You love them or hate them. Probably both. How fun to see family. How fun to see family go home. Everyone knows the stress level of hostesses and guests alike, rise to astronomical levels. Why? Family for one. We love them and yet they drive us mad. Perfection. We all strive for it and very few achieve it. And the cooking. So many dishes to coordinate with baking times and have everything ready at the same time. Then we set the table and it looks so beautiful. Dishes that were grandmas, that can’t go in the dishwasher. Glasses we use twice a year, that can’t go in the dishwasher. My grandmother’s dishes has individual salt shakers for each place setting. I used them one year, and pretty much everyone said where is the salt? I tried.
Everyday dishes? Sure why not? Maybe there are no Grandma’s dishes . But do you have enough plates? And the chairs? Do we have enough? How can we fit everyone at the table?
For years my family had about 22-25 people at Thanksgiving dinner, give or take. There was always a kid’s table. A long folding one or round kitchen table dragged to the end of the dining room table. All with different tablecloths. It is a holiday. Had to use tablecloths.
At times when we did have 25+ , we added at least two tables to the end of the dining table, and it was sort of like a table train, adding more as we needed it. Grabbing chairs from desks, vanity tables, stools. I always sat at the kids table when I was a child, and it seems nothing has changed for the kids now. But they love it. They mess around and eat what they want. But do they get grandma’s wedding dishes. Nope. Everyday dishes. Sorry, kids.
We stopped years ago trying for perfection. Sweating in the kitchen for 8 or 9 hours, preparing, cooking, drinking. But who cares. We don’t need the gold rimmed plates, individual salt shakers, or the crystal that is so delicate that I have already broken 6 glasses over the years, just by putting them in the sink to be washed.
Oh we all bitch and moan. Got to drive somewhere, or prepare beds and plenty of snacks to have BEFORE we eat a ridiculously large meal. But we love it. It isn’t family if there isn’t an argument or three. Or complaining. My dad (RIP) used to sit at the table , while we were cooking our asses off, and say when is it going to be ready? He would hold his fork and tap it on the table. Drove me crazy , but I sure do miss that. Meanwhile, cheese and crackers, chips and dips, veggies all are being consumed while they are waiting to eat. My mom (RIP) would want to play backgammon or cards while we were cooking and recruited anyone that wasn’t in the kitchen helping
This year we are down to 10 people. I feel sad about that. Sure it was always a fiasco when 25 of us got together in one house. And loud. Understatement.. New York Jewish family. Quiet is not a thing. And any guests would sit in shock for a while, and then most would jump right in. You wanted to eat, you had no option. When in Rome……
But this year Mom and dad are gone, others are not joining us for various reasons. I can’t say it will be quiet, but it will sound that way., compared to years gone by.
But it is family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.