Hosting Thanksgiving (Some Lessons Learned)


I went completely nutters. I wish I could put all the blame on my hormones being out of whack as I was pregnant at one point BUT I volunteered AGAIN! I think I have to admit that I actually enjoyed hosting Thanksgiving…twice!

Holiday traditions

Ever since I can remember, Thanksgiving has been one of my favourite holidays.  Thanksgiving was spent with my dad’s side of the family and each year it rotates to a different family member.

For Thanksgiving dinner, we’d get a bit dressed up and spend the day with cousins, uncles/aunts, and grandparents. The moms were always in the kitchen helping (unless we were at Aunt Ruth’s house, I don’t remember her needing much help).

The dads were around the tv watching the football games and the kids were running in and out, playing various games. There was always a lot of love, laughter, and food!

New traditions

After my mom died, my family kind of fell out of hosting. In 2013, I got married and Thanksgiving was at my cousin Dee’s house. After filling my plate and glass up for the second or third time (who’s really counting at this point), we all started talking about who would be hosting the next year. I chose this moment in my food coma to volunteer as tribute. To this day I’m not sure why my husband didn’t loudly pronounce how much I hate cooking AND being in the kitchen. But he chose that moment to have another bite of stuffing.

Hosting while very pregnant!

Since I would be hosting, I mentally prepared to cook a lot of food for twelve people. I had gone online and searched for recipes and made a huge menu. I had enlisted my brother to make the mac and cheese. I reserved my turkey and ham, gathered the necessary tools to not only cook the food but to also serve and eat the food.

What I wasn’t mentally prepared for was being seven months pregnant. That’s right…seven! For those who don’t understand, I was a whale walking on sausage legs holding up a beach ball sized belly. I was achy and tired and about to host Thanksgiving for twelve people, for the first time.

So the week arrives and I finalize my cooking plans. I decided that if I prepped things the day before, I should have everything ready on time. But I quickly realized that I don’t actually know how to cook a turkey. Wednesday was apparently too late to start defrosting the turkey-oops!

And because this was my first time hosting, I felt the need to make a lot of food. Like, a lot. Two types of potatoes-mashed and sweet. Two types of casseroles-squash and green bean. Greens, ham, turkey, gravy…you get the point.

Miraculously I was able to get the turkey defrosted and cooked properly and we were all eating by six on Thanksgiving night. Once I had finished eating, I quickly excused myself and went to bed. I was exhausted and vowed not to host again.

Wash, rinse, repeat (hosting part two)

Welp! Three years passed, and I’m hosting again. But, this time I am not seven months pregnant plus I learned a few valuable lessons the first time around (i.e. take the turkey out to defrost on Monday, depending on the size, and K.I.S.S. – keep it simple stupid).

This time my menu was much simpler and smaller. I still had turkey and ham, but only sweet potatoes and green bean casserole, greens, and a few other items.

I put aside my pride and let my family help me instead of trying to cook the whole meal alone. That proved to be an extremely funny learning experience. I was really able to enjoy hosting Thanksgiving the second time around and stay up past 7 p.m. this time!