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Relatives inviting themselves. Should I be nice, or naughty?

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Denninmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 03:32 PM
Original message
Relatives inviting themselves. Should I be nice, or naughty?
I'm really NOT up to it. Not only am I stuck working full time (I know, boo hoo, but I'm technically only part time) since July, with that ending not sure when, but also things have been hectic in my house, and I'm really not looking forward to all of the cleaning just to get ready, on top of the cooking.

So, should I be nice and prepare the traditional dinner?

Or, naught and nasty and do things that they'll all freak out about? Especially my B-I-L, who is very picky anyway about food, and NOT very good with change, and also, damn it, a republican!
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Lars39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. Inviting themselves? Serve them a non-traditional thanksgiving
right outta the crock pot. Something Tex-mex and messy. :D
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housewolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. Oh Denninmi
What a predicament! You sound harassed, over-worked and stressed out, and I sympathize with you.

But as for what you should do, I can only speak to what _I_ would do in your situation. (Which, by the way, I don't know that much about... for instance, does your household consist of anyone else who can share the Thanksgiving workload with you? Can any of those relatives come over this weekend to help you clean and plan? Or come over the day before to help you prep? Could you make it "potluck" and have relatives bring something?) I also don't know how many people "relatives" implies.

Coming from where I'm coming from, I'd be nice. I'd be thrilled that I had relatives who wanted to spend their Thanksgiving with me, that they appreciated me, my cooking skills, and were comfortable in my home such that they wanted to come here. I'd be thankful that I had living relatives close enough to spend Thanksgiving with. I'd try to get some help/support from one or more of them. I might see if I could take a day - or a half-day off from work. And then I'd plan a meal that I hoped they'd enjoy.

But that's what I would do.

What would happen if you told them that you really weren't up to do it? What options do they have? What would you do that day? Could you offer to bring something/help if the family meal could be done at THEIR house? Would you prefer that they host it this year? How many people make up your family?

There's nothing wrong with just telling them that you're overwhelmed right now and just can't do it this year. Can they understand/accept that, or will bad feelings result?

All that said, the one thing I WOULDN'T do is is the last line of your post, "do things that they'll all freak out about". It seems to me that's quite a passive-agressive, revenge-filled, FU-kind of behavior that might give you a momentary thrill but beyond that is a very un-Thanksgiving kind of behavior.



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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. +1 on the potluck
It's nice they want to spend time with you - let them do some heavy lifting.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
3. What Housewolf said.
If they asked you to change a tire when you didn't have time or tire what would you say?

Be nice but simply say that you cannot entertain this year because of things you can't control and ask them to take a rain-check for next year.
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Renew Deal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
4. Be nice, but do something funny
Like a Stewed Goat Head

:evilgrin:
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. he-he!
:D
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Callalily Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
6. Be nice . . . you'll feel better
about yourself. My motto is "always take the high road".

And you've gotten some really good ideas here; potluck, ask for help, etc.

Have fun . . . make the most of it.

Also, my sister's sister-in-law's traditional thanksgiving dinner is lasagna. Because of her work schedule it was difficult for her to make the traditional thanksgiving meal, and she could always assemble the lasagna the weekend before so it was just ready for baking. A salad and some nice crusty French bread finished the meal. Everyone LOVED it. Just a thought.

Good luck with your relatives . . . despite everything (seems like you are truly tired and stressed) you will indeed have fun.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
7. Sure - just make it easy...

Just don't do more than you think you can -
if they love you they'll understand...
if they don't, nothing you do would be enough.
I know, I've been there.


Tell them its got to be potluck - you cook a turkey - maybe make a squash soup.
They stop at the store or make at home all the other bits - they want something
special, they bring it.

Easier for you, they take some responsibility - and they'll be treated like
family instead of guests.


(Don't be naughty, Santa's coming soon)
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pengillian101 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-11 12:28 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. (Don't be naughty, Santa's coming soon)
There's always Lutefisk and Lefse for threatening, eh?
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GoCubsGo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
8. You can always order one of those meals from the grocery store
My folks have done that in the past, and the food is actually decent. The price would probably come out about the same as cooking it all from scratch. You can ask your guests to bring extra side dishes and desserts, and the booze, if that's part of the tradition. If anyone complains, tell them that next year, it's their turn.

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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 03:24 AM
Response to Original message
9. now i know my experience is different, but my sister has thanksgiving at her house every year.
She works full time and is very busy. We offer to help clean and stuff. And she makes the turkey and we bring the sides. That is how it works. We bring the beverages, desserts etc. I think she made mixed mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes last year. But in general, we bring all the other stuff. And I have a big family... there are six of us kids and most of us have kids ourselves. then there is my brother in laws aunt and her kids.

It's up to you. If you feel like taking on the challenge I would have a pot luck situation. You make the turkey and have everyone else bring everything else. I mean down to snacks and beverages and plates and cups we do it. As for cleaning.... involve others. Have them come over and help. Otherwise, don't worry so much about it being clean... focus on 'the appearance of clean' as roseanne would do.
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
10. Be nice but
(1) don't worry about being traditional - somebody who invites themselves ought not dictate what is served even if they are family

(2) consider going out for the meal - we did that one year and the food was really decent and there was no prep or cleanup or leftovers - portion control is built-in. You can supplement a meal out with drinks, appetizers and desserts at home - or munchies for football if that's your style.

(3) think about ordering some prepared food - either part or all of the meal - even non-traditional offerings - those grocery store offerings are pretty decent - and I know someone who always orders in a smoked brisket whenever its their turn to host a holiday meal

(4) cut corners on a few things - dress up a prepared stuffing mix, for example

(5) prepare in advance - I've known folks that cook the turkey the day before and slice it up and then serve it chilled on Thanksgiving - desserts can be prepped in advance - you can even do much of the prep work for the items that cannot be cooked in advance

(6) remember that maintaining a sense of family harmony and civil relationships is ultimately more important than the menu - communicate your plans and limitations in advance - as the host/hostess you get to define expectations - your self-invited guests have the option of accepting your plans, contributing to the festivities or making other plans
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
11. Sympathies!
My mother used to order me to host family get-togethers whether I was in the mood or not! And my brother is a clone to your brother in law!

First off, only clean the bathrooms and let the rest of the house be just "okay". The bathroom is the only place anyone has a chance to really inspect anything close-up. And put a candle in there to make it look like you fussed.

Then ask each of them what they are going to bring. If they don't have time to cook, tell them to stop at the deli for something, or just bring beverages and other non-cooked stuff. When you get your list of donations, figure out what you have time to make ahead, and what you can do on the day. Stay on the safe side and don't get ambitious.

To cut work on serving consider making it a buffet with no fancy table settings. Get a few squash or pumpkins and apples and plop them into a bowl for a centerpiece and you are done!
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Sentath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
12. I like the potluck and buffet ideas,
But I still might have one odd item.

'Course I do that ALL the time ( ;
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Denninmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
13. Alright, you convinced me, I'll behave myself and be nice.
All I have to say is, they better appreciate it at Thanksgiving, or come Christmas or New Years, when they always come, they're getting something really weird for dinner.

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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 09:43 PM
Response to Original message
14. Tell them Lincoln freed everybody
and if they want the traditional feast with all the trimmings, they can do it at their house.

You'll be going to a restaurant this year, thanks.

Then make your reservations and go with a clear conscience.

No working woman should knock herself out trying to do what stay at home wives managed to do in the 1950s. It's just not realistic. If you do decide to do the turkey, make the rest of the dinner covered dish, and no fucking football until it's all cleaned up.
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 05:58 PM
Response to Original message
17. I tried really hard to see if my sibs could host this year
brother and his GF just remodeled their house and kitchen - and it looks really good- but they aren't ready. And my other brother's wife works all the time (VA nurse) and has health problems, so I really didn't think they were up to it.

We have various bathroom remodel stuff sitting around, and things were a mess due to various health issues my parents have had (running back and forth to their house, personal care home and hospital), husband has been working like a maniac on a software project, so I did try to see if someone else could host. But no luck. So I spent the day or 2 before cleaning up (fortunately work was slow) and we cooked for 10 people.

Then, while cooking, there was a health crisis for one of my parents, and it turned out that there were only 5 for dinner after all! It was very nice, though and a bit less stressful.


:rofl: :crazy: Sometimes you just have to laugh when these things happen.
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