spent my holiday in the hospital while my family and in-laws ate a home-cooked turkey at my house. And since I had an emergency C-section, I could not partake in the leftovers brought to us that night. Call me bitter, but I’m in no way eager to host Thanksgiving this year.
Any of these reasons hit home for you?
Cleaning: Picking up the hundreds of toys in the playroom, washing the pile of dishes in the sink, dusting the dining room table and everything oak in the living room, Swiffering, and polishing the wood floors are only the beginning. The bathrooms will need to be cleaned and toilets scrubbed. And then there is the dreaded entrance way, which has become the catchall for shoes, purses, backpacks and diaper bag. There is also the cleanup that occurs during the meal and after everyone leaves. And while I appreciate the “Let me help you” as the putting on of coats is taking place, host etiquette requires I smile and say, “Oh, please, I can handle it. Have a safe drive home!”
Cooking: Peeling and mashing potatoes, tossing a garden salad, chopping carrots and eggs, baking yams, and gutting a turkey is not how I want to spend a Thursday morning. The thought of standing at the kitchen sink elbow-deep in a turkey carcass, removing the gizzards and then stuffing said carcass with homemade stuffing is enough to make me want to throw my hands up and say, I’m out!
Hosting: As an introvert, it is exhausting “being on” for long periods of time. I need a break, and that won’t happen when you’re actually the person throwing and hosting the party. People will want to chat, sit down with a glass of wine, and really catch up. These conversations will be conducted while serving drinks, pulling toys out for kids, putting on the TV for your guests, and serving food. Small talk will be required.
Relatives: The holidays seem to be the time when relatives whom you haven’t seen for months suddenly reappear. Then there are those cousins who call to mention that they have a new boyfriend/girlfriend and request a plus-one to the dinner. No, just no. The thought of enduring an evening with great aunt Carla from your mother’s father’s sister’s side of the family who insists on bringing her son, your cousin whom you’ve met maybe once, and his girlfriend of two months is bad enough. But add an overbearing aunt who enjoys debating why Donald Trump should be the next president with your hardcore Democratic cousin is enough to push you over the edge.
Pinterest: Damn Pinterest, with its perfect recipes and crafts, has added a high level of party-hosting pressure that has got me feeling like everything needs to look, taste, and be as perfect as the pinned pumpkin cheesecake, elaborately handmade centerpieces, and perfectly brine and roasted turkey. I get flustered opening a can of crescent rolls.
Drunk People: It never fails. There is always one person at the party who imbibes a little too much on an empty stomach. That person is usually the one who drove him or herself, which means they have to sleep it off on your couch or in the bedroom.
Germs: All over my toilet seats. Do I need to say more?
Kids: Dealing with my kids is one thing, but having to play babysitter to other people’s kids is on a whole other level of hell-to-the-no. The holidays are like one big play date where parents kick off their shoes, grab a glass of wine, and sit back as their kids run wild around your house. When did host become synonymous with babysitter?
Black Friday: It takes time to research all those glorious Black Friday deals. Getting all the good deals takes planning and routing out the best places to hit first to ensure you get all the toys, clothes, and gifts on your list. Now that shopping starts on Thanksgiving Day, research needs to be conducted a day earlier than in past years.
Expense: Turkey – $21; pie – $6; stuffing –$6; and the list goes on. When offering to host a Thanksgiving dinner, it is not common to have others jump in with donations. Perhaps you’d have more money to spend during Black Friday if a large chunk of it wasn’t being spent on an elaborate meal cooked for people you only tolerate. Something to ponder.
Tupperware: Don’t expect to get it back from the relative you see every other year.
Clean up: See Cleaning.
About Ambrosia Brody