Its Bigger than the Turkey (and the turkey is 22 pounds)
Tomorrow, nineteen people will descend on our home to share the iconic Thanksgiving meal. It will be a rather traditional meal with turkey, stuffing, mashed white potatoes, a sweet potato casserole, green beans, and brussel sprouts. Not to mention pies.
For many of you, nineteen guests may seem like a small dinner party. For my wife and I, it feels like an invading army. And when the same number of people came last year, we spent Thanksgiving week stressed. Thanksgiving Day was no better. While we enjoyed our company, we fretted about whether we had enough food, if the seating arrangements were acceptable and whether the house was neat enough. People came bearing additional dishes which we had to fit on the buffet and find non-existent serving utensils. Of course, our guests had a fine time and enjoyed it enough to come back again this year.
However, this year we are handling Thanksgiving differently. We have intentionally reduced the amount of work we need to do in some of the following ways:
We will prepare the turkey, dressing (and stuffing) (some in the bird, some not), and gravy. Everyone else coming has been assigned a dish to bring with them
We will not serve appetizers before the meal. We have encouraged guests to come close to the meal or have a hearty meal before they arrive
We are letting people sit where they may rather than work on a seating chart
We asked people to refrain from bringing dishes not assigned to them as that causes angst as we look for serving utensils and dishes etc.
We are using paper plates for dessert
We have set the tables even as this blog is published
Finally, we have made a commitment that we would not stress out over the day
This new plan is working for two reasons. One, is we and our guests are all on the same team. People will follow our wishes--even if they wish to bring their grandmother’s famous oyster stew. When a team pulls in the same direction, success is much more likely.
Second, Thanksgiving is not about the food or nor about how well the hosts are prepared. It is about gathering with family and friends and being grateful for our blessings. It is about remembering that we have roofs over our heads, plenty of food to eat, and live in a country of plenty. Most importantly, it is about love. The greatest power is love and to be surrounded by people we love and respect is the greatest Thanksgiving reward there is.
I hope you are surrounded by love this Thanksgiving. And even though love is more important than the food, I hope your turkey is moist and your pies sweet.