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“That relative” at Thanksgiving


teachermom2834
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I'll tell you want ticked me off one year.  Our extended family dinner had become so large that we could could only eat at my mother's or my aunt's, and they kept complaining about the work of hosting. So my sister and I rented my church hall and cooked dinner there in the big kitchen, and set up tables for the dinner.  We did all the cooking other than my mom made a few pies, and we paid for it all other than my mom bought the turkey.  The only thing the others were asked to bring was wine or beer. We really had a lot of fun cooking it and were prepared to go on doing it into the foreseeable future. We also invited a few extra people who were away from home since there was a lot of room.

It seemed like everyone enjoyed the dinner, and the food was great, although not many people were very helpful about cleaning up even though it was pretty easy with the industrial washer.  But afterwards, they all decided that it wasn't what they liked, a church hall wasn't nice enough they wanted a real dinner with cloth napkins and such. 

I've come to the conclusion they really prefer to complain about the work

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I suspect that my in-laws think I am "that relative".  I'm not really sure what I did to earn the title, other than I did everything differently than they usually do it, which made things "Wrong". Now I"m never allowed to host a holiday meal. 😕  After I hosted the first time, (I happily did all the cooking), MIL and SIL teamed up and insisted on bringing ALL the food the next holiday.  No joke, I received a paper invitation in the mail to dinner at my own house, listing what everyone was bringing. I was tasked with making "a tossed salad".  No one had discussed this with me prior. They decided amongst themselves to divvy up the menu and assign me something without talking to me, the hostess of this meal.  

In case you are having trouble picturing this, it was a written invite saying "Please come to Ms Lemon's Home for Thanksgiving at 2pm. Menu as follows:

MIL -turkey and rolls

SIL potatoes and ham

Aunt -green beans and sweet potatoes

Cousin -pumpkin and apple pies

Uncle -drinks

Miss Lemon -tossed salad

This caused a big fight between me and DH, because I was like "Um, this is weird" and he wanted me to let it go and not make a fuss.  And when it came time to eat? No one touched the fecking tossed salad and DH kept saying "Doesn't anyone want some of this salad?! It's so good, you should try some!" I hated him a bit in that moment. 

Every year since, MIL makes a point of saying in a stage whisper to SIL "This is so much better! And there's no fancy Waterford crystal to worry about *eyeroll*". Apparently, using the nice glasses my dad bought me was an issue, as was using my grandma's china. 😞 

Btw, holiday meals at MIL and SIL's home feature take-out on paper plates, not enough chairs, and generic gifts from the dollar store. Someone has to sit on the floor because there isn't enough room and last year, the floor hadn't been cleaned. I cried a lot about this.  I still don't really understand what I did wrong. 😞 

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12 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

I suspect that my in-laws think I am "that relative".  I'm not really sure what I did to earn the title, other than I did everything differently than they usually do it, which made things "Wrong". Now I"m never allowed to host a holiday meal. 😕  After I hosted the first time, (I happily did all the cooking), MIL and SIL teamed up and insisted on bringing ALL the food the next holiday.  No joke, I received a paper invitation in the mail to dinner at my own house, listing what everyone was bringing. I was tasked with making "a tossed salad".  No one had discussed this with me prior. They decided amongst themselves to divvy up the menu and assign me something without talking to me, the hostess of this meal.  

In case you are having trouble picturing this, it was a written invite saying "Please come to Ms Lemon's Home for Thanksgiving at 2pm. Menu as follows:

MIL -turkey and rolls

SIL potatoes and ham

Aunt -green beans and sweet potatoes

Cousin -pumpkin and apple pies

Uncle -drinks

Miss Lemon -tossed salad

This caused a big fight between me and DH, because I was like "Um, this is weird" and he wanted me to let it go and not make a fuss.  And when it came time to eat? No one touched the fecking tossed salad and DH kept saying "Doesn't anyone want some of this salad?! It's so good, you should try some!" I hated him a bit in that moment. 

Every year since, MIL makes a point of saying in a stage whisper to SIL "This is so much better! And there's no fancy Waterford crystal to worry about *eyeroll*". Apparently, using the nice glasses my dad bought me was an issue, as was using my grandma's china. 😞 

Btw, holiday meals at MIL and SIL's home feature take-out on paper plates, not enough chairs, and generic gifts from the dollar store. Someone has to sit on the floor because there isn't enough room and last year, the floor hadn't been cleaned. I cried a lot about this.  I still don't really understand what I did wrong. 😞 

(((Hugs)))

That is so mean. I can’t believe they treat you like that.

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aw @MissLemon. That is so sad. I can picture it though because my mom was like that. Not to the point of the invitation. That's nuts. But everything had to be exactly her way and the way it had always been done. If I ever wanted to try anything new it had to be done in addition to, not in place of, the traditional dish. 

One year I decided to make homemade stuffing (Pioneer Woman recipe). My mom was so upset. She showed up with a box of Stove Top and made me make it too. Well everyone decided that the homemade stuffing was superior and we were able to quit the Stove Top. I also made the mistake of putting mashed potatoes in a casserole dish and sticking them in the oven to warm up one year. That was NOT acceptable and could not be repeated another year. My mom was nutty but she did at least bring a turkey and sides and contribute. I can picture that she could have been tough on a DIL because she was pretty tough on me. The year my dh decided to smoke a turkey just ruined her Thanksgiving. 

But you know, this is all silly. It shouldn't be this difficult. When I am a MIL I will bring whatever I am requested and offer to do any last minute running or whatever. I love the traditional Thanksgiving meal but if one of the next generation wants to take it on I will be appreciate and supportive no matter how I think they screw it up. If I need to I will go home and cook the traditional dishes the way I want. My relationship with my kids and kids in law and grandchildren is going to be way more important than whether the turkey is cooked breast up or breast down. 

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18 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

I suspect that my in-laws think I am "that relative".  I'm not really sure what I did to earn the title, other than I did everything differently than they usually do it, which made things "Wrong". Now I"m never allowed to host a holiday meal. 😕  After I hosted the first time, (I happily did all the cooking), MIL and SIL teamed up and insisted on bringing ALL the food the next holiday.  No joke, I received a paper invitation in the mail to dinner at my own house, listing what everyone was bringing. I was tasked with making "a tossed salad".  No one had discussed this with me prior. They decided amongst themselves to divvy up the menu and assign me something without talking to me, the hostess of this meal.  

In case you are having trouble picturing this, it was a written invite saying "Please come to Ms Lemon's Home for Thanksgiving at 2pm. Menu as follows:

MIL -turkey and rolls

SIL potatoes and ham

Aunt -green beans and sweet potatoes

Cousin -pumpkin and apple pies

Uncle -drinks

Miss Lemon -tossed salad

This caused a big fight between me and DH, because I was like "Um, this is weird" and he wanted me to let it go and not make a fuss.  And when it came time to eat? No one touched the fecking tossed salad and DH kept saying "Doesn't anyone want some of this salad?! It's so good, you should try some!" I hated him a bit in that moment. 

Every year since, MIL makes a point of saying in a stage whisper to SIL "This is so much better! And there's no fancy Waterford crystal to worry about *eyeroll*". Apparently, using the nice glasses my dad bought me was an issue, as was using my grandma's china. 😞 

Btw, holiday meals at MIL and SIL's home feature take-out on paper plates, not enough chairs, and generic gifts from the dollar store. Someone has to sit on the floor because there isn't enough room and last year, the floor hadn't been cleaned. I cried a lot about this.  I still don't really understand what I did wrong. 😞 

Are they generally bi+ches or was this a one-off?

I would wonder if they just felt it was fair to divvy up the work, and since you were hosting, that was your share of the work.

Is it possible that someone in your family made any comments about how nobody helped you or they were not careful with your dishes?  Like maybe your dh or any of your kids when you weren't listening?

(Now if it was me, it would probably be also because I will never be as good of a cook as most of my siblings.  But I already know that, which is why I never cook for them, LOL.)

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Come to think of it, my parents have never had Thanksgiving at anyone else's house that I can recall.

They do have a certain way they like things.  Lucky for all of us, one of my sisters, who is a phenomenal cook, lives nearby and helps with the cooking every year.  It would be way too much for my folks as they get older.

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Miss Lemon you are way nicer than me. I’d have not said a word, but at 2pm when everyone knocked on my door, they would have found it locked with a big “gone fishin” sign stuck on it. 

I like to host Thanksgiving because I feel like at least one meal a year deserves breaking out the China and crystal for. I’m sure you set a lovely table. 

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On 11/26/2019 at 3:47 PM, SKL said:

Are they generally bi+ches or was this a one-off?

I would wonder if they just felt it was fair to divvy up the work, and since you were hosting, that was your share of the work.

Is it possible that someone in your family made any comments about how nobody helped you or they were not careful with your dishes?  Like maybe your dh or any of your kids when you weren't listening?

(Now if it was me, it would probably be also because I will never be as good of a cook as most of my siblings.  But I already know that, which is why I never cook for them, LOL.)

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50 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Btw, holiday meals at MIL and SIL's home feature take-out on paper plates, not enough chairs, and generic gifts from the dollar store. Someone has to sit on the floor because there isn't enough room and last year, the floor hadn't been cleaned. 😞 

Oh my goodness! I think we have the same inlaws!! The above describes our holiday meals exactly, except we never-ever sit on the floor because ewww. We bring camping chairs. 😉 (Also, just add some loud arguing and suspected drug use in the backyard to make it a perfect match.)

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5 hours ago, skimomma said:

How do you all handle food assignments to people who don't live in town?  I always get assigned dishes just like everyone else but we live 600+ miles from our nearest relatives.  We usually stay in a hotel the night(s) before the meal in question as most people we visit do not have room for us.  We are often in the region days before the meal so I cannot prepare at home and try to keep in a cooler or something.  The hotel has no kitchen.  Stores are typically closed on the day of the meal so grabbing prepared food is rarely an option.  I end up calling the organizer (this is the same person every time) to re-negotiate our contribution to something that I can buy prepared ahead of time like pies or beverages.  And this usually works after some drama about how difficult it is to shuffle around the assignments.  But every single time I originally get green bean casserole or dressing or something else that has me scratching my head wondering if this person has thought through how gross cooler casserole would be by the time we got to the meal. 

This is my inlaws!!! When we first married- heck, before we were married- I was expected to bring green bean casserole from 13 hours away! There was no getting out of it. I had to pack the ingredients and make it when we got there- multiple times. My MIL co.plains about me needing the oven, but she will not budge on us bringing something else. Fortunately, we only live an hour away now. I'm still bringing green bean casserole. 

When I was growing up, my aunt/uncle that lived a couple hours away always brought rolls and drinks because they were traveling. 

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22 minutes ago, TABmom said:

This is my inlaws!!! When we first married- heck, before we were married- I was expected to bring green bean casserole from 13 hours away! There was no getting out of it. I had to pack the ingredients and make it when we got there- multiple times. My MIL co.plains about me needing the oven, but she will not budge on us bringing something else. Fortunately, we only live an hour away now. I'm still bringing green bean casserole. 

When I was growing up, my aunt/uncle that lived a couple hours away always brought rolls and drinks because they were traveling. 

Why would you move towards these people? We moved farther away!

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2 hours ago, MissLemon said:

I suspect that my in-laws think I am "that relative".  I'm not really sure what I did to earn the title, other than I did everything differently than they usually do it, which made things "Wrong". Now I"m never allowed to host a holiday meal. 😕  After I hosted the first time, (I happily did all the cooking), MIL and SIL teamed up and insisted on bringing ALL the food the next holiday.  No joke, I received a paper invitation in the mail to dinner at my own house, listing what everyone was bringing. I was tasked with making "a tossed salad".  No one had discussed this with me prior. They decided amongst themselves to divvy up the menu and assign me something without talking to me, the hostess of this meal.  

In case you are having trouble picturing this, it was a written invite saying "Please come to Ms Lemon's Home for Thanksgiving at 2pm. Menu as follows:

MIL -turkey and rolls

SIL potatoes and ham

Aunt -green beans and sweet potatoes

Cousin -pumpkin and apple pies

Uncle -drinks

Miss Lemon -tossed salad

This caused a big fight between me and DH, because I was like "Um, this is weird" and he wanted me to let it go and not make a fuss.  And when it came time to eat? No one touched the fecking tossed salad and DH kept saying "Doesn't anyone want some of this salad?! It's so good, you should try some!" I hated him a bit in that moment. 

Every year since, MIL makes a point of saying in a stage whisper to SIL "This is so much better! And there's no fancy Waterford crystal to worry about *eyeroll*". Apparently, using the nice glasses my dad bought me was an issue, as was using my grandma's china. 😞 

Btw, holiday meals at MIL and SIL's home feature take-out on paper plates, not enough chairs, and generic gifts from the dollar store. Someone has to sit on the floor because there isn't enough room and last year, the floor hadn't been cleaned. I cried a lot about this.  I still don't really understand what I did wrong. 😞 

I'll bet you made a fresh vegetable and confused their taste buds.  Don't you know that different is bad? I have relatives who won't eat anything if it would look out of place on a cracker barrel menu.  They call that Real Food and everything else Weird Food that Doesn't Taste Right. ::sigh:: You can take the family out of the hollow . . .

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Our 'that relative' story from last year was fun because of this year.  Every year we make a sign up sheet on our families facebook page.  Immediate family generally signs up for one or two main dishes. Aunts, cousins, friends usually sign up for drinks, salad, appetizers.  Last year my cousins, 2 brothers, both signed up for bringing beer.  Thanksgiving roles around and neither of them shows up or even tells anyone they aren't coming. Not even each other.  So, we had like a 6 pack for the whole family.  Thankfully the liquor store was less than a mile away and we celebrate the sunday before so it was open. 

Anyways, this year they signed up for drinks again.  We all just anticipated they would flake so the siblings arranged to bring an extra 6 pack but not post it publicly.  Well one cousin shows up with an app and wine.  I ask if his brother is coming and he says he better because he's bringing the beer.  I told him yeah, we expect him to flake so we've got backup beer.  I then let him know that his brother didn't show up.  When he starts talking about how irresponsible his brother is I happily reminded him that he also didn't show.  His face was bright red and he simply said, 'yeah that sounds like me.'

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16 minutes ago, Slache said:

Why would you move towards these people? We moved farther away!

LOL! Truthfully, we moved for a job. But, it is absolutely wonderful that we *NEVER* have to spend the night at their house. We see them for a lot of holidays- but then we go home. My family is 15 hours away and when we go, we stay at least a week. Otherwise the trip isn't worth it. I would not be able to stay at my ILs for a week. Theoretically, we could get a hotel, but dh would never spend that kind of money if we could stay at his parents for free. 

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52 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I'll bet you made a fresh vegetable and confused their taste buds.  Don't you know that different is bad? I have relatives who won't eat anything if it would look out of place on a cracker barrel menu.  They call that Real Food and everything else Weird Food that Doesn't Taste Right. ::sigh:: You can take the family out of the hollow . . .

LOL.  Oh these are totally my in laws.  Fancy meal for them is baby carrots out of a bag, canned corn, the cheapest grisly ham they can pick up, jello.  I used to get up at dawn and make homemade braided challah bread and honey butter as my contribution to meals for holidays.  I also often bring a green salad because at least we can eat it even if they stick up their nose at it   I was fired because SIL's adult children prefer pillsbury crescent rolls out of a tube.  Gross.  🙄  I've also been fired from ever hosting.  

Thrilled to be at home this year on Thanksgiving doing most of the cooking for the first time in many years!  

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1 hour ago, TABmom said:

This is my inlaws!!! When we first married- heck, before we were married- I was expected to bring green bean casserole from 13 hours away! There was no getting out of it. I had to pack the ingredients and make it when we got there- multiple times. My MIL co.plains about me needing the oven, but she will not budge on us bringing something else. Fortunately, we only live an hour away now. I'm still bringing green bean casserole. 

When I was growing up, my aunt/uncle that lived a couple hours away always brought rolls and drinks because they were traveling. 

 

Stuff like that just feels (IMO) like they'd rather you didn't come.  Or they're punishing you for living far away. "Let's make this as difficult as possible so they get the hint we're mad without us having to be the bad guys that say 'we are mad'". 

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5 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

 

Stuff like that just feels (IMO) like they'd rather you didn't come.  Or they're punishing you for living far away. "Let's make this as difficult as possible so they get the hint we're mad without us having to be the bad guys that say 'we are mad'". 

Or they want to make sure you don't get "off the hook".  As though traveling as a burden isn't a factor. A long road trip isn't exactly free or easy.

Why can't people just be nice? And relax? So what if everything isn't your super duper favorite? Is Thanksgiving really ruined by the wrong bread or the wrong potatoes? Good grief be polite and gracious and make yourself what you want on Friday if you are left unsatisfied by Thursday.

How about we try just not to make people feel like crap on Thanksgiving? 

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4 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

 

Oh wow, you're right.  I made asparagus from a recipe from America's Test Kitchen the first year.  My MIL took a bite and said "Well, I don't really like vegetables, but I can tell it was prepared well", and then didn't take another bite.  I still can't figure out if that was a compliment or not. 

MIL is also a fan of this gross gravy made with big hunks of giblets and hard boiled eggs floating in it.  *shudder*

LOL I love adults who declare "I don't love vegetables." in front of kids.  My MIL has said exactly the same kind of thing.  

And ewww that gravy sounds completely nasty!

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Oh gosh, y'all.  I am laughing so hard at this thread. 🤣 

I'm not a foodie at all.  Stove top stuffing or home made stuffing? It's all fine with me! I'm just happy I got an invite!  Canned cranberry sauce vs home made? Whatever you want! It's fine!    Crescent rolls from a tube? No worries! Looks great!

But that gravy... 

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1 hour ago, KungFuPanda said:

I'll bet you made a fresh vegetable and confused their taste buds.  Don't you know that different is bad? I have relatives who won't eat anything if it would look out of place on a cracker barrel menu.  They call that Real Food and everything else Weird Food that Doesn't Taste Right. ::sigh:: You can take the family out of the hollow . . .

 

4 hours ago, MissLemon said:

I suspect that my in-laws think I am "that relative".  I'm not really sure what I did to earn the title, other than I did everything differently than they usually do it, which made things "Wrong". Now I"m never allowed to host a holiday meal. 😕  After I hosted the first time, (I happily did all the cooking), MIL and SIL teamed up and insisted on bringing ALL the food the next holiday.  No joke, I received a paper invitation in the mail to dinner at my own house, listing what everyone was bringing. I was tasked with making "a tossed salad".  No one had discussed this with me prior. They decided amongst themselves to divvy up the menu and assign me something without talking to me, the hostess of this meal.  

In case you are having trouble picturing this, it was a written invite saying "Please come to Ms Lemon's Home for Thanksgiving at 2pm. Menu as follows:

MIL -turkey and rolls

SIL potatoes and ham

Aunt -green beans and sweet potatoes

Cousin -pumpkin and apple pies

Uncle -drinks

Miss Lemon -tossed salad

This caused a big fight between me and DH, because I was like "Um, this is weird" and he wanted me to let it go and not make a fuss.  And when it came time to eat? No one touched the fecking tossed salad and DH kept saying "Doesn't anyone want some of this salad?! It's so good, you should try some!" I hated him a bit in that moment. 

Every year since, MIL makes a point of saying in a stage whisper to SIL "This is so much better! And there's no fancy Waterford crystal to worry about *eyeroll*". Apparently, using the nice glasses my dad bought me was an issue, as was using my grandma's china. 😞 

Btw, holiday meals at MIL and SIL's home feature take-out on paper plates, not enough chairs, and generic gifts from the dollar store. Someone has to sit on the floor because there isn't enough room and last year, the floor hadn't been cleaned. I cried a lot about this.  I still don't really understand what I did wrong. 😞 

Gah, what jerks. Mine aren't that bad but that sure reminds me of dh's family. And the in-laws aren't even up to Cracker Barrel standards and Cracker Barrel is nasty. My in-laws don't EVER cook and I actually like to cook, MIL today told me I should bring a veggie tray. The kids agreed with me that that was the assigned dish for someone she doesn't want to cook and decided that I'm not bringing a veggie tray. I'll bring some chopped veggies that I like and a few other things I like to cook and my family will want to eat. Now, MIL will do different things but it has to be uber processed, heaven forbid someone make something homemade. Mom is set on things just being a certain way, exactly her recipes, etc. I guess people don't realize how unwelcome you make everyone else feel when you put the need to control everything over the family and fellowship.

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1 hour ago, MissLemon said:

Oh gosh, y'all.  I am laughing so hard at this thread. 🤣 

I'm not a foodie at all.  Stove top stuffing or home made stuffing? It's all fine with me! I'm just happy I got an invite!  Canned cranberry sauce vs home made? Whatever you want! It's fine!    Crescent rolls from a tube? No worries! Looks great!

But that gravy... 

Lol.  Yeah, we aren't foodies here either.  I mean we like good food, but don't NEED it.   I went out yesterday and bought 3 tubes of Pillsbury Cresent rolls because it's easier.  My sister usually brings rolls, but last minute she's not coming so I needed easy to replace the dish.  Everyone will eat it so it's good enough lol

Same time though....I was assigned some veggie dishes for Christmas dinner one year.  Again, not foodies, so veggie dishes are literally steamy bags of veggies with butter and salt.  Not canned or boiled or something, but also not super fancy.  Well, I brought corn and carrots with parsnips.  The corn got eaten, the parsnips in the carrots like totally freaked everyone else out lol.  It was like "wait....WHITE carrots?" lol

On the plus side DD23 made a joke about thank goodness no one in the house was allergic to wild parsnips which very few people got and that made me giggle.  (Phineas and Ferb reference.  

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To answer your question - yes, we have that relative. Granted it is just two people - my sister-in-law and her daughter. I have been part of this family for 27 years, and she has never brought one thing to anything - not even food for her overly picky daughter (I am highly allergic to milk and usually do not have milk in my home, her dd basically consumed 1/2 her calories from milk, but she brought none). She has never invited us to her home. She does not help clean up.  She brings her dog but does not get up to take it out... When her dd was young, my girls would bathe her dd and put her to bed. Her ex-husband was supportive and helpful - please don't think she is some over-tired single mother. She has an amazing job and hires help. I could go on and on. The only good thing I can say, is that my kids have watched through the years, and they have noticed and have questioned her behavior and noted how she purposely removes herself from the family. It is so odd. 

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6 hours ago, MissLemon said:

I suspect that my in-laws think I am "that relative".  I'm not really sure what I did to earn the title, other than I did everything differently than they usually do it, which made things "Wrong". Now I"m never allowed to host a holiday meal. 😕  After I hosted the first time, (I happily did all the cooking), MIL and SIL teamed up and insisted on bringing ALL the food the next holiday.  No joke, I received a paper invitation in the mail to dinner at my own house, listing what everyone was bringing. I was tasked with making "a tossed salad".  No one had discussed this with me prior. They decided amongst themselves to divvy up the menu and assign me something without talking to me, the hostess of this meal.  

In case you are having trouble picturing this, it was a written invite saying "Please come to Ms Lemon's Home for Thanksgiving at 2pm. Menu as follows:

MIL -turkey and rolls

SIL potatoes and ham

Aunt -green beans and sweet potatoes

Cousin -pumpkin and apple pies

Uncle -drinks

Miss Lemon -tossed salad

This caused a big fight between me and DH, because I was like "Um, this is weird" and he wanted me to let it go and not make a fuss.  And when it came time to eat? No one touched the fecking tossed salad and DH kept saying "Doesn't anyone want some of this salad?! It's so good, you should try some!" I hated him a bit in that moment. 

Every year since, MIL makes a point of saying in a stage whisper to SIL "This is so much better! And there's no fancy Waterford crystal to worry about *eyeroll*". Apparently, using the nice glasses my dad bought me was an issue, as was using my grandma's china. 😞 

Btw, holiday meals at MIL and SIL's home feature take-out on paper plates, not enough chairs, and generic gifts from the dollar store. Someone has to sit on the floor because there isn't enough room and last year, the floor hadn't been cleaned. I cried a lot about this.  I still don't really understand what I did wrong. 😞 


Your holiday sounds delightful and beautiful for you to offer.

Their holiday sounds delightful and stress-free for them to offer. 

You didn’t do anything wrong for doing it differently.  They were insecure asses.

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2 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

LOL I love adults who declare "I don't love vegetables." in front of kids.  My MIL has said exactly the same kind of thing.  

And ewww that gravy sounds completely nasty!

Our Thanksgiving would not be complete without the gravy. This is how you make it:

One can cream of chicken soup

One cup chicken broth

One cup uncooked dressing. 

Heat until bubbly. May add extra chopped boiled eggs.

You're welcome😁

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12 hours ago, Little Green Leaves said:

I really miss the days when I was the irresponsible relative. I'm way too old to feel this way but I do wish that I could still show up for Thanksgiving dinner with just flowers, or a bottle of wine, or some other feckless offering. No, now I'm assigned side dishes and I'm an integral part of the event -- this is super hard on my commitment issues and leaves me with zero wiggle room.

I'm mostly kidding. I love Thanksgiving and I love seeing everyone. But something about all the planning and pressure brings out my inner teenager.

 

12 hours ago, Little Green Leaves said:

I am grateful not to host Thanksgiving!

I'd happily do ALL the cleanup if I didn't have to be part of the dinner planning. I think many people feel that way -- it's just so much lower pressure. Every year we all compete for who can get to the kitchen first to start washing dishes. Being in the kitchen means gossiping with whoever else is in there, drinking an extra glass of wine, AND feeling virtuous, while everyone else is arguing over when to serve dessert.

 

Were we separated at birth @Little Green Leaves?  I so agree with your sentiments.  

A completely different path of life has followed those “..showing up to Thanksgiving Dinner with just flowers” days for me.  I host.  And, I do love it.   China.  Chrystal.  Requesting menu helps/accepting what is brought.  But, we have no choice.  For many years, we have hosted a large Friends-giving, because there just wasn’t any family beyond the IL’s.  That has all faded away, and, this year, with only the IL’s it will be quieter (just our immediate family) and the ILs and UNO games.  Fun, for certain, but I am longing for the day when there is some extended family to wash dishes with.

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We usually host Thanksgiving and make the turkey and a few simple side dishes. I don't ask anyone to bring anything. I usually invite my adult kids and my parents and my mom always makes the pies, my boys and their SO often show up with beer and some side dishes. One son usually ends up bringing friends who don't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving and I wouldn't expect them to bring anything. Sometimes my sister will come and she'll offer to bring something. We don't have anyone like "that relative".

I had to laugh about the pies. My parents aren't coming this year, but my mom still made the pies and we picked them up yesterday. We all ate a piece last night! LOL! It's OK because we  still have two that are untouched and plenty left of the one we taste-tested and we're having a smaller than normal crowd this year.

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15 hours ago, TABmom said:

This is my inlaws!!! When we first married- heck, before we were married- I was expected to bring green bean casserole from 13 hours away! There was no getting out of it. I had to pack the ingredients and make it when we got there- multiple times. My MIL co.plains about me needing the oven, but she will not budge on us bringing something else. Fortunately, we only live an hour away now. I'm still bringing green bean casserole. 

When I was growing up, my aunt/uncle that lived a couple hours away always brought rolls and drinks because they were traveling. 

 

Yes!  The worst sin ever is to try to make the dish in question in the host's kitchen!  Before I switched to the renegotiating tactic, I would just show up in the morning to make the requested dish.  That did not go well.  At all.  When dinner was over 2 hours late (it always always always is), the "reason" was that "someone" was taking up the oven "the whole morning."  I even tried to get crafty with a crockpot one year and just the very presence on the counter came within inches of ruining Thanksgiving forever.  

I really find it amusing more than anything.  The people involved are not generally terrible people.  Something about a large meal just brings out the worst in some people.  I like to cook and would love to be able to bring something homemade and special, but it just isn't possible.  I am more than happy to spend twice as much as everyone else to bring something that fits with our travel plans like wine, beer, paper products, pie, or all of the above.

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My mil is very generous about making most of the food so that those with jobs and/or kids only have to bring one item.  I was thrilled this year that she finally agreed to let me pick up pumpkin pie from Costco, in addition to my usual green beans with garlic.  She's still making a special pie for her dc with food allergies, as am I (different allergies), but this will save tons of time and space.  The Costco pies are stackable! :biggrin:

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24 minutes ago, skimomma said:

 

Yes!  The worst sin ever is to try to make the dish in question in the host's kitchen!  Before I switched to the renegotiating tactic, I would just show up in the morning to make the requested dish.  That did not go well.  At all.  When dinner was over 2 hours late (it always always always is), the "reason" was that "someone" was taking up the oven "the whole morning."  I even tried to get crafty with a crockpot one year and just the very presence on the counter came within inches of ruining Thanksgiving forever.  

I really find it amusing more than anything.  The people involved are not generally terrible people.  Something about a large meal just brings out the worst in some people.  I like to cook and would love to be able to bring something homemade and special, but it just isn't possible.  I am more than happy to spend twice as much as everyone else to bring something that fits with our travel plans like wine, beer, paper products, pie, or all of the above.

Yeah, in fairness, if you've planned to bake a turkey on Thanksgiving, you need your oven all day.  But I appreciate the good intentions.  And this is one of the reasons I just don't even try to cook.  There is no way it's going to be good enough for the tradition.

I also don't buy and bring food, because that is considered an insult to those who cook.

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37 minutes ago, SKL said:

Yeah, in fairness, if you've planned to bake a turkey on Thanksgiving, you need your oven all day.  But I appreciate the good intentions.  And this is one of the reasons I just don't even try to cook.  There is no way it's going to be good enough for the tradition.

 

back when we were hosting dh's family - there was one  member who would sign-up to bring a side dish that needed to be cooked. she'd always wait until she got her to prepare it.  uh - no. we might have a generous amount of counter space plus a kitchen table - but it's all being used. dh got where he didn't care if any dish she brought was ready when dinner was or not.  as far as he was concerned- when the turkey was reading - it was time to eat.  if your dish isn't ready, too bad so sad.

then the "we're not hosting" got forced and other sil hosted.   - she waited dinner 30 minutes so that relative could cook her *vegetable*! (there were other vegetables on the table)   the turkey was cold, gravy had congealed, etc. -- it did help dh understand what 1dd and I had been complaining about for year . . . . and was the last time we had thanksgiving with his family.

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2 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

You guys are making me nervous that I'm "that relative".  

How do you decide what is an appropriate amount for each person to bring?  I've been assigned the vegetables this year, plus one pie, but I'm bringing almost half the people.  That doesn't seem like our fair share.  

If you asked what you could bring you are not "that relative".

If you agreed to whatever you were assigned you are not "that relative."

If you are generally pleasant and appreciative toward your host you are not "that relative"

 

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3 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

You guys are making me nervous that I'm "that relative".  

How do you decide what is an appropriate amount for each person to bring?  I've been assigned the vegetables this year, plus one pie, but I'm bringing almost half the people.  That doesn't seem like our fair share.  

if you are concerned it's not enough - call the host and ask if it would be helpful for her if you brought anything else.   make some suggestions of things you could bring.

an appetizer, other dessert as well (1dd is making four pumpkin pies for 18 people. and we have a Costco apple pie.)

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9 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

You guys are making me nervous that I'm "that relative".  

How do you decide what is an appropriate amount for each person to bring?  I've been assigned the vegetables this year, plus one pie, but I'm bringing almost half the people.  That doesn't seem like our fair share.  

As an outside observer of this thread...

Are you bring enough veggies for everyone?

Were you asked to bring the turkey, but refused?

Are you bringing a whole pie and expecting to take half of it home?

It seems that if the answers to these questions are no, then you are not *that* relative. And in all seriousness, if you are celebrating with that part of your family that has been so wonderful about helping your son, I can’t imagine them being anything other than loving people who just want to spend time with your family, and wouldn’t care two bits if you came empty handed.

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When I host I really am happy to provide the bulk of the meal. It really is not more than an eyeroll at this point and laughing at my brother with his " I am better than all of you. You are so lucky I spend a holiday with you."

But seriously the issue is that he is a jerk. If they were pleasant company and acted genuinely appreciative we would be fine. I would think he just struggles inexplicably with this social arrangement. If he showed up with his two pies (of which he planned to share 1.5) and a bottle of wine for me and said "Thanks for hosting. I know it is alot of work" I would be more than content at this point.

So all of you that are worried that you are "that relative" as long as you are pleasant and appreciative of the trouble the host has gone to I am pretty sure you are not. If you walk in and immediately complain about what is missing or what is done incorrectly and you never offer to help in the kitchen or with the kids or whatever then yes, you might be.

I am sure you are all lovely guests and you are welcome here any time. But no gravy with eggs. Have to draw the line somewhere.

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10 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

 

So all of you that are worried that you are "that relative" as long as you are pleasant and appreciative of the trouble the host has gone to I am pretty sure you are not. If you walk in and immediately complain about what is missing or what is done incorrectly and you never offer to help in the kitchen or with the kids or whatever then yes, you might be.

 

I don't know . . . maybe I'm just a grudge holder, suspicious person in general. . . 

dh has one relative, after big blow ups - and me feeling like she was taking over to get the adulation as hostess *in my house*, telling people what to do, etc. (this really doesn't adequately describe what happened) . . . she would go in and start cleaning up, as though she was trying to be helpful - by that time, I was already so suspicious of her motives, I just could never trust her to be sincere or truly appreciative.  I felt like if she really was - she wouldn't have been the person behind the move for me to host thanksgiving every single year - for 25 years. (and when I finally got through to dh, and she was forced to host in her house - most of the people were here own family - she wouldn't have tried to get it moved back to my house)

but then, I consider her to be a prima dona who lives to be the center of attention (she did things to get the attention on herself at her own dd's bridal shower, and another dd's twin's baby shower.).   

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5 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

When I host I really am happy to provide the bulk of the meal. It really is not more than an eyeroll at this point and laughing at my brother with his " I am better than all of you. You are so lucky I spend a holiday with you."

But seriously the issue is that he is a jerk. If they were pleasant company and acted genuinely appreciative we would be fine. I would think he just struggles inexplicably with this social arrangement. If he showed up with his two pies (of which he planned to share 1.5) and a bottle of wine for me and said "Thanks for hosting. I know it is alot of work" I would be more than content at this point.

So all of you that are worried that you are "that relative" as long as you are pleasant and appreciative of the trouble the host has gone to I am pretty sure you are not. If you walk in and immediately complain about what is missing or what is done incorrectly and you never offer to help in the kitchen or with the kids or whatever then yes, you might be.

I am sure you are all lovely guests and you are welcome here any time. But no gravy with eggs. Have to draw the line somewhere.

Yes, in our families, if you are hosting a dinner, guests are not expected to bring anything. Of course ours are much smaller.... maybe 10-12 people. Bringing wine/beer is common. I made appetizers for Christmas dinner last year. When it’s been friends invited, I may ask them to bring rolls or dessert, but they are always fine to just bring themselves. 

 

2 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Yes, I am bringing multiple types of veggies, in rather large quantities.  

No, the host is providing the turkey, I will help cook it, but I'm not buying it. 

Actually, sort of yes.  I mean, I'm not cutting it in half and putting it aside, but we have a lot of really good bakers in the family, so there will be lots of treats and lots of left overs.  So, I expect that I'll come home with the equivalent of half a pie, at a minimum, although it might not be half of mine, more likely an assortment of slices.

 

Absolutely, if I called my in laws and said "cooking is too much" they wouldn't bat an eye.  But the fact that they would never say no is sort of why it's important to me that I monitor that I'm doing my share, if that makes sense.  

They're also hosting my mother and my brother, it was very generous of them to include them.  

And again, no problem here. Say thanks for having us on your way out the door, and don’t tell me how to cook my turkey, and nothing further is expected or required, lol.

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5 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Yes, I am bringing multiple types of veggies, in rather large quantities.  

No, the host is providing the turkey, I will help cook it, but I'm not buying it. 

Actually, sort of yes.  I mean, I'm not cutting it in half and putting it aside, but we have a lot of really good bakers in the family, so there will be lots of treats and lots of left overs.  So, I expect that I'll come home with the equivalent of half a pie, at a minimum, although it might not be half of mine, more likely an assortment of slices.

 

Absolutely, if I called my in laws and said "cooking is too much" they wouldn't bat an eye.  But the fact that they would never say no is sort of why it's important to me that I monitor that I'm doing my share, if that makes sense.  

They're also hosting my mother and my brother, it was very generous of them to include them.  

((Hugs)) I was only joking about my questions! I knew your answers before I asked.
You’re golden. Have a wonderful time. Catch up with your family. Relax. Enjoy! 

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Our family doesn't have a "fair share" standard.  Thanksgiving is not a pot luck.  Most people are not asked to bring anything - if you are asked, it is because you have a specialty dish that you will probably be proud to bring.

Those not asked to cook usually do bring something, of their choice.  One person brings a baked treat that is always appreciated, one brings raw veggies.  I bring the wine.

When my kids were little, my folks told me I shouldn't do anything other than bring the kids.  They were the littlest, and therefore by default the cutest and most entertaining, and also plenty of mom work in and of themselves.  It probably helped that I had 3 able bodied, childless, culinarily talented siblings at that time.

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I am a terrible cook.  My husband or kids do all the cooking.  Like, I have often messed up spaghetti.  I was assigned to bring the fruit salad.  Cool.  I can handle that.  But I've now been involved in over an hour of texting about what is and is not acceptable to include in the fruit salad.  Now I am super stressed about it.  Thank God I wasn't assigned anything crucial!

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