This year, for the first time ever, our daughter’s school district decided to give all of the kids the entire week of Thanksgiving off. Had we paid closer attention to the schedule earlier in the year, we may have made loftier travel plans, but once we were committed to stay in town and host Thanksgiving, we knew a long trip away wasn’t in the cards.
We opted for a short, two-night, three-day trip a few hours away in St. Augustine. My parents came with us, and it was a terrific time. The photo above is of me, blissfully ready to make my vacation day amazing, attempting to forget that I left a messy home and only half of my Thanksgiving ingredients purchased.
We are now at 3:06 pm on the day before Thanksgiving. We spent the morning doing more shopping and more decluttering, along with getting the big ol’turkey spatchcocked, massaged with homemade herb butter, and laid out on a big bed of aromatics, where he’ll spend the evening in the fridge, awaiting a quick roast tomorrow morning. The turkey is literally the only thing chilling out at t-minus 22 hours to our 1:00 p.m. meal tomorrow.
I want to pretend that I am all sweetness and light when prepping to host a holiday. I want to imagine myself being so organized during my everyday life, that holiday clean-up isn’t a big hassle. I want to envision a time in which I do not yell questions like, “AM I THE ONLY PERSON IN THIS FAMILY WHO EVER PUTS A THING AWAY?!?” or “DOES ANYONE ELSE EVEN CARE THAT GUESTS ARE ARRIVING TOMORROW?!?”
Today was not that day.
Yes, my friends, I have gone from vacation-sunshine to domestic-shrew in less than one day, and since I’m fighting off a cold the rest of the family has already battled, I’m even more tired and sassier than usual.
For me, the actual meal—the cooking, serving, etc.—is never very stressful. The cleaning and prepping, however—the “finding a home for that random thing on the counter that’s been sitting there for 9 weeks because it has no home”—that’s the stuff of my nightmares. If I am ever to truly master holiday hosting, it will mean that I also master holiday prep without turning into the (most) awful version of myself.
I take comfort in knowing that each year, I get incrementally better. Or maybe my family just becomes incrementally more patient? Either way, we’ll all have this Thanksgiving in the books by tomorrow evening, with enough turkey in our bellies to make us sleepy, and hopefully forgetful of my not-so-benevolent dictatorship today.