On one hand beautiful meals are something to remember, but it can also keep mom in the kitchen for hours and hours. An amazing table setting can show the love and time you took to make things special for all. Although having mom sit and play games with you can mean as much to the kids as any aroma or mood setting we can create with holiday favorites.
I imagine as long as we have kids in our home our focus will be more on how quick and easy can we make prep time, cook time, and clean up time. My kids need us filling them up with our presence more than filling up their tummies.
If Thanksgiving and Christmas have not been full of games, peaceful interaction, days of hanging out in your p.j.'s, time to regroup, do nothing, and laugh at everything, then I quite possibly didn't achieve my goal.
This year we took it up a notch and actually put up some Christmas decor prior to Thanksgiving (I always said I would never do that...never say never!). Our tradition has always been the day after Thanksgiving we are all (well mostly me) in decoration mode for Christmas. This year we decided to do it a little differently. We put up the tree, lights, and garland before Thanksgiving so we could enjoy the entire Thanksgiving break to its fullest! (Even mom!) Sometime in the next couple of days we will put up the rest of the Christmas decorations. In the meantime I'm not feeling the pressure to send the boys to the attic 10 times, destroy the house that was cleaned for Thanksgiving, or put kids off from playing to decorate for the next season. We created a Thanksgiving/Christmas blend that kept our hearts on Thankfulness for Thanksgiving and our hearts at peace for Christmas!
So how does a family of 10 plus any extra friends/family that come make Thanksgiving simple and easy?
- teamwork - divide and conquer
- plan - make a list and check it twice!
- clean - clean as you go!
- play - everyone plays something!
Teamwork - means we give small tasks for everyone to do. It shouldn't all be on mom's shoulders to do it all. I have found if I plan well and keep it simple the kids don't mind helping out. It means I have to put my head where theirs is and look for their desires verses mine. But with a little foresight I can create moments where they enjoy (most the time) to help and serve too.
Plan - means mom does work 2 weeks out preparing. Mostly preparing my mind and the details of the coming days. Putting my head in the game early means we all enjoy the week. We make grocery lists, cleaning lists, cooking lists for all to see. We divide the cooking among some of the kids. Everyone taking on a different dish. While the next person moves into the kitchen to make their dish the one who just finished cleans up their mess. YES, for the most part our kitchen is clean when it is time to eat. I find they don't mind cooking and cleaning when there is activity in the kitchen. So keeping a running agenda of people in and out keeps the kids engaged!
Clean Up- means we go paper! Our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals will be tasty but they may not be displayed the most beautiful way. Our table will be elegant but the serving dishes will not be fancy. Typically within 45 minutes of eating we are cleaned up and ready for a few games here and there.
Play - means with a family of 10 you have to look at the various ages and change up games to play with all. Cards of all kinds, blokus, sorry, wii, set, nertz, conasta, tossing ball with toddler, or watching football we will have something for everyone.
Thanksgiving round was a success!
Tweaking our schedule and we will be ready for the Christmas round soon.
Our bellies are full, tree lights are twinkling, our home is filled with music or sounds of football, our hearts are at peace, and laughter is being shared by all! We are all thankful for where God has us. And so very thankful for the family and friends He as given to each of us. We are humbled at so many blessings and often find we can hardly keep track of them!
Lord, help us to continue to see the many blessings you pour out, yearly, monthly, and daily!
Happy Thanksgiving FRIENDS!