When our twins are old enough my husband and I plan to take them to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s been a dream of mine long before they existed to spend the week of Thanksgiving in New York to see the floats up close. This year, even making the three and a half hour drive from Texas to my in-law’s house in Oklahoma is not happening. Our twins will be four months old the week of Thanksgiving. Just thinking about all the gear it takes to keep the synchronized meltdowns to a minimum makes my head spin. Keeping both babies content while squeezed into the tiny space between their car seats requires nothing less than a miracle most days. I can only imagine the disaster waiting to happen on a three and a half (more like four or five) hour trip. Hopefully traveling will get easier as they get older. For now we’re sticking with local trips. That’s why my husband and I decided to volunteer to host Thanksgiving at our house. Hosting ensures everyone can get together and helps us avoid the trip from hell.
Here’s how we plan to pull it off:
Slow Cookers and Take Out
I love to cook, but our twins make cooking for a large group a challenge. Most days we’re lucky if we find time to cook at all. Someday they will be old enough to help out, but this year is full of feedings, diaper changes, and doing our best to control the chaos. I’ll channel my inner Martha Stewart another year. My brother in-law is cooking the turkey, which means we only have to worry about sides and dessert. Thank goodness for slow cookers and restaurants that cater Thanksgiving. I’m also a fan of serving buffet style. It’s so much easier than trying to politely ask someone to pass the mashed potatoes from the other side of the room. Guests can visit when they are done eating instead of waiting for each course or for everyone to be served.
I could hand craft Pinterest worthy turkey shaped napkin rings and design special placemats, but I’m sure something from Target will do the trick just as well. If I tried to craft those turkey napkin rings while watching the twins, within five minutes my fingers would be stuck together with hot glue. The twins would probably decide to synchronize a giant meltdown complete with epic blowouts. An excuse for a trip to Target ALONE sounded like a great plan to me. In the Target dollar section I found a cute burlap table runner. I’ll pair the runner with various sizes of candles I already have to make a simple, elegant centerpiece. Too much decor gets in the way. No one wants to constantly peer around a fake cornucopia just to hold a conversation. Okay, sometimes you actually want the centerpiece there to avoid conversation, but I’ll assume guests want to talk to each other.
Enlisting help and planning ahead
If everything goes as planned, my husband and I will actually get to eat. We will either take turns or eat after everyone else is finished while the twins enjoy quality time with their grandparents, aunts, and uncles. It’s not ideal, but it works for us. Planning ahead for the twins is the number one priority on our checklist. Anticipating their needs in advance will help the day to go as smoothly as possible. We plan to prepare the water for their bottles that morning. We’ll set up changing stations around the house including extra onesies just in case. In our living room we’ll set up their floor seats so they can see what’s going on and we can attend to their needs hands free. I’m also planning to put together a box of their favorite books, rattles, and toys to keep them entertained as we visit with our guests.
Focusing on time together
We may not have the picturesque Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving (who does?) with everyone sitting around the table together at the same time, but we always find a way to enjoy time together as a family. Last year, instead of checking social media or football scores, we used our phones to play trivia games. Everyone had a blast laughing out loud at the questions and answers. Answering the more tongue in cheek questions was a little awkward at times, but overall it was worth the memories we made. The younger guests either helped their parents play or played their own age appropriate games. This year our twins can enjoy tummy time with their Nana while we play. Making sure even the youngest guests feel included is important.
Hosting on Black Friday
It’s difficult to get my husband’s three siblings and their significant others together on Thanksgiving Day. It’s also a logistical nightmare to have Thanksgiving with both sides of our family on the same day, unless we have Thanksgiving breakfast with one of them. A few years ago everyone on my husband’s side agreed to begin having Thanksgiving on Black Friday. None of us mind getting together a day late if it means everyone can be there. What about Black Friday shopping? Most of us prefer to check online deals or wait until Cyber Monday. We are all for avoiding the insane crowds. Having Thanksgiving the day after also means stores and businesses are open. We can go somewhere as a family or grab last minute ingredients if needed.
Here’s to a fun day of feasting, fellowship, and controlled chaos. Wish us luck!
Melissa Titus taught Kindergarten and 2nd grade in the public school system for ten years. She is taking a break from the education field to begin her new adventure as a SAHM to her boy/girl twins born n July 2016. When she’s not spending time with her husband or taking care of her twins, she loves to write, bake using her great grandmother’s recipes, support others still in the midst of infertility, and explore the great outdoors while attempting to photograph it. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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