Deborah Armstrong

Holiday Dinners with Family

Deborah's Diary

Ten things I have learned over the years when hosting a family get together  (listed in no particular order):
1. Vacuum. Get as much cat hair out of the house before the allergy sufferers arrive. Nothing puts a damper on the festivities more than sniffling noses and red eyes. It’s best to vacuum the day before to let the dander settle out of the air.  Have Benedryl or something like it on hand for those allergy sufferers who forget about the cats (every year) and bring nothing to help ease their reactions.
2. Don’t worry about the table cloth – stains and wrinkles from its last use don’t matter. Once the plates and serving dishes are set for twenty, no one will notice a thing. Be assured another stain will be added during the meal.
3. Don’t sweat the cooking. Stuffing the turkey, making the casseroles and setting the table takes 2 1/2 hours. This can be done the day of the gathering leaving plenty of time for a nap before company arrives.
4. Be flexible. Let your family arrive when they can get there. Appreciate the long distances they are driving to spend time with you. Have supper when the meal is ready, not when the clock says it’s time to eat.
5. Let your family bring food if they want. Wine is always better, but food should always be accepted graciously.
6. Let your family sit where they want to at the table. The conversation always turns out to be entertaining and educational. You never know what you will learn.
7. Don’t be upset if not everyone can make it. You know you’ll see them next time when it’s your turn for their visit.
8. Let your family do the dishes if they volunteer. It’s the best hostess gift you could ask for.
9. Serve decaf. It sucks being up at 2:30 am when the two cups of coffee consumed with pumpkin pie at 7pm kicks in.
10. Enjoy your time with family and make the most of it. Be truly thankful. Family is precious and our time spent together is a gift we should never take for granted.

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