I grew up in a loud, Italian-German (weird combo, I know) household. My mother the stereotypical Italian “yeller” and my father the stoic German. With my mother’s ethnicity, something innately made her want to cook for an army of no less than 50 people, at every holiday, even when there was just 10 of us, tops. This craziness in preparing for “all” these people would begin sometimes a month before the event would even occur. As the weeks and days drew nearer to the event, the flurry of activity would intensify, ensuing what one could and should call, chaos.
“Joel, get the lawn together! There shouldn’t be any leaves in that back porch. Oh, and stain the deck! I’m not sure why it isn’t already stained… no, no, go to Curtis Lumber and ask for the forest brown stain, this is mahogany… How many times have I told you?”
And the crazy continued…
“Rachel, Christina! How many times have I said, clean your rooms! I want them dusted and vacuumed, thoroughly! Make sure your new bedspreads are looking neat.” She would bark.
Throughout the day of the party, there would be noise, banging, last minute house-checks, you name it. But the minute the first guests walked through that door, as if they had just been welcomed to Narnia, she’d exclaim, “John, Kathy… How are you?” And the sweetest voice, like a angel would take over, and suddenly all the prepping was over. We were exhausted.
Now I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the holidays or have fond memories. Not at all. However, I did learn from my mother that in order to impress guests (that you may or may not like) you need to achieve perfection in your home. Which is impossible and an exhausting process. This is why I have a new tradition for the holidays going forward. It’s really revolutionary… Wait for it…
Let someone else, cook and clean for the holidays.
Ta-da! I know it’s really rocket-science-genius of me. Now for those of you who genuinely enjoy entertaining and cooking, that’s fine. As long as you don’t take it to an extreme place and make your home a war-zone. But for many of us, we are so locked into our routines, that letting someone else cook, to go to a nice restaurant would be a huge sigh of relief.
So I decided, I’m not cooking for Thanksgiving. I cook 365 days a year, I think one meal to enjoy my family, friends, and what’s truly important, matters more.
Women (and men), feel free to let someone else take care of you for a change. Let the hustle end, take a deep breath and smell the gravy… the one you didn’t have to make.