Why I Don't Have a "Martha Stewart" Thanksgiving

Table barely got set that year, ended up with everyday dishes. No one seemed to mind.
I love holiday meals, I really do. What I love the best is the family all gathered together in one place, laughing and telling old family stories. My family is great at teasing in a loving way with no one taking offense. Most holiday meals are at my house and I love that.  But I confess there have been years where I was a total stress mess getting it all together and ready. Over many years of doing this I have developed a few "rules" for myself to help insure we all have an enjoyable meal.

So, I'm sharing my rules, or tips, with you in hopes that it will help you have a more relaxed holiday meal, even if things aren't Martha Stewart perfect!
Good example, somehow we ended up with green plates and blue glasses....hummm

  1. I'm not a Martha Stewart type. I cook, but I'm not big on tablescapes and lots of homemade table decorations. I think they're beautiful and I'm envious of all of you that are able to pull it off but I have accepted that its just not my thing so I don't force it. I've learned that its just undue stress for me and that none of my family seem to really care anyway. They are more interested in the company and food than the decor. I like to think that I decorate my table with lots of good food! 
  2. I've learned not to worry if the house is not spotless. I do get the bed made, the bathroom wiped down, and in my house (because we have dogs) its important to make sure the floor is clean. Other than that I try to clean in the kitchen as much as I can as I go. You know how it is with a big meal, there is a constant flow of dirty mixing bowls, utensils, and cooking pots.
  3. I do try to do what I can in advance. There have been years where, because of work schedules, this has been all but impossible. But I do what I can, anything from cleaning or de-cluttering a particular embarrassing area of the house or cooking something a day or more in advance. Menu planning and grocery shopping of course have to be done in advance no matter how busy we are! lol
  4. I have come to realize that not every dish is going to turn out great. There is bound to be something that, for whatever reason, just doesn't come out right. And you know what, its okay, its really okay.
  5. I have a rule, that I stop everything, sit down, and relax at least 30 minutes before I expect guests to arrive. Even if things aren't completed or even if I'm behind...I still do this. I need to relax for a few minutes and remember what I'm doing and why. I'm not trying to impress, I'm trying to create a loving and homey environment for those I love.
  6. I've learned to let others help clean up and to not be concerned about how they do it. The girls in my family usually take over in the kitchen after the meal, washing, drying, and putting away dishes. (I don't have a dishwasher)
  7. The best part of the dinner is usually just before its put on the table (when people are picking at the turkey or snitching a taste of ham) or just after dinner (when everyone sits back, maybe with a cup of coffee, and just visits).
  8. This is the thing, for me anyway. I have learned (for the most part) to relax and enjoy the day. Yes, its work but its work I chose to do for those I love. My goal is to create a pleasant place for them to gather and enjoy the day. An end note here, my Mom is 88 years old and while we never know whether or not this could be our last holiday spent with any relative, at her advanced age its even more important to gather her family around her. To hear her stories and let her hear ours, to share laughter with her and make as many good memories as possible. In order to make this a priority over a perfect turkey or an impressive decor I need to relax so that others can relax.
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts...I would love to hear yours! ♥

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