In my family we are each assigned a dish to make, whether it’s a main dish or sides, although some of us do more and most of us, not all help with clean up it works well. Many hands make light work.
Earlier this year was our 35th wedding anniversary. All the kids came home. We have 9 children, 6 married and 4 small grandchildren. So our small home is filled to the brim. I am getting tired of the stress and stain and expense of preparing and buying all the food even though food is my love language and I love all the kids being home. I talked to some of the girls about it because I wanted a change. They all decided to take a night to be incharge of a meal or joined up with another couple to make themeals for the week. I was Nervous and hesitant. I bought a bunch if extras to have on hand encase someone failed. It wasn’t necessary. The kids really got into it and we had wonderful beautiful meals every night for a week! We found many new favorites as they each prepared their meal! They also cleaned up all the mess and dishes when it was their night to cook and I got more rest and time to really enjoy being with the family instead of in the kitchen alll the time. My advice. Let go and let the kids help out. They might enjoy it! It you just take their money you’re still working too hard and you’ll regret it later when you can’t do it any more physically. You need to pass the torch to the kids, you can still do your favorites, but let them take on the responsibility!
This could have been written by my parents. When we visit, I always buy groceries and help out as much as I can, but honestly, traveling a great distance to be with parents/grandparents is expensive. We have gas and hotel expenses to consider and missed work time, among other things. And although we may make more money than our retired parents, when you have several children in the middle of a busy time of life, our expenses are enormous. I never want to be a burden, but usually we have barely enough money just to make the trip to spend time with family, and sometimes I think older people forget what that is like too.
I'd love to share what we do in our family. It began with my husbands' parents, who have passed away, when they needed help providing the Thanksgiving meal. We have been doing for this for the past 30+ years. A sibling (the host) take turns providing the "gathering" location, which rotates each year (or so). We all live within about 4-5 hours drive of each other, so its a trek. Travel time allows for the anticipation to build. If the host doesn't have enough room in their home for the 30 some people, they find a place. We usually use a church building. Other's have done the same or found a community hall. The host provides the "dinnerware, décor, etc.," turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. They send out an email asking for a head count and then compile a sign up list or ask what each family is willing to bring. One brother's specialty is "grandma's" rolls. Another family loves to bake pies. Others fill in with the salads, veggies, stuffing etc. As the children (cousins) have started their own families and don't all live as close, we've adapted an alternate plan to accommodate the intimate family dinner and the robust sibling dinner. We reserve the official Thanksgiving Day for an immediate family dinner. The siblings wanted to continue their tradition, so we hold it on Saturday a week or two earlier. Two weeks ahead of time makes it a challenge to find a turkey, but it also ensures better weather for traveling. All the cousins and friends, who can, join the sibling dinner as well. Of course, when some live far away and can't come, we miss them for a time, but we hold this every year regardless. At any rate, everyone in the family has a Thanksgiving dinner to enjoy. It is a highlight of the year and has worked beautifully for our family.
Potluck solves the problem for a holiday dinner with family who live fairly close by, but the letter says these families stay a week or more, so it's not just one meal that's a concern. These families would certainly be spending more than $50 a week for groceries at home, so it should not be a hardship at all to contribute to the grocery budget.
This is a no brainer. We have a large family. The hosts have always sent out a request for families to bring a salad, main dish, or dessert. No one has ever been offended and are always willing to help in any way! It's so great to see all the wonderful food that is brought to the event! We do the same thing at Family Reunions or family gatherings. If someone can't afford to bring something, it's no big deal with so many others pitching in!
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