Saturday, October 25, 2014

Family Dynamics and Holiday Visits

Image Courtesy of  worradmu

Are you going to someone else's house for Thanksgiving?  Are you planning on traveling and possibly taking food you can eat with you, as well as some family favorites?  Do you have new family dynamics to deal with, such as going to your grown up child's home?  Or, maybe you are planning on visiting your parents, but mom or dad are ill.  Maybe, one parent has taken over areas that used to be dominated by the parent, who has an illness.  I am sure there are dozens of different family dynamics that we could talk about;  however, I am going to touch on a few, and we can discuss the rest over on my Facebook Page, Chronic Fatigue and Creative Decluttering.

First of all, you need to consider how far you are traveling and how.  If you are traveling in an automobile, you can consider taking food if it is not too far and you will have room in the car.  However, if you are flying that is out of the question.  Also, what you take may depend on when you plan to arrive.  If you are going for Thanksgiving weekend, are you going to arrive on the big day or prior to Thanksgiving?  This could  make a difference in whether you plan taking food or not taking food with you.

In my own case, it depends on whose house I am going to in whether I take a prepared casserole, salad, or dessert.  In the past, there was one kitchen I always felt at home in.  I knew I could go to the store, buy what I needed, and prepare some food there.  I could even prepare a whole meal if my host and hostess had no particular plans.  Let's call that Kitchen 1.

In Kitchen 2,  I knew that my nerves and the nerves of the hostess would suffer, so I contributed by helping with clean up and bringing dishes that I had made ahead.  Heating food up was no problem.  Or, my husband and I would contribute by taking the hostess out, or bringing food in from Cracker Barrel.

Image Courtesy of Ambro
In Kitchen 3, we decide who is going to make what;  and, I usually try to make things ahead.  or, I pick something up when we get there.  Also, I try to help with clean-up, such as washing the things that have to be washed by hand or loading the dishwasher.

Rules and Foibles of the Host and Hostess

  1. Does your host rinse off every dish before it goes in the dishwasher?  Do it, and don't complain.  It is not worth the sorrow it causes to complain about a rule like that.  You will be frustrated and so will your host.
  2. Why spend every family get together arguing about things that make little difference.  Enjoy the variety of personalities in your family.  Choose your discussions wisely.  If there must be a discussion about something that is touchy, choose the time you talk with tact and wisdom.  Also, avoid those kind of discussions during a meal.  That is a sure prescription for indigestion.
  3. Does you hostess like to hang pretty little hand towels.  It's her house.  Be glad she tries to make it pretty for you.
  4. Do your consider you hosts penchant for decorating a bit on the side of being a slob?  Be happy you don't have to live there, and think about a motel next time.  You could invite him or her out for a meal.  Or, maybe you could help your host by cleaning a bathroom, dusting, and vacuuming.  Make this a family affair if you have a chronic illness.  Do Not Insult Your Host or Hostess.  He will be mad, and you will feel bad.
  5. Realize that we all do things differently.  Make allowances.  Be kind and stay away from snide remarks.  

Preparing Ahead of Time

Image Courtesy of Ambro
If this visit means different people will be bringing food and it is not an enormous gathering, find out ahead of time what your hostess is planning on fixing, then coordinate with other people that are coming like your sister or sister-in-law.  Maybe, your host will be the one that coordinates.  However, it is always good to plan ahead.  If you have special dietary needs, then don't expect everyone else to cater to that, unless you are blessed to have someone that already does that for you.  Plan ahead and bring something you can eat.

I am not sure I am answering all the questions that might be going through our minds at this time.  For instance, I am wondering if we should plan to stay in a hotel for one of our visits.  It would certainly help me to get the rest I need, and I would be more comfortable.  Of course, there are so many different things to consider, like how wonderful it is to share breakfast with family members or hear the voices of your grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.  You have to work this out in your own mind, according to your family's needs.

May you have many blessings and much peace as you plan your family holiday.


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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah