Thanksgiving's over and done with now, but I'd like some feedback from eH3ll on this issue just in case it comes up again (as I have a sneaking suspicion it will).
Originally, Mr. Hazel and I planned to spend the holiday at home, cooking and hosting dinner for about 6 out-of-state family members. Invitations had been extended and accepted, and hotel reservations made, but about a week before the holiday, 2 unrelated family emergencies meant that none of our guests would be able to make it. As we didn't want Mr. Hazel's mom (Millie) and her sister (Tillie) to be alone with just each other for the day, we volunteered to change our plans and go to them for Thanksgiving. Millie gladly accepted.
Millie has a small house, with a tiny, cramped kitchen. She also doesn't really enjoy cooking. Knowing this, Mr. Hazel and I suggested as soon as we decided to spend TG in her hometown that we focus on everyone enjoying each other's company for the day, rather than making themselves crazy organizing a Big Holiday Meal. We found several local restaurants that offered a nice Thanksgiving dinner, as well as supermarkets that would prepare some or all of the meal for you (i.e., you pick up your turkey, stuffing, green beans, or all of the above, and just pop it in the oven to heat it up). However, Millie rejected both of these suggestions, insisting that she wanted to have dinner at home and that she and Tillie would prepare everything themselves. We asked in advance if there were a few specific dishes she'd like us to take responsibility for, and she asked Mr. Hazel to make a pie, but said she had everything else under control.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving eve. We're visiting with Millie before heading off to our hotel for the night, and she's running down her checklist of her plans for TG dinner. When she gets to the part about "Mr. Hazel will make his pie, and the 2 of you can help me with the X, Y, and Z," I interrupt, with something like, "Wait a minute. We talked about this last week, and you said you didn't want us to do anything but the pie and the wine. We're happy to run to the grocery store or chop up some veggies for you, but we're not really prepared to do much else -- too many cooks spoil the broth, and all that."
Millie changed the subject and didn't seem offended, but I still feel like perhaps I could have handled the situation better. On one hand, I know that if I hadn't spoken up, we'd have found ourselves tied to Millie's kitchen from daybreak till bedtime, bumping into each other and not being able to find the utensils/ ingredients we needed, with Millie hovering over us either asking for our help or offering her own. (I'm happy to cook up a storm at home, where I know what I have and where it is, or to know in advance that I'm responsible for contributing X to a meal at someone else's house and planning accordingly ... but not to have a wheelbarrow of holiday chores dumped on me at the last minute.) On the other, I felt a bit churlish at having refused to help as requested.