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?