Saturday, November 26, 2011

Plenty To Be Thankful For

This year, obviously, was our first Thanksgiving with children. It's also the first Thanksgiving in two years that I've actually celebrated on the Thursday. (Which makes it the first Thanksgiving I've done myself that's happened on Thanksgiving.) Truth be told, I'm impressed with myself. Seven adults is the largest gathering I've ever done Thanksgiving dinner for, and to have managed the feat doing all the cooking myself with a month-old baby in the background is pretty good. That said, there are many tricks of the trade required to pull off such holiday splendour with tiny humans in the mix, and so I submit to you my own tried and tested rules for The Holidays...With Children.

Turkey Day Happy Dance

Rule number one about trying to conquer the holidays with children: do things in shifts. 2 Days Before: made pumpkin pie. 1 Day Before: Prepped ingredients for turkey and chopped potatoes for mashed potatoes. 3 Hours Before: put turkey in oven. 1 Hour Before: made biscuit dough. 30 Minutes Before: boiled & seasoned mashed potatoes, boiled mixed vegetables, baked biscuits. 10 Minutes Before: made gravy, microwaved stuffing.

Rule number two: Get help. The Husband came home early to watch Little E and to clean up the living room and set the table while I got the cooking done. Whenever it's possible, definitely make the most of the whole division of labour idea. It's a life saver. Yummmmmm... (Anybody who remembers the '90s totally saw that coming.)

Rule number three: simplify everything. Instead of making my own pie crust, I bought pre-made crust that I just had to roll out. Instead of buttermilk biscuits, I used a slightly simpler recipe for baking powder biscuits. Instead of making my own stuffing, I bought a nice instant stuffing at the grocery store. Oh, and I had all the brothers and sisters bring drinks instead of trying to find room in my fridge for them all week. Know your limits: and with a baby to look after, your biggest limit will be time. Babies need feeding and changing and holding, so any shortcuts you can take to make Thanksgiving dinner easier on you are a good idea.

In the end, everything worked out really well and we had - as usual - a great time. The evening was peppered with lots of sharing of the latest humorous finds from Teh Interwebz; which seems to have become a tradition with our family Thanksgiving celebrations now. I guess this is what you get when the gathered family consists of people aged 17-28...well, now aged 1 month to 28 years.

Let's feed the baby things he can't eat!
Of course, now that Thanksgiving has passed, while I spend the next month eating turkey sandwiches and turkey soup (you owe it to yourself to use all parts of the proverbial buffalo) I'll be gearing up for Christmas. I get to start playing my 200-song strong Christmas playlist in iTunes, and set up my Christmas tree, and wrap presents, and find a tiny Santa hat in which to take exploitative pictures of my son, and watch Love Actually and The Bishop's Wife, and bake speculaas, and sing carols, and basically become the most obnoxious fountain of holiday cheer this side of the Island of Misfit Toys.

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