Author Topic: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long) update post 10  (Read 7396 times)

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WhiteTigerCub

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I come to you all for some good honest advice on how I should handle this situation with tact and diplomacy while also setting a boundry with my Toxic Aunt I refer to as Sophie

BG: Up until two years ago Grandma was the main cook for the Thanksgiving dinner where my family would assist with cooking and other things. Last year being the very first without Grandpa, Sophie took Grandma to her DIL family thanksgiving which left my family to have T-day without Grandma. /BG

This year Sophie has determined that Grandma will only cook the Turkey. Fine, the rest of the family has no problem with pitching in with the remaining items of the meal, but essentially were told by Sophie exactly what they should bring. My mom refered an item to me that I have been assigned to bring, (Green Bean Cassarole) but Sophie being the dictator she is has not asked anyone in the family if this is something they even like. My family are not big on vegetables to start with and this is something which I have never liked and know that 90% of the rest of the family do not like either. I am definately not going to bring a food item which I will not eat.

Aside from that, I told my mom, I would not be bringing the cassarole because as I live a two hour drive away, it would be mush by the time dinner rolled around because I would have to make it up the night before or early that morning since Sophie insists on dinner at 11AM (Note in the past we would plan for 2-3 PM or there about, but Sophie would intervene somehow and set dinner on the table at 11AM which would leave me eating leftovers with just my mom sitting with me when I finally got there later and the rest of the family had gone off to nap, watch football ,etc.  ::) )

I do not want Sophie to think it is appropriate to assign me a dish. I have absolutely no problem bringing something to contribute to the meal if I am asked directly by Sophie or Grandma. Seeing as how the information was transfered to me third hand "Sophie expects you to bring..." I have a mind to not bring anything at all because our tradition has never been one that required me to bring anything because of the travel aspect. This is the same rule we apply to everyone who travels the 2+ hours to Grandma's house on holidays. Additionally the only store local to Grandma's house (very rural) is one where I will not patronize at all. I even ask my mom not to buy me presents from the store because I am very against the company in general.  

Here is my question: Now that the T-day tradition has changed, does etiquette require that I bring something just because others are helping to provide the food this time around? even though it has not been communicated to me in a direct manner?


eta: update post # to subject title
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 02:03:23 AM by jania »

Arizona

Rosgrana

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 04:05:16 PM »
I would bring something, both to help your grandmother and to "show willing", but definitely not the casserole. Is there anything which would be useful and travel well that no-one else is likely to be bringing?

If you don't want to bring part of the main meal, what about a cake or nibbles for later in the day, when people are sitting and talking/watching TV/whatever? If you eat at 11am, I daresay people will welcome a mid-afternoon top-up.

boxy

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2010, 01:31:15 PM »
Is there anything preventing you from calling Sophie directly and talking this out?  Something as gentle as, "Hi Sophie, I just wanted to touch base with you and talk about Thanksgiving dinner.  Since it's such a long drive for us I thought if I were to bring ______ (insert dish of choice) it would arrive fresh and tasty.  Will that work with your plans?"

Or:

"Hi Sophie.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone this Thanksgiving.  I understand you've taken on the planning for the meal, thank you so much.  Since I live 2 hours away I'd like to bring __________ so that it won't be soggy (or whatever).  I hope that works for you."

I'm not saying those are the best ways to talk, but it just seems to me if you cut out the middle man and talk to her you might stave off an ugly scene later.

Good luck and happy Thanksgiving.

Suze

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2010, 02:06:29 PM »
ohhh -- insert sneaky evil thought---

bring the green bean dish -- in the cans you bought it in

put it together at Sophie's house

can't eat dinner till it is done.....

plus no potential mess in the car.
Reality is for people who lack Imagination

jayhawk

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2010, 02:08:47 PM »
I'm pretty sure there's already a link or a thread in archives about this - but your post really reminded me of it and I found it here:

http://lifeofshoe.blogspot.com/2010/03/thanksgiving-dictator.html
OP, good luck.

bellawitch

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2010, 02:10:54 PM »
How do the other relatives feel? If they agree with you a united front may be your best bet. Let people say what they will bring, if it seems as if too many desserts are showing up then there can be a 2nd choice. If she is told noone will show up before 2pm she may have to rethink 11am.

KaosP

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2010, 03:48:31 PM »
Is there anything preventing you from calling Sophie directly and talking this out?  Something as gentle as, "Hi Sophie, I just wanted to touch base with you and talk about Thanksgiving dinner.  Since it's such a long drive for us I thought if I were to bring ______ (insert dish of choice) it would arrive fresh and tasty.  Will that work with your plans?"

Or:

"Hi Sophie.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone this Thanksgiving.  I understand you've taken on the planning for the meal, thank you so much.  Since I live 2 hours away I'd like to bring __________ so that it won't be soggy (or whatever).  I hope that works for you."

I'm not saying those are the best ways to talk, but it just seems to me if you cut out the middle man and talk to her you might stave off an ugly scene later.

Good luck and happy Thanksgiving.

POD to this.

I think that due to your past experience with "toxic aunt" Sophie you've already got your back up. But I think you'd be best to just call her and gently mention your concerns.

*hugs* to you, holidays can be so hard!

Melxb

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 12:58:47 PM »
Is there anything preventing you from calling Sophie directly and talking this out?  Something as gentle as, "Hi Sophie, I just wanted to touch base with you and talk about Thanksgiving dinner.  Since it's such a long drive for us I thought if I were to bring ______ (insert dish of choice) it would arrive fresh and tasty.  Will that work with your plans?"

Or:

"Hi Sophie.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone this Thanksgiving.  I understand you've taken on the planning for the meal, thank you so much.  Since I live 2 hours away I'd like to I'll bring __________ so that it won't be soggy (or whatever).  I hope that works for you.  See you on Thanksgiving."

I'm not saying those are the best ways to talk, but it just seems to me if you cut out the middle man and talk to her you might stave off an ugly scene later.

Good luck and happy Thanksgiving.

There I fixed it for you.  It's a bit more assertive, but I think that this wording might work a bit better.  You have to cut off the arguments at the pass, and this is the time to do it.

WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 01:21:49 PM »
Thanks all for your perspective on this.

I found that article linked above to be particullary insightful ;)


Been thinking about this off and on over the last week. I talked to my mom this weekend and verified with her that dinner was scheduled for 2PM. She said that if Aunt Sophie tries to pull the 11AM bit again that she will call me and her and my aunt Jo will pack up their food items and bring them down to my house. :) 

Anyway, seeing as how some of you suggested calling Aunt Sophie directly, I decided to talk to my grandma instead. :D  Due to things Aunt Sophie has done in the past, I have been able to pretty much ignore her at all the family functions and avoid contact with her as much as possible so I'm not really going to go out of my way to contact her. I do a lot of "oh...cat's on fire, lemme go put it out!"

My phone conversation with Grandma was short but good. Grandma said that everyone would have to bring their own preferred drinks and that I don't have to worry about bringing anything because they had it all covered. Grandma made sure to tell me she would be making the mashed potatoes that I like so much. Yay! Anyway, given this news I said that I would bring the drinks for everyone. Since we will be trundling the food stuff across the street to the church fellowship hall where we can set up tables big enough for us all, I'll have my rolling cooler of drinks iced and ready to go.  :D

Arizona

Lynda_34

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 07:37:00 AM »
Update?

WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Setting boundries with "new" Turkeyday tradition (long)
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2011, 01:48:54 AM »
Update....

Oy, where to begin. I brought the drinks in my rolling cooler. Turns out I didn't need to put it in one because we did not go over to the church fellowship hall where we would have all been able to sit together.

My mom and I had turned the furnace in the hall when I arrived so it would be warm for anyone who was going to use the followship hall that day. In all there were 15 of us. There was a ton of 'cold stuff' that people brought and it was put in the center of the dining room table. Grandma cooked the turkey. It was excellent! Sophie's grandaaughter "angel" made the mashed potatoes, helped with the stuffing and the corn (from the can) These were situated on the small breakfast bar of the single wide mobile home kitchen.

About 6 people can sit at the dining room table comfortably, however, we managed to get 9 people around it with one spot left for Sophie. After saying thanks for the meal Sophie asked everyone "what would you like to drink?"  Everyone was sort of wondering where they were going to sit at that point so no one really said anything. There was no water set out, no iced tea made (which is usual for us) or other drinks out. Before I could even say anything she yelled out "Well don't everyone talk at once!" Someone piped in with "Pepsi" and other's joined in. At that point I said "There are ice cold ones in the cooler." Sophie then goes over to the fridge, takes out a 12 pack of lukewarm Pepsi and drops it quite loudly onto the counter next to the turkey platter. "Help yourselves" she said.

At this point 9 of us had staked out a spot at the table with 6 sort of standing and wondering where they were going to sit as the whole place is really quite small. (Single wide mobile home). Anyway, people begin sort of shuffling around, grabbing paper plates and trying to get to the hot food that was sort of scrunched in the corner of the breakfast bar. (with no serving spoons in it) Sophie then brings out the card table and begins setting it up in the center of the very small kitchen and announces. "I'll be sitting at the kids table with "my angel" and then puts 4 metal folding chairs right around it. A  9 year great grandkid asks, "where are the other two people going to sit?"  Sophie says, "oh i don't know.."  then proceeds to ask Angel what kind of turkey meat she wanted.  Sophie and Angel were left to sit at the card table by themselves and when those four got their plates fixed, after much hassle of everyone moving around to get to everything, then went down into seperate room.

No one touched the lukewarm pepsi, everyone else helped themselves to their beverage of choice from my cooler. Many even took some with them as the leftovers were packaged up by grandma and handed out when they left about half hour after dinner was over. :D

The clincher in the whole thing is that Sophie thought it was too much of a hassle for everything to be lugged across the street to the fellowship hall and didn't want to chance our dinner interfering with someone else who wanted to use it two hours later. It would have really been quite easy (and normal) for all of us to help carry items to the hall. 15 people, we could even have done it one trip. The other family ended up not using the hall either.

Arizona