My family always makes an effort to get together over the holidays, which is not an easy feat considering we live all across the country. When we do manage to pull it off, it’s a pretty big event, with tons of kids and lots of travel involved. This year, I somehow convinced the whole clan to fly to California for a big Thanksgiving gathering. It was my first time hosting such a large group, and I was excited and a bit nervous. Much to my husband’s dismay, I LOVE to plan, so I took to the task like an event planner. Needless to say, between working, kids and life, finding time to prepare for this was not easy. I learned a lot along the way, and thought I could pass along a few ideas to save you some time and stress.
1) Plan, plan, plan. This was honestly the fun part for me, because it tapped into my “type A” personality. Making lists is a favorite pastime of mine, so as soon as I knew people were coming, I started making lots of them. Lists of clothes, food, car seats, linens… I even made a spreadsheet of when family was arriving and into what airport, who was renting a car, etc. It was probably a little obsessive but also very satisfying. I kept the lists on my phone so that I could update them on the go.
2) Prepare easy meals and delegate. We knew we wanted to cook most of our traditional holiday favorites on Thanksgiving day (which is a lot of work!), so we planned for simple meals the rest of the week to encourage quality time together outside of the kitchen. Furthermore, we delegated each family couple to take a turn “hosting” a dinner, which prevented any one person (aka me!) from shouldering all the responsibility of meal prep. Our family got really into this and had a lot of fun preparing their meal.
(Originally published on San Francisco Mom’s Blog on December 16, 2016)