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Author Topic: We'd rather not have your hospitality....Anticlimactic update, #10  (Read 10018 times)

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Calypso

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  So....as regards Thanksgiving and Christmas.....
 Our small group consists of two elderly people with handicaps (Mom, DH), three middle aged kids (me, my bro and his wife) and maybe an appearance by bro's 2 adult daughters (don't know if they'll be with their Mom or us this year or somewhere else altogether). Oh, and possibly SIL's sister as well.

Bro and SIL are dear, kind, hospitable people with a comfortable house, but the last few times we've done holidays with them, they exhausted themselves so much cooking way, way too much food, decorating to the nines, and cleaning and shopping and......I know, sounds terrible, right?  ::)  You just have to take my word for it that they overdid, including having to ask us to come later than originally planned and then having to keep cooking for quite a while after we arrived.

Don't get me wrong, they are truly lovely people and we love them, but by the time dinner was over (and who could do justice to it after sampling the 9,000 appetizers and having a drink?) Mom and DH were grey with exhaustion, and I had to take them right home. I couldn't help with clean up, and I felt very guilty knowing I was leaving my (none too healthy themselves) bro and SIL with a ton MORE work.

I've had holidays at my place several times and had a great time doing it (I work in small bits over a longer period of time, and just don't do more than I'm comfortable doing), but SIL is allergic to our cats. She came a couple of Christmases after taking antihistamines, but she says it wasn't really effective and she ended up feeling lousy for days after the last time I hosted.

Last Thanksgiving, Mom and I strongly suggested we all go out ---- we thought it was a great solution, we'd just be able to enjoy each other's company. BIL and Sis didn't want to do that, they wanted to host. OK, we said, how about we buy dinner at Marie Callender's and have it at your house? They said yes to that, but then made so many dishes on top of that (it wasn't enough to have turkey, dressing, veg, rolls, pie, mashed potatoes and stuffing from Marie C---we had to also have ham, sweet potatoes, another veg, salad, different bread, additional desserts, and did I mention the 9,000 appetizers? Did I mention there are (at most) 5 of us, all of us people with not huge appetites? Eeeeek!----it ended up being just as stressful for them (and us)).

Mom, who is 87 and has heart problems, just can't do a long party! She'd much rather visit with Bro and SIL than sit in the next room with us (and the TV on) and a drink while they cook and cook and cook.....

Any ideas how we can gently persuade our sweet family we really, really would prefer to let the pros do the work this year?














« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 03:41:09 AM by Calypso »

gramma dishes

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2015, 10:24:44 PM »

Mom, who is 87 and has heart problems, just can't do a long party! She'd much rather visit with Bro and SIL than sit in the next room with us (and the TV on) and a drink while they cook and cook and cook.....

Any ideas how we can gently persuade our sweet family we really, really would prefer to let the pros do the work this year?

Present it to them exactly like that!  It's just too overwhelming for the older people in the family and they'd rather just have a shorter,  less extravagant meal and more time just talking with people they love.  And actually, so would you!

bopper

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 11:00:16 AM »
My stepmom & Dad would host Christmas eve ...one time she deferred present opening to later to "heighten the anticipation" for the girls..and maybe some neighbors visited too...so we ended up trying to entertain them all evening and then opening presents at 9:30 and then not getting home until midnight and then having to set up our xmas presents and what not. I had to tell her the next year that we will be leaving by 10:00 and that we had to open presents earlier so they had something to play with.  She had no problem and it has been a well oiled machine ever since.

maybe tell them: "I just wanted to talk to you about hosting Thanksgiving...I understand that you guys hosting is the best logistical option.  However, with Mom and Dad, I need to talk to you about starting to change the "goal" of Thanksgiving...up until now you guys are making so much delicious food...but I think we need to think about the length of the  outing vs. the quanitity of (admittedly awesome food).  I think really they are only up to about a 2 hour stint...and they would like that to be sitting with you instead of with us in the den while you guys cook.  That is why we suggested going out.  Now we have no problem going to your house but we have to simplify so I can take them home by 8pm (or whatever).  What do you think about limiting to 2 pre-made appetizers, just Turkey (no ham),  dressing, veg, rolls, pie, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. I can bring some of those so we can reduce the burden on you but also so you can spend more time with Mom and Dad.  In no way am I denigrating your food or dismissing the effort you are undertaking, I think it is just too much for Mom and Dad.   What do you think?"


pierrotlunaire0

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2015, 07:40:34 PM »
Boy, that is a tough one, only because they are trying so hard and mean well.  I think Bopper's idea is the best.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

TriCrazy73

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2015, 12:22:27 PM »
I agree.  Just tell them that last year the holidays were amazing and you appreciate how much work went into it, however, it was just too much for Mom and DH.  "Let's keep it simple this year!  What can I contribute to the meal?"

Maude

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 04:36:23 AM »
Can you make restaurant bookings * now * and tell everyone
"This is what we are doing this year." ?
There will be protestations and lots of " too expensive" s,
and you may have to be prepared to subsidise the cost to some extent,but it could solve the problem
and allow the older folk to enjoy the day.

Remember to take photos!

poundcake

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 04:52:45 AM »
You can even suggest a follow-up meal without the older parents at another time. I know I love doing big, gourmet holiday meals, and no one in my family liked it. But my friends and my husband loved it, so for a few years, the week after, we'd have a much more fancy meal, friends only. It wasn't on the day itself, so we could have the fun of cooking and eating and serving on china that we wanted without Grandparent acutely distressed about "all the work" or Aunt So-and-So complaining or __ and ___ having to eat ___ by ___. Who knows, maybe you'll start a new tradition like we did?

bah12

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2015, 02:41:24 PM »
I'm betting that while it seems really stressful for Bro and SIL that at least one of them loves to do it and takes great joy in it, so to suggest something like buying the dinner and having it brought in, is actually disheartening. I know, because while I wouldn't make 9000 appetizers, cooking a huge Thanksgiving dinner is something I love. Do I stress a little doing it?  Yes.  Am I exhausted when it's over?  Absolutely.  But, for me, it's like prepping to win an olympic gold medal.  The stress and hard work are totally worth it in the end, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Having said that, I do think you can talk to them about the timeline.  Like you did here.  "The long party is too much for Mom and DH.  They can't handle it."  Suggest having lunch instead, or ask brother and SIL if you can come early and help prepare the food, then go pick up Mom and DH just before it's ready to be served.   Mom and DH don't have to be there for appetizers.  The daughters and SIL's sis can enjoy those.

And maybe they can even host a "day after" appetizer get together where Mom and DH can join if they are up for it and able. 

mandycorn

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2015, 01:58:42 PM »
I'm betting that while it seems really stressful for Bro and SIL that at least one of them loves to do it and takes great joy in it, so to suggest something like buying the dinner and having it brought in, is actually disheartening. I know, because while I wouldn't make 9000 appetizers, cooking a huge Thanksgiving dinner is something I love. Do I stress a little doing it?  Yes.  Am I exhausted when it's over?  Absolutely.  But, for me, it's like prepping to win an olympic gold medal.  The stress and hard work are totally worth it in the end, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Having said that, I do think you can talk to them about the timeline.  Like you did here.  "The long party is too much for Mom and DH.  They can't handle it."  Suggest having lunch instead, or ask brother and SIL if you can come early and help prepare the food, then go pick up Mom and DH just before it's ready to be served.   Mom and DH don't have to be there for appetizers.  The daughters and SIL's sis can enjoy those.

And maybe they can even host a "day after" appetizer get together where Mom and DH can join if they are up for it and able.


I think bah's got the right motivation on their part and the right approach you should take. Assume at least one of them enjoys it, and approach it from a "looking out for Mom and DH" perspective, instead of trying to protect them from themselves.
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they are genuine" - Abraham Lincoln 

JoyinVirginia

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2015, 12:54:25 PM »
I think health and endurance is the important part to emphasize. Mom can talk about how she and dad can't eat a huge meal at one sitting anymore, but she loves how sil makes the dressing and Turkey. Dad loves the sweet potatoes the best, but no interest in other sides. their bedtime is earlier and energy not like it used to be, they can stay from one to three and that's all. Oh say you will call and won't leave home until they say Turkey is ready.
Good luck!

Calypso

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....Anticlimactic update, #10
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2015, 03:46:43 AM »
  While over helping my Mom with some stuff today, Brother took me aside and told me that Sis-in-law is stressed out for some family related stuff, and could we go out for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  ::) :D "That sounds like a good idea, sweetie," I told him. Called a place we all like to see if they're open on Thanksgiving....they are.....done!  Christmas, we'll worry about later, but I'm sure whatever it is, will be low key.
   Good lord, are we really only six weeks away from Thanksgiving 10 weeks from Christmas?  :o ???  AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Mustard

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....Anticlimactic update, #10
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2015, 06:47:36 AM »
Good update!

peaches

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....Anticlimactic update, #10
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2015, 11:38:03 AM »
  While over helping my Mom with some stuff today, Brother took me aside and told me that Sis-in-law is stressed out for some family related stuff, and could we go out for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  ::) :D "That sounds like a good idea, sweetie," I told him. Called a place we all like to see if they're open on Thanksgiving....they are.....done!  Christmas, we'll worry about later, but I'm sure whatever it is, will be low key.
   Good lord, are we really only six weeks away from Thanksgiving 10 weeks from Christmas?  :o ???  AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Great update!

And at the end of the meal, you can say "This was so much fun. Let's make it a tradition!"

gramma dishes

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....Anticlimactic update, #10
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2015, 02:17:32 PM »
  While over helping my Mom with some stuff today, Brother took me aside and told me that Sis-in-law is stressed out for some family related stuff, and could we go out for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  ::) :D "That sounds like a good idea, sweetie," I told him. Called a place we all like to see if they're open on Thanksgiving....they are.....done!  Christmas, we'll worry about later, but I'm sure whatever it is, will be low key.
   Good lord, are we really only six weeks away from Thanksgiving 10 weeks from Christmas?  :o ???  AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Great update!

And at the end of the meal, you can say "This was so much fun. Let's make it a tradition!"

Agree!

rose red

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Re: We'd rather not have your hospitality....Anticlimactic update, #10
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2015, 04:54:52 PM »
Anticlimactic is a good thing! :)