This is my first official holiday hosting family in our home. We usually find ourselves at either my parents' or Tyler's parents' homes for every big occasion. This year, I wanted to relieve the good matrons of the family of the burden of constantly hosting crowds of people. Thanksgiving followed by Christmas is no easy feat, as any host can tell you. So many details to plan, so many mouths to feed, so many people tromping in and out of your home. The dishes, the cleaning, the entertainment, the grocery shopping, the gifts, the cooking, the seating, the planning, the preparation! Lions and tigers and bears, oh MY.
As a child, you assume (or at least I did) that these events conjure themselves up like dependable magic. Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas Eve celebrations, Halloween festivities, birthday celebrations, they all simply happen. You don't give much thought to the wizard behind the curtain, and it isn't until you attempt your first adult go at serving a meal or hosting a gathering that you realize the painstaking details that can go into even the simplest of occasions. Cooking up hot dogs, and guess who forgot the condiments!?! A summer BBQ in the backyard, did you remember utensils? It's Christmas, and your guests will be hanging out long before Christmas dinner is served: what have you planned in the interim for snacking? Oh yes, Auntie has arrived with an extra guest as well. Seating arranged? What about an extra gift for them in the exchange? DETAILS. SO MANY DETAILS.
There are those who say meh, details don't matter. I have found that it is typically a male who says something like that. Don't worry so much! It doesn't matter! Quit stressing about stupid stuff! Mind you, it will be he who will first publicly lament the lack of condiments at the hot dog bar. Don't ever listen to that man. Make sure he does the dishes following the event. ;)
Some of my best memories of warm holidays filled with cheer, as I look back, were directly linked to that wizard behind the curtain, always sacrificing her own ease to conjure up holiday magic, and caring very much about every last detail.
There was NO WAY I was going to offer to host Christmas. Just thinking about it gives me stress hives. However! I can do Thanksgiving! It's a one meal (albeit, a large one) event, and selfishly, I love cooking. Controlling the menu assures I get my favorite dishes. Buahahahahaaa.
We will have visitors in the area for a few days (HOORAY!!!! I'M SO EXCITED!). Family will be staying in hotels and our house, so I wanted to send out a general (although extremely flexible) itinerary. I think it helps when a group has some general guideline of what to expect. I sent out these printed invitations/itineraries....
I've recruited plenty of help for our menu, which is wonderful because it means I won't have to make every last dish. Many of the sides can be prepared in advanced and reheated. I thought I'd share with you and link the corresponding recipes. Even if you aren't hosting, maybe you have been asked to bring a dish to share. If so, these are recipes we love: