Holiday dinners should be more about love and less about dinner.

Planning a holiday meal can be a logistics nightmare. Blended families, adult children with kids of their own, siblings with adult children, extended family of various ages, parents, and in-laws all have numerous obligations, and it’s my job as the hostess to accommodate all of them. Most of my family have two or three gatherings on Thanksgiving Day, so we’ll be giving thanks at my house the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Don’t worry, though. I won’t be spending my favorite holiday alone. I will be traveling a short distance on Thanksgiving Day to dine with some loved ones I rarely ever see. I’m really looking forward to it. Time spent with our loved ones is how the holidays are truly meant to be spent.

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I love the holidays, but I hate the planning. I nearly kill myself every year trying to cook and bake way too much while simultaneously cleaning. I spend a good three days running to the grocery store multiple times to make certain I won’t run out of something important. In my defense, I did run out of butter one year.
 
I’ve decided to alleviate a great deal of my stress this year. I’m splitting up my menu and everyone, including my adult children, will be bringing something. In the past, many family members arrived without food in hand. My mom, sister, and mother-in-law have always brought things, but no one else. Historically, if they didn’t ask what they could bring, I didn’t ask them to bring anything. Not anymore. I want to be able to enjoy time with my family instead of spending the entire day in the kitchen while everyone else visits. Therefore, I handed out food assignments earlier this week.

Seating is another great source of stress that I’ve decided I can do without. I usually spend hours turning tables this way and that in order to maximize our space while making everyone as comfortable as possible. Not this year. I’m bringing in one extra table and several TV trays. My husband would rather eat from his recliner, anyway.

I realized that while I was trying to make everything perfect for the people I love, I was depriving myself of their company by being too busy to enjoy their visit. This year, I’m going to join in the laughter and fellowship. I’m having fun with my family. Who cares if we all eat in a straight line or not? The important thing is that we are together and thankful for each other.

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