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To Wait Or Not To Wait…That Is The Pot Luck

I’ll keep this short and sweet:

You’re invited to a pot luck lunch with a group of people at noon, and then cards at 1:00. Everyone brings their dish and places it on the countertop. But, at 12:10 the hostess has not even put her dish in the oven yet. What do you do if you are the hostess?

1. Tell your guests to eat the food that is out (some items are hot) and have yours when it is finished.
2. Tell your guests to wait to eat anything until the item in the oven is finished.
3. Put your dish away and eat with everyone. 1107-18

Option 1


Thanksgiving Hosting Advice

I am looking for advice for hosting a thanksgiving feast next year.

Previously my mother has hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas eve, but my father is now gone so my sister and I are taking over.

I have a more formal layout to my home, so I agreed to host Thanksgiving and she will host Christmas Eve. That is not an issue. The issue is how to stop some rather odd issues I simply hadn’t anticipated. I am hoping for advice on how to nip them on the bud politely as my mother is a big stickler on being me remaining polite and I don’t want to start (another) family feud.

The house is an old Victorian with one door the front and two that lead into the side and back of the kitchen. Everyone walked around the house – passing by the front door where people in the living room were clearly visible (my in-laws were in the living room and the game was on the tv), and came in the side door into the kitchen where I was frantically cooking and really needed my space. Can I ask them to use the main door or even go back around without being rude? I have a large front porch and wood floors so it was not a matter of trying to spare the carpeting or anything.

Then came my sister’s spouse (A) and her mother in law (B). Her spouse demanded my husband hang up her coat, he was running about setting up so instead of serving her he politely directed her to the coat rack by the front door. A got pissed that he would not tend to her and literally threw her coat across the living room at the coat rack. Never mind we had the fireplace lit so that wasn’t safe for her property, it was exceptionally rude. What can I do to get them to use the front door and the coat rack like grown adults without inciting another tantrum?

While attempting to lay out dinner on the table people kept wandering into the kitchen. Is there a nice way to tell them to go away for 15 minutes? Should I post a guard? I can’t imagine why they thought that was the right time to send a young child into the kitchen asking for a different drink.

B then brought out a camera and proceeded to take pictures of everything, even when asked not to. She told me she was on a mission to take pictures of all the animals… I did not want nor ask her too but I was fine with that if it made her happy. What I wasn’t fine with was the stalking of the people that did not want pictures taken – including myself, my MIL, my husband, and my mother. I eventually asked her to stop because it felt like the paparazzi was fallowing me about and she told me ‘that was just the way it is’. I told her it was not that way in my home and we were in my home and it was making people uncomfortable. She put the camera down for about five minutes before resuming her reign of terror. My mother has told me she intends to tell her she is not invited if she brings the camera, but could I do anything to stop this? Everyone hated it and I feel bad that I couldn’t stop it.

My mother in law then tried to help so kindly by assisting with the dishes. I am still searching for my dishes (how do you hide a dozen water glasses? It has been almost a week and I still haven’t tracked them down!) What polite tricks does anyone have to share with me to nip that one in the bud? My knife block was positively barren but I have been discovering shears and knives all over the place!

I won’t go into the attitude A threw because it was her first time at our house even though she declined one dinner invitation already and we have only owned it for 7 months! I figure that battle is best ignored as A likes to be dramatic and it is easiest to not acknowledge her tantrums.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have the cooking down pat, but handling family is like herding cats and I could use some helpful hints!

Thank you in advance for anything you have to give. 1128-17


Halloween brought about lots of posts on social media, all similar to the one below, that, in my opinion, nagged us at best and admonished and chastised adults at worst.

“For those passing out candy this year….when a teenager comes to your door….please give them the candy…. without saying, “aren’t you too old to be doing this?”….because they could be out doing things much worse. Let them be kids as long as they can. Kids grow up way too fast. Let them spend one evening channeling their inner childhood ~ Thank you

Also, please don’t refuse a child candy because they aren’t dressed up. Some children have autism or have sensory issues that make dressing up highly uncomfortable, if not unbearable. And some can’t afford it.

Think about providing alternatives to candy for those who cannot have food dyes or have allergies – toys or stickers etc

One last thing, size doesn’t always determine mental age or special needs. You may see a teenager, but they may still relate as a younger child!
Be kind!”

I’ve thought about this a lot. I wondered if maybe I was slightly offended/annoyed because Halloween wasn’t a big deal in my family when I was growing up. Then I thought maybe it was because I’m getting older. Then I realized the reason I don’t like it is because I feel it is rude to give people rules or instructions in advance for showing up at your home and asking for (or in some cases, demanding) candy. I am a thoughtful and kind human being and I don’t need a lecture about how to treat people that I’m welcoming onto my property and giving treats to. The post feels entitled and just rubs me the wrong way.

I stopped giving out Halloween candy last year when only a small handful of children thanked me out of dozens. The parents were standing right there too and made no attempts to coax their child(ren) into manners. Giving out candy to ungrateful and entitled kids (and parents) is not my cup of tea, y’all.

Would love to hear thoughts and experiences. Before any of you make assumptions, I work with children and love them. My husband and I don’t have any yet but over my dead body would my child dare not say thank you to Every. Single. Person. they take candy from. 1031-18


You make an interesting point. Do hosts have an obligation to cater to specific needs of every possible child that comes trick or treating to their house?

An acquaintance of mine posted to Facebook that we should give candy to teenagers who are not in costume because “it’s hard to go through puberty”. Hmmm…puberty was challenging when I was a kid way back in the ancient times and yet nearly all of us stopped by age 13 because it seemed shameful to keep trick or treating at that age.  At age 13 and after we were hosting our own Halloween parties in the garage or creating fun ways to distribute candy at our own houses.

I believe because trick or treating after age 13 was viewed as childish when I was young, the culture of trick or treating from house to house remained the domain of the pre-teens and toddlers resulting in nearly 100% of the houses in the neighborhoods participating in distributing candy.  Not so today.

Give candy to teenagers as an alternative to them “doing things much worse”?   Like vandalism?  Theft?  If they are already doing “much worse things”, how naive is it to think that trick or treating for a few hours will change that behavior?   Giving them candy simply becomes protection “money” to keep them from egging your house, toilet papering the trees, keying your car and flattening your tires.

If Halloween trick or treating has been reduced to catering to the sugar demands of teenagers so conflicted with the agonies of puberty that they must be distracted for a few hours to keep from “doing much worse”,  it is reasonable that people reject that kind of extortion and decline to hand out candy to anyone.

And we didn’t just go house to house acquiring candy when I was a kid.   Trick or Treating For UNICEF was common and I did it at age 12.   Instead of a bag to collect candy,  there was a small box that was carried and when the door opened,  the kid said, “Trick or treat for UNICEF!”   Host deposited a quarter, a dime, whatever into the box and the proceeds later donated to UNICEF.   On Halloween at our house there was a bowl of candy and a small pile of coins ready for the UNICFers.    It’s a great organization serving children and the organization still offers their Trick or Treat For UNICEF boxes.   But how many of you have ever heard of it or had a child knock at your asking for a tiny donation?


Thanksgiving Gratitude Calendar

November is a good month to focus on an attitude of gratitude. This calendar can help prompt ideas of what to be grateful for.

You can print this at https://i0.wp.com/www.traci-smith.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/November2018GratitudePractices.jpeg?resize=768%2C593


Shrieks Of Dining Joy

What would you do in this situation?

Ifyou think saying something will have any effect on the situation, watch this:

While the scenario is different, it’s a baby shrieking in distress as opposed to a toddler shrieking for the sheer fun of it, the surrounding diners don’t appear to be bothered by the disruption.

Saying something to the parents never works. Never. It’s a recipe for even more drama. I’ve concluded that the only option is to ask the manager to move you to a table farther away, if possible. The silent act of having your entire meal packed up and moved does speak volumes that you do not prefer to be in close proximity to that much noise, distraction and chaos.