Football won't help me.
And I do need to be aware of that "hate to arrive empty-handed" thing. In the aunts' generation, they *did* pitch in and bring food, and help cook, etc., for family gatherings. It may have been at one aunt's house, but it was more of a joint production.
So I'm going to have to navigate between those two urges--theirs to help out and feel part of the holiday, and mine to just be able to operate freely.
(Sometimes it's as much a logistical thing as an "I have my pride" thing*. My MIL and FIL pressured me into letting them take over the graduation lunch and hold it in a restaurant partly because they thought I was starting late and would have too much to do, and MIL was not feeling well enough to do what she would do--and any delay on my part was because I was trying to accommodate MIL in terms of planning an event good enough for her. I learned my lesson out of that--I'm a grownup; I've thrown parties for 35 people before; I know how to do this without any help. And it's just easier than worrying about hurting people's feelings, or letting them have "their space" inside the planning process, etc. And I ended up not pleasing them anyway. And *really* not pleasing myself.)
*I'll be honest, some of it very much is an "I'll do it myself" feelings--I end up thinking, "what am I, a toddler?"