Ah, the holidays! A time filled with good food, family bonding and, for some, mishaps. Five women share their holiday faux pas and how they recovered from them so you can avoid a similar fate.
1. I cooked an entire holiday meal with zero experience… and sacrificed my fingers in the process
The mishap: “I remember living in England, and it was our first holiday,” shared Two Girls and a Guy radio personality Tanya Brown. “I was 22 at the time, and my husband invited a few people over for dinner, expecting me to cook the dinner. I tell you, I tried really hard to make things perfect with no cooking skills at all at the time. I was chopping and dicing. I had cuts on every finger.”
The recovery: “I managed to make a decent meal, but I noticed everyone seemed leery about eating my food after seeing Band-Aids on every finger. Every finger! After that, I made it my mission to learn how to cook and — more importantly — learn how to chop and dice.”
The moral: Just as Brown learned to prep for her meals, it’s a good idea to prep for the holidays by learning a few vital kitchen skills. We all know how spouses (especially men) love to spring surprise dinner guests on the hostess. Mastering the basics now could save you some serious stress come Thanksgiving.
2. I didn’t time the main meal right and had to improvise for hours
The mishap: “I started cooking Christmas dinner each year after Chris and I married. The first year, we had my family and some of his family over,” said Christine Rice. “I was not prepared for how long it would take to cook the ham, and everyone ended up waiting over an hour after the time I had said dinner would be ready.”
The recovery: “Luckily, I had enough other foods out and started serving some other things as starters. I always make a bunch of different types of bread from scratch. So, I served some different breads and butter to hold everyone over. Now, I cook the ham early. I’d rather it be room temperature than have 20-plus people waiting on it!”
The moral: Don’t be afraid to delegate. “I also learned to ask for help,” said Rice. “I tried to do it all myself and realized, with kids, it was just too much. Now, I ask my mom to help with the desserts and a side as well as anyone else who plans to come.”
3. Our holiday plans got ditched last-minute
The mishap: “One year when my husband Jon and son Kyle were away at a soccer tourney, my other son Chris and I had to stay home,” said Glenna Sprankles. “We were invited over to our friends Donald and Janet’s house for Thanksgiving with the rest of the Sprankles family. When we got there, though, we found out that they had moved and we were never told.”
The recovery: “We tried to call someone but we didn’t have cell phones in those days, so Chris and I just stopped by the store and picked up a little something for ourselves and went home. There wasn’t much to choose from, but we enjoyed it.”
The moral: Just roll with it — you know what they say about the best-laid plans. The holidays are fun, yes, but they’re also rife with pressure. Which, as we all know, makes them rife for mishaps. Your best bet is to take Sprankles’ lead and just go with the flow.
4. I broke a chair in front of the whole family
The mishap: “A holiday that will always be very memorable to me was the Thanksgiving that I was pregnant with my first child,” said Kerri Metzendorf. “I was around eight months along and my belly had popped out like a basketball that month, so I was feeling huge. I had just finished eating a large plate of my Grandma Hazel’s delicious Southern-fried cooking and was headed back to sit at the table with a big slice of pie. I sat in an empty chair and heard a little creak. I paused for a minute and then, as I was about to sit my plate down thinking all was fine, the chair crumbled beneath my enlarged pregnant body. I’m lying on the ground atop a chair I had essentially crushed, while my sister and family watched, laughing hysterically. When they remembered my ‘condition,’ they of course ran over to check on me and help me up.”
The recovery: “Through all of it, though, I still had my plate of pie upright in my hand!” Metzendorf said, laughing. “I wasn’t about to let that get demolished as well, and I found a nice sturdy chair to eat it in. My uncle did inform me afterwards that he had originally put that chair in the other room because it was messed up, but that didn’t make me feel any less enormous.”
The moral: When in doubt, laugh it out. Finding the humor in a mishap can turn the moment from a mortifying one to one you actually want to remember. “That was our last Thanksgiving at my grandma’s before she passed away and the last before we all became parents, and I will never forget it,” explained Metzendorf, “I don’t think any of us will!”
5. I forgot to turn the oven on
The mishap: “One Thanksgiving, I had 75 people at my house,” said Angel Meyer. “I turned the timer on the oven to cook the turkey… but never turned the oven on.”
The recovery: “Luckily, I had two turkeys. One was in my neighbor’s oven, so I just cranked that bad boy up and made dinner an hour later. Thankfully, I bake my turkeys in a bag, so they cook twice as fast.”
The moral: Always prepare for the worst-case scenario. When it comes to the main event — in this case, turkey — it never hurts to have a backup on hand. Just think of it as your part of your holiday contingency plan: Locate the fire extinguisher, map out an escape route and buy an extra turkey.
This post was sponsored by Sanuk.