I don't know if you are being overly judgemental - it's possible that there is a back history here that is coloring your view.
This is probably a big part. Maybe it's not so much that it was rude, but past observations of Family F combined with this recent experience made me feel like they were being inconsiderate. The prior Thanksgiving was horrible - they came very late, left very early and did not contribute. M was so disappointed - she wanted to socialize and enjoy her family and it didn't happen.
As for this year, I don't know the full story - that is between M and Family F. The only thing I have to go by is my limited observations. As I mentioned, I would never talk about this with M or Family F - I just wanted to get some perspective so I came here. I think the part that bugs me the most is that I love M and I want her to enjoy her favorite holiday. When I became able to contribute to it, I didn't wait to be asked, I offered to help - especially this year due to P's poor health and her disappointing experience last year. It may be that Family F is just used to M doing everything and not noticing that the situation has been evolving as family grows larger and M and P grow older.
Other general observations - Family F has contributed in the past (sometimes bringing a veggie platter or salad, other times bringing a vegetarian main dish), but they don't do so consistently. Distance isn't a factor as we are all fairly local (within a half-hour's drive or less).
They also went of their way to mention that grandma had told them not to bring anything...
Actually, I don't know if M asked them to bring anything or not. The way Family F worded their response, it let me to believe that M told Family F what everyone else was bringing. This would leave an opening for Family F to offer to bring something, but apparently they felt everything was "all taken care of". But perhaps they offered to bring a veggie tray but M already had one. I think Family F was also contacted last so that may be a big contributing factor
Since I don't know, nor will I ever know, what that conversation was like I won't fret about it.
As for helping out, I don't know if they assisted M with any preparations. I was there for a good portion the day before helping with cleaning and set-up, but it's possible they came by in the evening. On Thanksgiving they arrived after I had, and left before I did. But as some people pointed out, it can be hard to cram a bunch of people in the kitchen for cleanup. M's house is a bit smaller, so that is a very valid point.
I want to thank you all for helping me gain some perspective. I think I just needed to work things out a little bit. I really want to let go of any negative feelings towards Family F, especially as Christmas is coming. I don't really contact Family F much (I don't have their email and we don't communicate via facebook), but I may do so more in the future for group gatherings. After all is said and done, M had a great Thanksgiving this year, all the families stayed later and the adults did something they've never done - actually play games together! I have a truly blessed family if this is the worst thing I can complain about
What about Family E???
Eeek! I had written a completely too long and boring back story with lots of details... and a little part of me thought it was fitting that each family ended up with a "letter grade". Then I went back and edited to simplify and I totally missed this error!