Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An intimate dinner for 27

Over the past few days, I have gotten great amusement from telling people that I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 27 people at my home on Thursday.

This is our third Thanksgiving with a big crowd. We had 25 in 2005 and 21 last year, but our family keeps growing and my sister-in-law is coming all the way from Oregon with her new husband to be with us this year, so it’s the biggest crowd yet. When I tell people, the jaw drops, eye pops and questions are pretty entertaining.

Here are some of the most common questions:

Who are all these people?
They are all from my husband’s side of the family. There is my mother-in-law and her husband. Mark’s two sisters, his brother, their spouses and children. Then we have three of my mother-in-law’s husband’s adult children, their spouses and children (one couple in this group has five children ranging from a teenage girl to a five-month-old son. They are saints.) And then, of course, the four of us. There are 11 kids under 12, a couple of teenagers and then the rest are adults.

Are you cooking for all those people?
Yes and no. I have a number of things to prepare, but everyone who is coming is contributing something. There is no way I could pull this off without all the wonderful help I am receiving. I am happiest that I have no pie responsibilities (thank God, because while I love to bake, I cannot stand making pies).

Can you fit all of those people in your house?
Yes, and fairly well too. Our house is nothing fancy – just a 1950s-circa ranch. It has small bedrooms, but very large common rooms. We have two large “living rooms” (one I guess is technically a game room since it houses a pool table) that are next to each other and very open, a large dining room with VERY long antique dining room table and a fairly big kitchen.

Do you have a kids’ table?
Yes, we have a cover that converts our pool table into a flat surface. That serves as the kids’ table.

How do you feed everyone in an orderly way?
We feed the kids at the pool table first. All the respective parents set them up with food and drink and get them situated and eating. Then we wait until they are done. Honestly? This takes about 10-15 minutes. Kids are very fast eaters. Once they are done, the adults go into the dining room and eat.

It must be total chaos.
Well, yes, a bit. But it’s good chaos – a warm, happy chaos. The kids play together well and keep each other entertained for the most part while the adults mingle and spread out keeping an eye on things

So that should give you an idea of what my Turkey Day will be like this year. Fun. Crazy. Stressful. Warm. Loving.

What are you expecting this year?

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Blogger Colleen said...

I'm so jealous. When I was growing up my Mom always hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas. We never had less than 15 people (although we never had 27!!!) It was always so wonderful. Your kids are going to have totally amazing memories of Thanksgiving. Zoe isn't getting those huge family holidays. Our family has spread out now... my parents and brother's family and my grandparents live in FL. My uncle and his family at in Minn. The older relatives have passed away. I'm sad that Zoe won't have the same "chaos". We'll be having Thanksgiving at my in-laws' house in Denville. The 2 of them, the 3 of us... and my brother-in-law his wife and 3 kids. Still not small... but so not what I grew up with. (Plus... one year they didn't make Turkey!!!!!!)

9:16 PM  
Blogger URBAN PEDESTRIAN said...

Er - Thanksgiving is a distant memory already for us Canucks - but yours sounds like the kind of holiday gathering I always wanted to be a part of

7:55 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

What a great idea to have the kids set up and eat first! The parents always get the kids set up, but then we try to eat at the same time and spend half the time getting refills, cleaning up spills and breaking up fights (just kidding!). I think we'll try this for Christmas this year. Thanks!


1:40 PM  

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