I am hosting Thanksgiving this year and couldn’t be happier about it. Mainly because I get to see my family, but also because we don’t have to endure the busiest travel day of the year via planes, trains and automobiles. I will be sure to remember that when my brothers show up with their families looking tired and defeated. But the prospect of my sister-in-law's delicious cooking and a few rounds of ping-pong (family tradition) will surly cure what ails them.
But I think the best part about this Thanksgiving will be my “let the kids take over” mentality. I feel like my kids are finally old enough, along with their cousins, to really get involved.
I started right after Halloween with a great Magic Tree House Fact Tracker book simply called Pilgrims. Mary Pope Osborne has the kids entranced with her series, and the Fact Trackers are great companions to her stories with Jack and Annie. After their refresher course in the history of Thanksgiving they started on their menus for the feast. In an effort to jump start the plan, my mom asked both kids what they thought we should serve for dinner. We got a lot of entrees ranging from quesadillas to chicken to tortellini and a few vegetables like roasted carrots, string beans and broccoli. My daughter loves butternut squash, but my son took as pass. I was surprised I had to remind them about dessert, and even more surprised when ice cream sundaes with cherries on top was the go-to finale. No pumpkin pie, I asked. Of course that was quickly added along with any leftover Halloween candy we might have. Hmm, I think I sent that all to my husband’s office. Smart move, mom.
Both kids grabbed some paper and started writing out their Thanksgiving menu. Chefs from around the world are shaking in their kitchen clogs at the thought of the mouth-watering culinary delights my kids are dreaming up.
Menu completed, time to start thinking about décor. I found these great placemats from Pottery Barn Kids that the kids can color in for each guest. Last year they put each person’s name on it too, and they were a huge hit. We went to a local farm that still had pumpkins and gourds and decorated the front step and both tables. A few days before Thanksgiving, the kids want to pick out flowers for the centerpiece.
Next we thought about the sleeping arrangements. The kids suggested making welcome signs for the guest rooms. While the idea was still fresh in their ever-changing minds I ran and got the long roll of paper from the art easel. One long sheet for each and away they go! My brothers and their families will love the warm welcome.
Menu done, décor planned and rooms ready we only had one thing left to do, clean! Suddenly the room cleared and I was alone with my thoughts. I decided I needed to break this down a bit. I told the kids we could tackle one room at a time and that I would help with the hard stuff. I guess to them that meant the bathrooms. My son did the sweeping and my daughter did the picking up, and together we were quit a team.
Finally, we sat together and wrote out a schedule so we didn’t wait until the last minute to get all of our Thanksgiving prep done. A few things on one day and a few on the next. Thanksgiving was coming together and the kids would have a major hand in it all.
From the pre-planning to the buying to the cooking and yes, the cleaning we would tackle this holiday as a family. After all, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? Family and friends coming together and being happy and thankful.