Adult Children and Family Holidays

I’ve never “hosted” Thanksgiving – it seems like quite the undertaking, from the outside. There’s food to prepare, spaces to clean, and all the many little things to account for about the guests you have – these are family members, and you know their quirks, and you want them to feel comfortable and at ease. I would probably be preparing for ages before hosting Thanksgiving, and who knows? Someday I might. The closest I’ve come was hosting a pretty family-filled New Years Eve party, and even that comes with very few expectations, food-wise. For Thanksgiving, there are so many iconic foods that folks expect to see!

My husband’s family… so, you know, my family too… is in an interesting spot. All the children are grown, with the youngest in their 20s and married, with parents in their 50s and the grandparents “generation” in their 70s; it’s an entirely adult family. Sure, most of us 20-somethings have friends with babies, but the family itself doesn’t have any yet, and it makes the role of being the “youngest” generation a bit surreal: I’m old enough to be hosting but instead, I’m being hosted by the older generations again.

I want to contribute, though, in a way that I haven’t before: last year, I was in such a tizzy about the wedding (which was the Saturday after Thanksgiving) that I was extremely grateful to leave everything about Thanksgiving to them. However, this year, I’m thankful that I have the space, time, and ability to be (at least a little) helpful. To that end, here are my ways of trying to be a useful daughter/granddaughter-in-law in the yearly Thanksgiving celebrations.

  1. Bring some desserts/breakfast stuff: People don’t love having other people hone in when they are making a dinner masterpiece, but it never hurts for there to be more dessert/breakfast food for the many additional people in the house. It’s also nice for hosts not to have to get up early and figure out some kind of breakfast plan; instead, guests can fend for themselves and everything is more restful for us all.
  2. Bring a game or a fun new activity: This is Husband’s realm; when he and I find out about a cool game or a fun activity to share with family, we try to save it for the next time a ton of us are in the same house. We’ve spent hours in tournaments of backgammon (not a new game, but one that had a heyday with us), downloaded the same trivia app on our phones just to play against people in the same room, and written up our own versions of charades. It keeps everyone who isn’t thrilled about football busy and happy and making memories together.
  3. Bring what you’ll need and make time for yourselves: I try to pack well in general, but I tend to forget things and need to borrow or buy them – I try harder to make sure I’m well-packed when I’m staying as a guest in someone’s home, because it’s one way to make my stay with them less of a burden. I also like to plan, if I’m going to stay for a while, for Husband and I to take a little time for ourselves somewhere in there, just to get out of the hosts’ hair. In this case, our anniversary will always fall around Thanksgiving from here out, and so we’ve got reservations for a nice dinner Saturday night; by then, we’ll have had lots of family time but still have time to reconvene on Sunday morning.

Most of all, noticing when there are opportunities to spend time with someone while helping them out – doing dishes, carrying chairs, setting out silverware. These aren’t fancy and it doesn’t make the work of hosting much easier, but it does give you a time to connect while spending time together.

11 comments on “Adult Children and Family Holidays

  1. Laura McDaniel says:

    Great ‘reminders’ (lol) – now if you can just send this to some of my family/friends/visitors. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. foodinbooks says:

    I first hosted my family and friends for the holidays about 4 years ago, for the first time, and it does take some effort. But advance planning, which you already have down, is the key. Plan your menu, write out your shopping list, if possible do your shopping several days in advance, do your prep work a few days in advance, get out your table decorations, dishes, flatware and glasses the night before, tidy your house two days before, and when the actual day comes, you’ll be calm because most everything is already done. I hope your holiday goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elizabeth says:

    The games idea is great. One of my fondest Thanksgiving memories is listening to men whomp dominos down on a card table while others watched football.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. angyjenks says:

    Thanks for the tips.. like breakfast 🍳 ideals and helping with dishes..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve hosted a few holidays now – never a huge get together, but I’ve done the traditional turkey with all traditional fixings. I’m kind of a control freak, so there are only a few things I’ll delegate for others to bring. I find that assistance on the day of is much more helpful than someone bringing a dish. Unless it’s dessert. I always delegate dessert.

    Also, I think appetizers are something that is helpful to bring- Something as simple as a plate of cheese, crackers, and summer sausage or a little crock pot of cocktail weenies. Or a bottle of wine.


  6. aidylewoh says:

    Those are some great ideas!
    Our family has a different kind of situation because there are ten kids ranging over 21 years, so by the time my youngest brother was a few years old there were already nieces and nephews being born.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Elle says:

    Good ideas! This is the first time in 18 years we are not hosting! I’m so glad!!! It’s very stressful and I don’t enjoy it. But this year we were invited to a friends and so I offered to bring drinks and pie. It’s such a relief not to have to host. Some people love it but I’m not one of them! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very useful tips for any such gathering. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] family Thanksgiving celebration, I was determined to make some breakfast treats, as I mentioned in Adult Children and Family Holidays; one of those things was a batch of these blueberry cream cheese muffins! Crazy For Crust has this […]

    Liked by 1 person

  10. susansleggs says:

    Good suggestions for any gathering. And what a great idea to make time for yourselves too.


  11. agshap says:

    I make Thanksgiving every year – son #1 made it one year – somehow it got back in my house..he probably realized how much work it is…..but it is my favorite holiday and I love it…they bring the dessert..the grandkids bring the basketball, football and hockey equipment to play outside….and of course there is always a football game on….

    Liked by 1 person

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