Dear Barb—The Christmas Hat

Dear Barb:

It’s two weeks before Christmas and we still haven’t decided who is hosting Christmas dinner.  I come from a family of five girls.  We all have partners and a couple of us have young kids.  My parents are getting older and my mom has developed health issues so she is not able to prepare a big dinner.  My sisters don’t really want to do the dinner, and I’m a little hesitant, since I’ve never prepared a dinner for so many people.  We would like to hold the dinner at my parent’s home because they have the most room, but I think that might be too much for my mom because she will want to help.  I really need some suggestions on how to manage what will become a new tradition in our family.  Thanks so much, Amanda.

Hey Amanda:

Eventually this responsibility falls to all of us.  Our parents get older or move to smaller places and the kids have to take over.  I can understand your hesitancy, as it is a big responsibility and can be quite expensive.  Fortunately, since you have a big family, you can all share in the work and the expense.  Have you talked to your parents about how they feel about having the dinner at their home, with you and your siblings doing all the work? If you feel it will be too much for your mother and she will find it difficult to sit back and allow the rest of you to do the work, then I wouldn’t plan to have dinner there.  My favorite, and the fairest way, to choose who will host dinner is to put each family’s name into a hat/bag and choose one.  That person will be responsible for preparing the turkey and stuffing and hosting the dinner at their home.  There is a lot of information on the internet about how to prepare a turkey and stuffing.  As well I’m sure your mom will gladly share her recipes with you girls.  The other issue is who will prepare the side dishes and desserts.  From the four names that are left choose two side dishes, a salad and dessert.  Each person brings their choice, whether their dish is homemade or store bought, it is up to them.  This way the work is distributed among everyone.  Undoubtedly the person who has to prepare the turkey and stuffing with have the most expensive part, but the other four of you could contribute to the cost of the turkey.  It will be fun and you never know what dishes you will end up with.  Give it a try this year and see how it works out.  Thanks for your letter and Merry Christmas to your family.