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Hosting Large Holiday Meals

Started by jdtm, April 09, 2017, 01:37:09 pm

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jdtm

Do you still host large holiday meals?  Or have you made changes in dealing with holiday functions.  I know - Easter is around the corner and I don't know what to do do.  I don't want to "host" (I am still able but it is difficult) and I'm not sure how many of my immediate family would be available.  It is the uncertainty (two sons with families) that bothers me - do they only come because it is a duty?  Would they rather not?  If I don't host, will we see our family even less?  I could ask but, well - I am embarrassed to say that I might not get a reply (which hurts even more).   Sometimes one of our daughters-in-law hosts but, well - often times not.   My beloved mother-in-law told us when she turned 70 "I don't do big holiday meals any more"; my beloved mother told us "I want to host holiday gatherings as long as I can".  As I said, I do not want to host (restaurants are okay but not for  every holiday).  What to do?  Most of us are here because of a "fragile" family relationship.

Just wondering what the rest of our wise women do or think ...

luise.volta

I gave them up when they weren't fun for me to prepare and serve any longer. It's a custom that is falling by the wayside. Yes, I saw less of my clan but my sense was they were coming out of obligation and that didn't work for me, either. I've noticed that I have more meaningful interactions when it's on-on-one, which, for me is a good trade-off...and we don't have to coordinate those with others. Times are a-changin'...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

PatiencePlease

I agree with Luise -- it's a custom that is falling by the wayside. I loved hosting large holiday meals over the years.  It was usually my husband's family because all my family lived out of state.  My parents would come and stay with us now and then to share these times.

When we downsized I stopped doing it. I simply didn't have the space to accommodate all those people anymore.  My kids moved out of state.  No one else from the family stepped up to the plate to take over hosting the holidays.

So now my husband and I do our own thing.  We attend church and eat dinner at home.  Sometimes we will watch old family videos -- we find them entertaining and they remind us of how lucky we were to share all those family times together over the years (especially since so many of those who sat at our table are no longer with us).

It took me awhile to get used to this "new normal," of quiet holidays but it's really not so bad.  It's been five years since I stopped hosting and I do appreciate not knocking myself out with all the cooking and everything else that comes with being a holiday host.   It's all good.

Jdtm, you will figure out what works for you now.  The holiday canvas is blank.  Paint it any way you like.

jdtm

So far no plans for Easter but I am NOT hosting our family this year - maybe Mother's Day dinner in a restaurant.   Thanks to Luise and  Patience, I only have a wee bit of guilt.  And Luise - you are correct - it is no longer "fun" to host these meals (especially when your family "eats and runs").  Afterwards, I would feel "sad" - not because the holiday was over, but because the interaction felt so "empty" after I would work and plan and hope so much.  I know I will see my family less - we don't see them much now - but I don't know how to change this (one of my DILs claims I just don't try hard enough) - frankly, I am tired of being the only one who "tries".

It is a "new normal" or "times are a-changin" ....

luise.volta

My take is it's both, jdtm. When I was young, travel and communication were both very different. We didn't all even have phones and they were costly. The depression figured into everything we did and didn't do. For those reasons, holiday get to-gethers were much anticipated occasions. That's the only time we saw our relatives. It was a really big deal. I don't think things are worse now or better...just different. There are pluses and minuses, course. What we do to be true to our own need for a sense of peace and joy may be different for each one of us. I have opted for one-on-ones since gatherings no longer bring me a sense of real connection. Hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

gettingoldandcranky

jdtm  i find it very hard also to see how things change.  growing up, the holidays were always with family.  big meal, dressing up, easter baskets and egg hunts.  such a fun day!
now my adult kids aren't interested in the same - i just don't understand.  my grandkids won't have that anticipation for new outfits, basket surprises.  it is sad in my opinion.  but i am cooking the meal for my hubs and me.  if they come and participate it will be great!  we were told at christmas that they would not be coming and by the day before, plans had changed and my house was full!
you never know what life brings.  i've decided to do what makes me happy and go from there.  hope whatever you do brings you joy!

Pen

So far this year the only one eager for an Easter celebration is our dear disabled adult daughter who is still interested in Easter baskets and the whole hoopla. I'm guessing DS/DIL will spend time w/DIL's FOO because there are young children there who will be hunting eggs, dressing up, etc. We will not be invited, so I will make things a little festive here for DDD, DH & myself. If DS/DIL make the drive after they visit the other family, they will be welcomed. So far no word from them.

Re hosting/entertaining, I was raised to make guests feel special and welcomed to my home, even "drop-ins." I'm finding that DS & DIL don't go out of their way to make us feel welcomed at their home when we're invited. Perhaps it's the way young people are these days, but I always loved creating ambience, ironing the linens, making a centerpiece, planning the menu, etc. even on a strict budget (not an issue w/DS/DIL.) I take everyone's dietary needs/preferences into consideration, but DS/DIL mostly leave it up to us to bring what we need. It's very odd to me, but that's the way it is.

I too miss the special gatherings of my youth, but I'm so grateful my parents and others made the effort. I know how much work was involved to create a magical day!

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb