Author Topic: Using guests as free labour.  (Read 32448 times)

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MissRose

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2008, 07:34:21 AM »
At the recent thanksgiving dinner my parents hosted, everyone pitched in a way to help with dinner and cleanup duties:

*My sister's 2 kids helped to set the table with help from grandparents or my sister plus the kids proudly told me that they helped do simple things like wash potatoes and poke and wrap them in foil for baking

*I brought dessert, helped clear the table as needed and putting food away later on, and filling glasses/mugs with beverages

*My Aunt and uncle brought a salad to pass.  My aunt also helped me and my sister make turkey gravy as me & my sis couldn't get the gravy to thicken properly but she gave us some hints to follow that we wont forget that worked out great.  My uncle helped my dad a bit with the turkey (getting it out of the pan and carving it).

*My father washed dishes and later on tore the remaining turkey off the bones & packaged and leftover turkey was sent home with a few people and remainder kept with my parents. He also had to go out and purchase the food items needed for my mother to make dinner including dinner rolls.

*My mother cooked the turkey, green bean casserolle and a few other things.

*My sister helped with some food preparation and made deviled eggs.

RoseRose

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #46 on: December 15, 2008, 05:06:57 AM »
I just realized something.  At the latest Thanksgiving dinner (which was three families instead of the normal two this year) the younger generation may have helped cook... I know I did, I don't know about the others, and possibly the hosts' kids set the table, but the ADULTS set everything out.  Cleaning was also the adults for the most part, other than clearing our own dishes.  Oh, and the "kids"?  There were four of us at 21 (the hosts' twin daughters, one daughter's fiance, and myself), my 16 year old brother, and the fiance's younger sister, at I think... 13?  Maybe.

I've never been asked to pitch in solely because of my age.  I've pitched in, because my family was hosting, or because it was polite, or because everyone was, and a few times because it was semi-gender segregated... all the INTERESTING women were in the kitchen.  Now, at 21, I'm passing the teen point for this.  I do think it is rude to do so.



Asharah

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2011, 09:59:29 PM »
Back to OP, I wonder if the kids were acting like brats because they were mad about being fed mac&cheese on Thanksgiving. I would probably not have been thrilled if I was expected to eat mac&cheese, which I don't really like on Thanksgiving instead of the turkey. Thankfully, my parents never pulled something like that.
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Aeris

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #48 on: December 10, 2011, 04:25:53 AM »
On a purely developmental note, one has to wonder what happens to kids who are treated as the small kids in this story were treated. I mean, if you grow up with holiday meals, for your entire childhood and teenage years, consisting of being relegated to a back room and given a plate of mac and cheese - one would think you would have absolutely no typical connection to the holiday whatsoever.

I would imagine that any kid that got this treatment consistently would escape holidays as soon as they were physically able (teenager? drive self to movies instead?) and would reach adulthood treating Thanksgiving like just another day. There would be no fond memories of stories around the dinner table, no fond memories of grandma's stuffing, no misty memories of grandpa carving the turkey, or even *eating* turkey period...

It's just really weird to me to keep children out of every typical aspect of a tradition. What a sure way to ensure the tradition dies.

Nora

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #49 on: December 10, 2011, 10:33:45 AM »
On a purely developmental note, one has to wonder what happens to kids who are treated as the small kids in this story were treated. I mean, if you grow up with holiday meals, for your entire childhood and teenage years, consisting of being relegated to a back room and given a plate of mac and cheese - one would think you would have absolutely no typical connection to the holiday whatsoever.

I would imagine that any kid that got this treatment consistently would escape holidays as soon as they were physically able (teenager? drive self to movies instead?) and would reach adulthood treating Thanksgiving like just another day. There would be no fond memories of stories around the dinner table, no fond memories of grandma's stuffing, no misty memories of grandpa carving the turkey, or even *eating* turkey period...

It's just really weird to me to keep children out of every typical aspect of a tradition. What a sure way to ensure the tradition dies.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. What a way to ruin holidays for kids.  :-\
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violinp

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #50 on: December 10, 2011, 12:10:01 PM »
My sister and I were looped into babysitting our 10 years junior cousin when we were 17...by another aunt. Yes, not her kid - she didn't have kids of her own that we might have to watch, but she "insisted" that we do it. I'm pretty sure my cousin's mother had no idea that we were forced to do this. I was so mad at the aunt who forced us to do that.

This aunt also thought it was perfectly okay to question a 7 year old about politics, berate my mom for wanting to cook Grandpa's birthday dinner (apparently, since Mom never cooked for a living, she didn't have a right to cook the birthday dinner  ::)), and insist that my dad "didn't need" to take his psoriasis meds, because he just needs to get back to nature*.

I love the uncle that married her, but I am so glad that aunt lives on the other side of the country from me.

*For the record, I don't think natural remedies are bunk; I just really don't think you need to try and override a doctor's advisement when you know nothing of which you are speaking.
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Rohanna

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #51 on: December 10, 2011, 12:27:11 PM »
I agree - I mean the "typical" turkey dinner is pretty kid-friendly, so to serve them something so differ t is very alien to me. I don't object to kids meals in theory, just in this instance they seem unnecessary and against the spirit of the season. It's not like at a wedding where the food comes plated and your worried they will not like the bouillabaisse and they'll waste the lamb - you just plate them an appropriate portion of corn turkey and taters ....
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #52 on: December 18, 2011, 04:18:46 PM »
I agree - I mean the "typical" turkey dinner is pretty kid-friendly, so to serve them something so differ t is very alien to me. I don't object to kids meals in theory, just in this instance they seem unnecessary and against the spirit of the season. It's not like at a wedding where the food comes plated and your worried they will not like the bouillabaisse and they'll waste the lamb - you just plate them an appropriate portion of corn turkey and taters ....

On a similar note, what about nutrition? I would have happily had only mac and cheese for dinner (but not on Thanksgiving!) as a kid, but my mom never would allow it because there is not enough nutrition in it alone.

Also, I can't believe no adults intervened. That makes me angry for the OP.
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Dr_Manners

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2012, 03:35:32 PM »
This reminds me of something that happened when I was a teenager.  My aunt and uncle (mom's brother and his wife) were hosting a family Thanksgiving that included both sides of the family (meaning, the family I was related to through mom/uncle, and my aunt's siblings and their children).  In general, this isn't an issue.  We have all met my aunt's siblings and their children many times, and we all got along famously...for the most part.

At this particular Thanksgiving, my aunt and uncle had gone to great lengths to set up the table so that we could all sit together.  In their basement, they rented and set up an extra long dining table with three extensions put in.  This meant that all 16 people in attendance (children and adults) could sit together.  Both my uncle and aunt are the youngest of their particular siblings, and grew up hating the notion of a "kids' table," since being the youngest relegated each of them there well in to early adulthood.  It was well organized, very thoughtful on their part, and made for a nice familial setting.

Well, that is, until my aunt's older sister showed up with her 8 year-old daughter in tow.  Aunt's sister, who I will call Karen, had made it clear that she and her "precious angel" (her words, not mine), would not be in attendance at Thanksgiving.  As such, 16 people RSVP'd, and 16 places were set at the table (which was rented to seat, you guessed, 16).

When Karen noticed that there were not enough places at the table, Aunt made a mad dash to the neighbor's house to borrow two folding chairs from them in order to accommodate Karen and "Precious".  She then spent 15 minutes rearranging the table, the seating, the place settings, the food, the candles...everything.  Karen was not happy still, because that meant things would be too crowded.

Karen then set up folding trays in the living room (upstairs from the rest of the family), for my sister and I to eat at.  Since we were the oldest of the kids in attendance (my sister being 18 while I was 15), Karen thought we would best handle eating alone.  The other kids, she felt, would be too upset to handle it.  Aunt, a normally lovely woman, didn't say a word about it (perhaps out of fear of a very domineering older sister...but, that is just my speculation).  Uncle was busy frying the turkey on the back patio (yummy...fried turkey) to notice the commotion inside.  And, thus, the people hosting did not object.

When my parents finally noticed what was happening, the family was sitting down to eat (with my sister and I banished to the living room alone).  My father asked why my sister and I were put upstairs, to which Karen responded "Oh, well, it would be crowded with 18 of us so I thought it best that they eat upstairs, they'll be fine."  Aunt and Uncle just stayed quiet, while the rest of the adults' mouths hit the floor.  This was not going to fly with my parents who filled their plates along with everyone else, then stood up with their plates, silverware, and glasses and marched upstairs.  When Aunt asked mom what was going on, she stared right at Karen and said "if our children are not sitting at this table, then neither are we."  :)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 03:38:35 PM by Dr_Manners »

AmethystAnne

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2012, 04:49:25 PM »
Dr. Manners, you've got good parents!

Venus193

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2012, 05:12:37 PM »
By the gods.

I'm glad the writer never had to experience another holiday at Linda's house.  She sounds like a nightmare and a half.  I would have found a way to leave.

Asharah

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #56 on: January 29, 2012, 05:48:56 PM »
Dr_Manners, I'm sure the OP would have loved to have had parents like yours.
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kherbert05

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #57 on: January 29, 2012, 07:08:04 PM »
On a purely developmental note, one has to wonder what happens to kids who are treated as the small kids in this story were treated. I mean, if you grow up with holiday meals, for your entire childhood and teenage years, consisting of being relegated to a back room and given a plate of mac and cheese - one would think you would have absolutely no typical connection to the holiday whatsoever.

I would imagine that any kid that got this treatment consistently would escape holidays as soon as they were physically able (teenager? drive self to movies instead?) and would reach adulthood treating Thanksgiving like just another day. There would be no fond memories of stories around the dinner table, no fond memories of grandma's stuffing, no misty memories of grandpa carving the turkey, or even *eating* turkey period...

It's just really weird to me to keep children out of every typical aspect of a tradition. What a sure way to ensure the tradition dies.
POD - I have fond memories of curling up just in the shadows and listening to all the stories the adults told. They would forget I was awake (Most of the other kids were asleep. One other cousin in Canada would also hide in the shadows.) My Aunts and older cousins were shocked at all the stories I knew - they thought I was too young to have heard them.
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kherbert05

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #58 on: January 29, 2012, 07:18:11 PM »
[Dr. Manners - You have fantastic parents.

I tend to babysit the kids, because

1. I love them.

2. I have a low tolerance for them running around the house(s)

So after we finish eating/cleaning up, I tend to take them for a walk to the nearest park/playground/school to run off steam. The nappers in the family all tend to crash and burn for about an hour. I take a book, walk them to the playground and let them loose. They don't need me to supervise generally. When we get back the adults are waking up, and the youngest kids tend to crash. The older kids are a bit between and betwix - sometimes they play quietly and listen to the adults, sometimes they play in the backroom while watching a video.
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Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Using guests as free labour.
« Reply #59 on: January 30, 2012, 10:17:56 AM »
On a purely developmental note, one has to wonder what happens to kids who are treated as the small kids in this story were treated. I mean, if you grow up with holiday meals, for your entire childhood and teenage years, consisting of being relegated to a back room and given a plate of mac and cheese - one would think you would have absolutely no typical connection to the holiday whatsoever.

I would imagine that any kid that got this treatment consistently would escape holidays as soon as they were physically able (teenager? drive self to movies instead?) and would reach adulthood treating Thanksgiving like just another day. There would be no fond memories of stories around the dinner table, no fond memories of grandma's stuffing, no misty memories of grandpa carving the turkey, or even *eating* turkey period...

It's just really weird to me to keep children out of every typical aspect of a tradition. What a sure way to ensure the tradition dies.

You know, it's been a while since I read this and for some reason, it's significance just hit me. THIS is probably exactly why I don't get the least bit excited about Holidays in general. I never really thought about it until now...  How insightful....

I don't have fond memories of any Holiday with my family, or my step family. We did have Christmas at home (when dad was actually home), but it was usually swift and filled with a sense of "order". My dad insisted it was always done his way, and there was always very little time for play or traditions because we had to do whatever it was my dad wanted immediately after.

When we traveled to the out of state families, us kids were banished to another part of the house and I was always somehow put in charge of the kids, including my little sister.  I resented that I had to travel, get up early, get dressed up, and then spend the whole time, watching the kids of relatives or family friends that I only ever saw once every couple years. I never really got to eat because I was busy corralling someones misbehaved kid.
As I got older, that job was "passed down" to the younger relatives (lucky them  ::)  and I was pretty much left out of the "festivities" all together; I was either made to "help" or completely banished to hang out on my own because I was "in the way".  By the time I reached my late teens and was already living on my own (I lived on my own by 17), and mom re-married, Holiday's became "obligatory" events in which I made an appearance at.  I learned the first year to drive myself so I could escape. Holidays with the step family were for " the kids". I hardly ever received gifts, was one of the last to be in line to eat, and was pretty much on my own in all aspects. Thanksgivings were pretty much the same.  When I was older, we had to spend them with the step family, in my step grandmothers dank basement. I always ended up next to my step fathers senile Grandma and my socially awkward step sister. And the the drunk step-uncle.

I do however, have one fond memory of one Christmas at my Grandmothers. My sister and I did not have a great upbringing; I was forced to grow up quickly. On top of many many other issues (abuse being one), my dad at the time was stationed overseas with the Army, and my mom brought us up to my Gramma's for Christmas that year. My older cousin was there that same year, home on leave. We weren't that close (huge age gap) but he made a point to make sure my sister and I (just kids at the time) were treated well that year. He spent his whole Christmas morning on the floor playing Barbies with us. He took us outside to sled and build a snowman, and even let us curl up in bed with him and watch movies that afternoon. He is my only good Christmas memory and ironically, that's the last time I saw him. We lost touch after that.  :(
That's also the year that my Grandfather's Christmas Eve tradition of watching White Christmas started. To this day, that is the ONLY tradition I have.

I stopped spending Holidays with my family years ago. I prefer to spend them with my in-laws. Or with just DH and me at home in our jammies.  :P