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Author Topic: Who should host Thanksgiving  (Read 851 times)

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Meletiquette

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Who should host Thanksgiving
« on: July 30, 2015, 09:08:34 PM »
I realize it's 4 months away, but I'm already concerned about how this situation will play out.

My husband's brother recently bought a new house, and he and his wife indicated that they would like to host Thanksgiving this year. My MIL and FIL are resistant to this idea, as they host every year and enjoy being the hub of the holiday activity. One issue, however, is that they are putting their house up for sale soon, and it is possible that they will not be able to host - even if they have a new place by then, they are planning to downsize and may not be able to accommodate a large group. I think my BIL/SIL have offered to host both because they expect my MIL/FIL to be unable to do so and because they feel like they finally live somewhere large enough to accommodate everyone.

...Except they don't. Their dining room set seats 10, although I would say it seats only 8 comfortably. At minimum there will be 11 adults and 3 children (ages 2 to 4) attending dinner. 11 adults around the table would be tight, but there isn't enough room to include a kids table in the same room. My MIL does not like the idea that some of us might need to eat dinner in a different room (across the house), but it looks like that will need to happen if BIL/SIL end up hosting.

Our house could accommodate  the 11 adults and 3 children, plus my mom (who lives with us and is usually invited to MIL's, but probably wouldn't be invited to BIL's) because we have an open layout where we can fit one long table or multiple smaller tables in the same room. My husband and I are hesitant to suggest hosting, however, primarily because we don't want to step on BIL/SIL's toes. We've never offered to host before, and feel it may seem like we are being competitive with them if we offer now. In addition, we usually visit other family members and friends for several rounds of desserts after dinner with husband's family, so we would't want to be tied down with guests when we have other places to be.

BIL/SIL don't see any problems with the space and think we'll all fit just fine, but I can see this being an issue every year now going forward, and it is already bothering my MIL (who I think is having a hard time accepting the changes that come with putting the house where they raised their children up for sale). Part of me wants to just cook a small Thanksgiving dinner for my husband, 2 kids, and mom and meet up with husband's family later on, but my MIL balked at that idea when I mentioned it. However, if we are going to end up in a different room from everyone else anyways, we might as well be in a room at our own house, right? I'm trying to figure out what the best solution is that will make everyone happy, but having trouble finding an acceptable one. Anyone go through this before?

FauxFoodist

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2015, 09:18:11 PM »
Don't offer to host (as it doesn't sound like it would work at all for you and, yes, might seem like you're competing with BIL/SIL).

Let the chips fall where they may.  If Thanksgiving is less than ideal this year, so be it.  Another solution will be figured out next year.  If things actually work out, then great!  I realize, ideally, holidays happen with no problems and are wonderful but if there already seems to be issues, I'd just stand back and let things transpire without your participation (that's what DH and I are trying to do for next year after this year's family vacation fiasco).

sammycat

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2015, 09:26:47 PM »
I would go along with this year's plan of having it at SIL/BIL's and then suggest we (you) and SIL/BIL alternate each year. Or every third year if MIL still wants to do it as well, and it's practical to hold it at her new house. 

ETA: Does SIL have a card table that could be added to the main table to extend it for everyone to sit around?  I also think if other people want to have a turn at hosting, then it's unreasonable of MIL to want to hijack it every year.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 09:29:49 PM by sammycat »

o_gal

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 07:05:48 AM »
I agree with the suggestion that you go ahead and let BIL/SIL host this year, and if it turns out to be less than ideal to then talk about alternating or some other arrangement.

I just wanted to suggest that BIL/SIL may be able to get more people around the table if they do not serve on the table. Instead, make a buffet-type line that everyone goes through in the kitchen or another room. If you do not have to make room for serving dishes on the table, it might be possible for people to go more "vertical" in their place settings. They could keep their beverage glass above the plate instead of the traditional placing, and other stuff like that.

Daffydilly

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 07:19:27 AM »
Give your bil/sil the chance to host this year. And adapt each year as works best for your family unit. How do you know if you'll enjoy until you try it at their place? They may have different traditions and there's nothing wrong with that. Mil is old enough to accept an invitation or refuse it. People move, traditions change and she's old enough to graciously adapt without making it about her wants.

Have you ever wanted to just have a Thanksgiving at home with just your main family? Why wouldn't you want to do that at least once? Mil and fil can have a visit on another day that is just as meaningful with your family. I rather enjoy having a family day on Thanksgiving for just us. We bake one meat dish, have two side dishes ready to toss into the oven and some desserts. It's minimal compared to a huge dinner, but is relaxed and lets me enjoy more time with my family. We watch the parade, play games and kick back together.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 08:51:44 AM »
Give BIL/SIL their chance to host this year, if it doesn't work out you can make other plans for future years.

I grew up in big family and we often had 20 or more for turkey day.  There was the dining room table, the kitchen table and card tables set up to accommodate everyone, I see no issue with additional tables. My best friend's family have used the kitchen table, the porch table and what we used to call tv trays in the living room.  I don't know if it's our area, our generation or our family dynamics but we both consider Thanksgiving to be a big family deal and someone different hosts almost every year with tables set up throughout to accommodate everyone.

I used to love Thanksgiving and for a few years I was the host and I love all the cooking and serving, even the cleanup doesn't bother me.  Now that we are so spread out we rarely have the big deal we used to.  My bro & sil have tried to host but just don't have the cooking facilities to pull it off and now I don't have the room or inclination.  Some years I just make a dish and go to best friends. 




 

z_squared82

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2015, 08:53:28 AM »
I agree with previous posters. Don’t borrow trouble. Let BIL/SIL host this year – if it turns out a mess, well, at least you know it’s an actual mess not a theoretical mess.

MIL has months to get used to the idea of traditions changing. And she really does need to get used to that idea – change is after all the only constant.

And, no, eating in a different room is not the same as eating in a different house. Don’t you all socialize before or after the meal? And if there’s clean-up time in between the meal and dessert, people can switch spots to talk to different people.

cattlekid

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2015, 09:04:32 AM »
Parking my POD right here. My mom has nine brothers and sisters.  In the heyday when everyone still lived in the same area, it would have been 25-30 for any holiday.  There were two adult tables in the main part of the house and a kids table on the enclosed porch. 

No one ever worried about who sat where.  The meal itself lasted mere moments compared to the rest of the day.  And yes, we always did buffet style which was the only thing that would work with such a large group.

I grew up in big family and we often had 20 or more for turkey day.  There was the dining room table, the kitchen table and card tables set up to accommodate everyone, I see no issue with additional tables. My best friend's family have used the kitchen table, the porch table and what we used to call tv trays in the living room.  I don't know if it's our area, our generation or our family dynamics but we both consider Thanksgiving to be a big family deal and someone different hosts almost every year with tables set up throughout to accommodate everyone.

 

SamiHami

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2015, 09:22:05 AM »
I agree with other posters; if bil/sil want to host, why argue? Mil might have a hard time with it at first, but she doesn't get to own the holidays.

My only concern is your mom. Will she have somewhere to go? Will she just be sitting at home alone? I hate to think of an elderly person left all alone on a holiday while the other household members go off to celebrate.

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Klein Bottle

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2015, 09:29:37 AM »
I agree with other posters; if bil/sil want to host, why argue? Mil might have a hard time with it at first, but she doesn't get to own the holidays.

My only concern is your mom. Will she have somewhere to go? Will she just be sitting at home alone? I hate to think of an elderly person left all alone on a holiday while the other household members go off to celebrate.

I was wondering the same thing about your mom. Also, if your in-laws are aware that she lives with you, is there any particular reason they would not extend the invitation to her, as well?
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camlan

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2015, 09:40:19 AM »
I think MIL is unhappy in some way about the move, and it is coming out with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, and having two tables in different parts of the house, is a symptom, not the main problem.

But the situation with having everyone in two rooms could use a little creative thinking. My aunt put a card table in the front hall for big dinners. There was a large archway from the dining room to the front hall, so that everyone could still see and hear each other. Or a card table could be butted up to the main dining table, if there's space in the dining room. My parents once moved the dining table into the living room, which was considerably longer, and put a second dining table next to it, creating one long table that seated 24. My grandparents would seat all the adults in the dining room and the kids on the front porch. The dining room had windows opening on to the porch, so that the adults could monitor the high-jinks going on outside.

But I suspect the real problem is that MIL doesn't want to give up hosting and the argument about two rooms is her way of showing this. And that could use some tact from the rest of the family.
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rose red

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2015, 10:09:07 AM »
I was going to suggest putting the kids in a different room as I grew up like that and those meals are some of my fondest memories. But then I saw the children are 2-4 so that won't work.

Since you'd like to have Thanksgiving meal at your own house, why not have a private family meal on the other side of the house? And if that's going to happen and if it were me, I would insist that my mom be included (that is, if your mom wants to be included in the first place).

eta: Again, if it were me and if my mom is not invited, I would rsvp "no" because that side of the family is not more important than my side.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 10:12:49 AM by rose red »

Arila

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 10:14:41 AM »
I also think you should let* your BIL/SIL host. Provided that your mother has somewhere to go (where she wants to go, not where she's stuffed into some other plan), I think you should go, be gracious and good-natured guests, prepared to do your part to make the occasion be happy and go well. This includes going in with an attitude that it will be a good dinner and a good holiday and not looking for all the ways it's different (!= awful!) or how you would have done it. Yes, it is her duty to provide adequate hosting, but it is your duty as a guest to overlook minor difficulties and errors, participate in creating the overall pleasant atmosphere, being flexible about seating arrangements, and in urgent situations (such as frequently comes up when a young woman hosts a big dinner for the first time**), being willing to jump in to help.



*I don't use this word in terms of permission, but in terms of "Let it go" Let go of all your worries about it, let go of all of your expectations about it, let go of any urge to nit-pick details about it.

**The first T-day I hosted I very insistently told my mother that no, I didn't want any help in the kitchen, because a) it was too small, b) I wanted to do it myself! I was so excited to try and have all my friends over and do this thing. Then...in the midst of the complex choreography of trying to get all the hot dishes on the table at exactly the same time, the gravy was lumpy. "MOOOOOMMM!!! HELP!!"

Meletiquette

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2015, 11:07:01 AM »
OP here - thanks all for your feedback. I agree it's probably best to just let BIL/SIL have this one. I think it will only take one time for them to realize that their house isn't laid out in such a way to accommodate the formal sit-down Thanksgiving dinner that they envision, and we will either move to a buffet style or a different venue in the future.

Regarding my mom, she will most likely go to my grandparents' house if she doesn't tag along with us. They are in their early 80s (my mom is almost 60), but still relatively healthy, and that is where my mom's brothers and sisters usually gather. They are usually one of our "dessert stops" - we pop in and say hi and they can see the kids, but we don't stay long because the house is very small. If my mom had nowhere else to go, I would definitely make plans to have our own small dinner at home and make BIL/SIL one of the "dessert stops" rather than abandon my mom on the holiday.

Regarding MIL, she likes to pout when things don't go her way, but we all live within 15 minutes of each other, so it's not as big a deal as she makes it - we will certainly see her at some point that weekend if not that day. Whether or not we are eating turkey when we see her is kind of beside the point.

CocoCamm

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Re: Who should host Thanksgiving
« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 04:06:09 PM »
As someone whose thanksgivings always include around 20 people I just wanted to note that no matter how large the space of how long the table you're really only able to hold a conversation with those closest to you any way. The people at the opposite end of the table may as well be in another room of the house!