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Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:51 amNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
Does anyone's family not care about the holidays?
My mother and I try every year to go above and beyond, channeling our inner Martha, to make Thanksgiving and Christmas amazing. One Christmas we spent 500 dollars on food. I spent time putting parsley around the plate of chicken fingers for the kids and grapes and special crackers on the cutting board of cheeses I had sampled and chosen for the night among other things like fanning out the colored napkins and countless other small but noticeable things. There were twenty people and the only person who said anything was a cousin's husband. He said over and over. "Man this is something. Yall (we are in the south) out did yourselves. This is... something." That was so nice to hear. That's all we really wanted to hear.
Now that Thanksgiving is coming I'm wanting to have a better time than usual. About eight of us eat at my grandfather's house every Sunday and Thanksgiving is no different to them. If they had their way they would wear t-shirts and flip flops and go as soon as lunch is done. No one talks very much. For people who see each other so much I guess we aren't very close. What should I do to have the Thanksgiving my mother and I dream of? Maybe I should be asking a family counselor this instead! But no there has to be someone on here who has similar problems. What do you do? Just ignore it and make the day/meal you want no matter what they do? I'm not sure.
Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:13 amForum Host
In my own family, we were always appreciative of efforts, whether it was a major holiday, or a family holiday such as a baptism or birthday. I was always taken aback by my aunt's family (who invited me to all kinds of things when I moved to the midwest). Aunt would cook a turkey, goose and duck for Thanksgiving, plus have sausage, dumplings, and who knows how many sides. Her sons, sons-in-law and the friends they invited would load up their plates and then head for the TV room to watch whatever football game. Honestly. I was dumbstruck the first time I saw it happen.
I bet they would miss it if you did not do it one year and they had to satisfy themselves with their own likely pathetic attempt.
That being said, I don't think I would go all out for family that appears to be oblivious to the effort - perhaps do a special dessert, or some special decorations, but not release your inner Martha for the whole dang thing.
Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:09 pmFood.com Groupie
I also go all out for Thanksgiving by setting the table with china , crystal, candles and vintage glass ware. I am a pretty good cook so I always make a nice turkey dinner. Most of my family is appreciative. However one year I really went out of my way to make a very nice turkey dinner. I cooked everything from cooking magazines like Bon Appetit, Food and Wine etc. Most of the recipes had several ingredients and was very time consuming to cook. So I asked my mother if she could bring a couple of pies. Thinking she would bring pies from Marie Callendars or even just nice and not too expensive pies from Costco or Sam's Club. So here I had worked very hard with not much sleep I made a very beautiful dinner. Everyone did love it. Do you know what kind of pies my mother brought over. She brought over store bought frozen pies that I had to bake in the oven! I was so furious and biting my tongue to keep from saying anything! It wasn't like I was asking her to make a homemade pie from scratch. So, yes I was very mad! But now, I would gladly take a frozen store bought pie from my mother! However that will never happen again because she passed away a few years ago. The true meaning of Thanksgiving is not about how fancy the meal is or all your efforts. It's about being with your family and maybe some friends and appreciating the time you spend together. So don't sweat the small stuff and be thankful that you have family that comes to your house to share the holidays with you.
Shirl (J) 831
Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:56 amForum Host
Sometime it is not the whole idea of going "all out" that is so imp. spending time with family and creating memories and sharing traditions and stories of days gone by make the day more special.
Little touches make it personal and that is good
Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:26 pmFood.com Groupie
So I asked my mother if she could bring a couple of pies. Thinking she would bring pies from Marie Callendars or even just nice and not too expensive pies from Costco or Sam's Club. So here I had worked very hard with not much sleep I made a very beautiful dinner. Everyone did love it. Do you know what kind of pies my mother brought over. She brought over store bought frozen pies that I had to bake in the oven! I was so furious and biting my tongue to keep from saying anything! It wasn't like I was asking her to make a homemade pie from scratch. So, yes I was very mad! But now, I would gladly take a frozen store bought pie from my mother! However that will never happen again because she passed away a few years ago
There are always two sides to every story. I gather from reading between the lines that your mom did not like to bake or didn't do it very well, as you did not expect her to bake her own. You also said you bit your tongue and didn't let on how you felt. I agree that probably was best. But it also gave your mom no opportunity to respond. You think of it as taking the cheap or lazy way out. But it's very possible that your mom thought old school style. Maybe thinking to herself "Ready made is cheap and lazy, but at least if I bring the frozen pies, they have to be fresh baked, so they are the next best thing to homemade"? She probably figured all you had to do was stick it in the oven and let it bake while you ate the rest of the dinner. It's not like she bought you a can of Libby's pumpkin and a couple of empty pie shells lol Just a thought. It might make you look back on that day in a different light. I know you miss her a lot,
Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:42 pmForum Host
Its not that we don't care.....its just that we are spread out and circumstances sometimes make it impossible to get together over holidays.
Daughter, s-i-l and grand babies live 3 hours away in another state. On a holiday that 3 hour (each way) drive turns into a 6 to 8 hour drive (each way).....not worth it with an infant and 2 1/2 year old in the car. Son also lives in another state - a 7 hour trip each way on a non holiday weekend. There aren't any inexpensive direct flights or other modes of transport except to drive. Son always has to work both the day before and after Thanksgiving, so its just too much driving for him....to drive up on Wed night after a full day of work, and leave after dinner on Thurs night to drive back.
Hubby also works the day before, a half day on Thanksgiving and the day after which prevents us from making the trip to see daughter and the grands.
Yes, it breaks my heart being alone (just the two of us) on holidays.....sometimes if we can all coordinate the same weekend without anyone being sick (the grands in day care are always coming down with something) we will celebrate a holiday either a week or two before or after the holiday. Not exactly the same, but better than nothing!
Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:00 pmRegular "Line Cook" Poster
I laughed when I read this. My mother was always interested in being "modern". Tang was essential to a good breakfast. Jello with carrots was a vegetable and Hamburger Helper was the bomb.
Eventually my sisters and I assigned her to bring the pickles. She took this job seriously and started collecting various types as early as summer. We always had a wide variety of pickles. The nieces and nephew on my husband's side called her the pickle lady.
At her wake, we laughed until we cried about her pickle cuisine.
The important thing was she taught us and examplified so many good traits. I am certain I am a Special Ed teacher who looks for the gifts in all her students because of her.
Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:09 pmFood.com Groupie
You know, because I can tell you are a sensitive soul who wants to please others by doing something thoughtful for your family (I'm that way too) I know that not only did you pull out all the stops to make your past Thanksgiving wonderful for your family, you also envisioned a response from them, that might not have been based on reality (of how they are) but based on a sort of "fantasy" of how you hoped they would respond. That it would be the Norman Rockwell happy, close-knit, appreciative family. And the truth of it is, when others are use to going to someone else's home for the holidays, they really don't have any idea of the expense or time and effort that goes into hosting a large holiday gathering. . .
I was talking with my husband yesterday, saying, "Do you realize we've spent $500 to host this Thanksgiving for both our families?!" And sure, there are a few people bringing appetizers and one is bringing dessert, most will bring wine (which I asked for) but what I realized is, yep, most of them have no idea how much this costs us to put on, but we're doing it because A) it allows us to be with both sides of our families, if they all come here, and B) Despite the expense and hard work, we love having a large group over!
But I also have had years when I let myself feel really annoyed that others didn't pitch in enough. And yes, one relative brought me a box of frozen Nancy's quiche on a baking sheet (not even a platter to serve it on!) and asked me to bake them for the appetizer!!!
But this year, I've reflected differently about it, and decided, that in hosting this big thanksgiving feast, we're doing it FOR our families. I think of it now, as a gift we are giving to the people we love. And I know that they are happy to be able to come over, and gather with all the family. That there will always be a few extra guests, who had no where to go. And I'm glad we can do it for them!
I had a cancer scare a few months ago, and I think the gift I received from that, was a better perspective on what's important. So I'm not wasting time on worrying so much, I still am a people pleaser, but now I'm doing it to bring happiness to others, not because I want something in return.
That may be a much longer response than you were interested in.
And here's my suggestion to help infuse a bit of fun into your group whom you say isn't very communicative.
Go out to Target and buy the game Catch Phrase Electronic! And after dinner, when people are gathered, bring it out and ask anyone who wants to play can, but its ok if they don't want to. It's easy, EASY and fast paced and fun! And if younger kids don't know one of the words, we just let them click onto another and another till they find one they can do. it's passed around (like Hot potato fashion) and you just have every other person on the same team. our family isn't really a game playing family, but they have loved this! And it doesn't require sitting at a table, or writing anything down. It's just passed around.
We did it at a family get together of 25 people, a few years ago, and there were two different cultures gathered and there was a lot of silence. And I brought this out, and at first not that many were interested, but as the others watched how fun it was, more and more wanted to join in. By the end of a couple rounds, we had 25 people aged 7 to 85 playing and laughing! It was the first time ever that everyone played a game at a family gathering!
I'm getting fresh batteries today, and plan to bring it out after dinner is served on Thanksgiving! I hope your day goes better this year. And just remind yourself that you are doing it, not for recognition or appreciation, but know that they DO appreciate it, and look at it as a gift you are giving to each and every one of them!
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