It’s Thanksgiving week! My in-laws are set to arrive from Ireland today and stay a whole week. No, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe – remember the Pilgrims shared the feast with Native Americans. Since Thanksgiving means time off from school and work, my in-laws come here to celebrate with us (while hoping to see just a little snow – they don’t get much in Ireland (just a lot of rain)).
Since this is only their second Thanksgiving in their lifetime, they don’t really know what a traditional one is supposed to be like. They think that mine is standard. …diabolical laugh... I realize that if you’re hosting company this year, your crowd may not be so easy to fool.Here’s how I fake the best Thanksgiving ever.
Stock the House.
For my crowd, it’s Starbucks K-cup coffee all morning, afternoon and evening, followed by wine in the evenings. I’ve already been to the liquor store (without my kids this time to spare myself the judgment of buying two cases of wine for the week, see my post 6 Things My Kids Know About Alcohol). Yes, we’ll go through that. If you see me around school this week looking a little bit more tired than normal, you know why. The fully-caffeinated coffee (not tea) during the day is to off-set the wine at night. It’s not unusual for my mother-in-law drink a full cup of coffee at 8PM only to be chased down with a glass of wine directly thereafter.
In addition to the beverages, they’ll eat: porridge (generic microwavable quick oats) for breakfast and a ten-pound bag of potatoes. It’s my standing joke that I make mashed potatoes for a living being the housewife of an Irish man. So with two extra Irish in my home this week, I’ve had my peeler sharpened. Yes, this stereotype exists for a reason – mashed potatoes with every dinner, here we come.
For actual Thanksgiving meal, I order it in.
In case you haven’t realized already, I’m not the type of woman that sticks a bird in the oven at 5AM. I’m envious if you are capable of preparing a turkey – really I am. I did it one year just to say I’d that experience, but in my opinion, there’s no reason to do it again. I buy the meal (turkey and all) premade and simply reheat with love. There are many options for this (I’ve tried a lot of them). It makes a lot of sense if you’re only hosting a small crowd. I’m using Fresh Market for the second year in a row.
My in-laws must think that all Americans buy their Thanksgiving meals from a supermarket or restaurant. No wonder Europeans (my in-laws) have such a low opinion of us (me). It’s only me that’s this lazy and ungifted in the kitchen. I have other qualities (ask your son, he knows what these are).
In Ireland, turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes is the Christmas Day meal. My in-laws are always thankful that they get to eat Christmas dinner a whole month earlier than their friends across the pond.
Decorate for Christmas.
It’s tradition of many to decorate for Christmas during this week. For me, I make use of the additional sets of hands that I have around my house. This will be the second year in a row that I have my in-laws drag my boxes out of storage, untangle the strings of lights, assemble the tree, and hang the holy, wreaths, stockings, lights, and ornaments, while I supervise. Now that’s tradition.
I’m kidding. We’ll all help, even the kids, probably while the adults are drinking a bottle or two of wine.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Everyone takes advantage of the Black Friday sales, which on a separate note, are oddly no longer confined to one day. Europeans love to shop in the States. Clothes, jewelry, makeup, toys, and shoes are usually cheaper. The euro, although weaker than it has been in recent years, is still stronger than the dollar. My in-laws are fascinated by all the vast selections and varieties (their words) that we have here. I’ll be spending at least three of the seven days that they’re here driving them to and from the mall, like a pair of teenagers that aren’t yet old enough to drive. The other four days, they’ll want to go to mass. Pray for me.
To avoid having to visit the Disney Store with my two kids during these highly anticipated shopping excursions, I’ve found drop-off activities for the days the little beasties aren’t in school. Snapology Lego center is our favorite.
My Irish Family – if you read this, I love you. Thank you for coming to visit. I have the first two bottles of red warming in front of our fire that I’ve lit for your arrival (they love it warm, almost mulled).
I have the best family in the whole world. I have a lot to be thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.